Becoming a dog owner is an exciting time, but no one ever said taking care of a puppy was easy. Owning a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and most people aren’t born with the knowledge of how to train a puppy. Not only do pets provide companionship and unconditional love, but dogs also have been shown to improve both the physical and emotional health of dog owners (although puppy owners may take a while to enjoy these benefits!). However, taking care of a new pet is no easy task, especially when it comes to training your puppy. From potty training to teaching them not to chew on your favorite shoes, it can feel like an uphill battle sometimes to train a puppy. f you’re new to dog ownership or find yourself struggling with puppy training (see also ‘ How to Train Your Dog to Love Baths ‘), don’t worry – we’ve got you covered (all dog owners face this challenge at some point!). In this article, we will be discussing seven tips for training your puppy. With some time and effort (and patience!), you will be able to have the best pup in town! Here are 7 tips for training a new puppy.
1. Introducing your new puppy to the family
When you first bring your new puppy home to a new environment and into their forever home, it’s important to introduce them to the rest of your family including other animals such as your adult dog. Be sure to allow your family plenty of time to get to know your new pet, and don’t be afraid to give your pup lots of love and attention (and display positive reinforcement when they display good behavior). This will help them feel comfortable in their new home and make the training process much easier. One of the most important things you can do when introducing a pet to your family is to be patient. Allow them time to get to know each other and don’t push them too hard. You may also want to consider setting up a designated area for the puppy where they can go to relax and feel safe. This can be a great place for them to go when they need a break from all the new excitement.
2. Basic Puppy Training 101 – Establishing rules and boundaries
It’s very important to begin training your new pet immediately. One of the most important aspects of puppy basic training is establishing rules and boundaries and to correct bad habits. When your puppy knows what is and isn’t allowed, it will be easier for them to understand how to behave as for you to continue to train them new behaviors. Baby gates or dog gates can be used to keep them in specific areas of your home. It’s also best to start training right away with your new puppy, so as to avoid bad habits as early as possible. Be sure to set clear rules and consequences for breaking them, and make sure everyone in the family follows them consistently. Also be sure to praise your pup when they do well for positive reinforcement, such as by saying ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’ with enthusiasm. This will help your puppy learn right from wrong and make basic training much easier. Also, be sure to follow the rules consistently so that your puppy doesn’t get confused. This will help your puppy learn right from wrong and make puppy training much easier. Remember, be patient when introducing a new puppy to your family – don’t push them too hard. With patience and consistency, you can train your pup and establish good habits and good behavior early. Also, don’t be tempted to spank or bop your pup’s nose – physical abuse will cause them to become very skittish and may also lead to aggressive behavior later.
3. Puppy potty training
Potty or house training puppies can be one of the biggest challenges, but it’s important to stay consistent with it and to begin training right away. Start by teaching your puppy where they are supposed to go potty and praise them when they do it in the right spot. If they have an accident, don’t scold them, simply clean it up and continue to remind them where they are supposed to go (this is one of the most important training tips of all!). Be patient and consistent with potty training, and your puppy will eventually get the hang of it. You may be surprised by how often your new puppy may need a potty break as well as most puppies may need to go many times per day (as well as at night). Crate training (especially) at night (see also ‘Are Dogs Nocturnal?’) can also help give you and your family a break so that you’re not having to constantly watch them as they learn. Just make sure to let them have their favorite toy in the crate to help comfort them. House training is challenging, but is one of the most rewarding steps for new puppy parents to achieve!
4. Teaching them basic commands
Basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down can be helpful when training your puppy. Start by training them one command at a time, and make sure you praise them when they get it right. This will help your puppy learn what is expected of them and make the training process much easier. One of the best training tips is to use treats to reward good behavior as your teach new commands to your pup (but even as they learn new commands, be sure to say one command at a time so as to not confuse your dog). Gradually introduce leash training as well so that your puppy learns to walk politely in front of you or beside you on walks. Also, make sure that you have regular training sessions over short periods (you can gradually move to longer periods over time) – your new puppy will be eager to learn and to please, so have patience and maintain consistency by teaching in the same way in order to help your new pup learn (if you’re consistent, your pip will pick up on training cues as well). Many puppies will pick up new commands very quickly, but others may take a bit more training.
5. Socializing your puppy
It’s important for puppies to socialize (see also ‘How long does it take for dogs to become friends?‘) with other people and animals early on in life. This will help them develop into well-rounded dogs and to feel confident and make the training process much easier. Start by taking them to puppy socialization classes (you may even find one where they can interact with their litter mates), and then gradually introduce them to new people and animals. Very young puppies may need to complete all immunizations before interacting with other dogs or being in public spaces where other dogs have been. Check with your vet for advice. Also new environments are going to be very stimulating for puppies, so remember to pack your patience when taking them someplace new. Be sure to praise them when they do well, and never force them into a situation that makes them uncomfortable. Most dogs are excited to meet and play with other dogs, but if a puppy rarely has a chance to socialize early in life then you may encounter issues later.
6. How to handle behavioral problems
If your puppy is exhibiting any negative behaviors, it’s important to address it immediately. Start by trying to figure out what is causing the behavior, and then work on correcting it with positive reinforcement. A firm ‘No!’ will also help your puppy to understand when they are doing something wrong. Crate training can be a great aid during puppy training (as are baby gates / dog gates to limit access to some areas – sometimes life savers for kid and pet parents), as puppies will often get into trouble when their owner is busy doing other things and can’t watch them closely. The key is to reward good behavior. If you’re having trouble, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional trainer for help. Having a good supply of appropriate chew toys from your local pet stores can also help avoid having the puppy chew on shoes or other household items. Teaching good behavior early will help ensure a lifetime of enjoyable dog ownership, and will make sure that you get your puppy to put the right paw forward!
7. The importance of exercise and diet for puppies
Puppies need plenty of exercise and a healthy diet in order to stay healthy and happy. Make sure you are providing your puppy with both of these things, and be sure to limit their access to unhealthy foods. Start with a new food that’s designed for ‘puppy dogs’ as food for older dogs will not contain the right nutritional content for a fast-growing pup. As your puppy grows you will need to adjust the quantity of food that you give them. It’s very important to limit both what AND how much your new puppy eats, as they may very well desire to eat more than is recommended for puppies. It is also very important to limit a new puppy’s access to human food, as it can often be unhealthy for them. Feed them a high-quality puppy food that is specifically made for their age and size, and make sure they get plenty of exercise (puppies love to play, so on a positive note getting them to exercise is not challenging!). A tug toy can also provide great exercise for your dog, but make sure to research the proper way to train your pet to play tug-of-war. You will likely also need to create a space for your puppy to eat away from other pets, as an older dog (see also ‘How to Take Care of Senior Dogs‘) may see an opportunity for a free meal. Also, make sure that you feed your new puppy treats instead of adult dog treats. This will help them stay healthy and make the puppy training process much easier.
Now that you know the seven tips for training a new puppy, hopefully it won’t seem so daunting. Puppies are often cute and cuddly, but they can also be stubborn at times. It’s important to establish rules from the very beginning – this will help them learn right from wrong and make puppy training much easier. The most challenging aspect of raising a pup is potty training, which we have provided some helpful advice on in our post above (pet parents often report this as accomplishing this as the second most satisfying day of puppy ownership after the day they were brought home). If your puppy has any other behavioral issues or needs more guidance during their first year of life, seek out professional dog trainers for help if needed. Resources such as the American Kennel Club can be helpful as well, and have a wealth of training information including basic puppy training tips.