Getting a new puppy and welcoming your new family member is an exciting experience! It can also be very overwhelming! Puppies require consistent care and proper training to ensure they grow into a well-balanced, well-adjusted, and well-behaved dog. What your puppy learns in their first weeks and months lays the foundation for the rest of their lives.
Here are some common puppy training questions and useful puppy training tips!
When should I start training my puppy?
Right now! It is never too early to start training. Crate training, potty training and basic manners should start right away. Obedience training like sit and down is not as important as good basic habits and manners, although it can all be taught at a very young age!
Should puppies be crate trained?
Yes! Crate training is an important part of potty training if you are not able to keep your puppy tethered to you all day. A puppy loose in the house will have accidents! Teaching your puppy that their crate is a safe, comforting, positive place to go also gives them a sense of security and early crate training can help prevent problems with separation anxiety later. Use frozen kongs and other safe chewing toys to help establish the crate as a great place to be.
How do I potty train my puppy?
Potty training is done through a consistent schedule, routine, and supervision. Puppies do very well with schedules! Use crates and play pens to contain your puppy when you cannot watch it and take them out on a consistent schedule. Also, always take your puppy out after eating, waking up from a nap, and playing.
How often does my puppy need to go out?
A good rule of thumb is one hour per month of age. A two month old puppy should go out at least every two hours, a three month old puppy ever three hours, etc.
Should I teach my puppy to use potty pads?
No, unless you want your puppy to learn to potty in the house. Teaching a puppy to use potty pads in the house essentially teach the dog that relieving itself in the house is ok. Dogs are very black and white, it is either ok to potty in the house or it is not. Do not expect your puppy to tell the difference between a potty pad and a rug.
What should I do if my puppy has an accident in the house?
You should roll up a newspaper and hit yourself in the head! You should have been watching! You absolutely must watch your puppy and take it out before accidents happen. If the puppy starts to have an accident, you should catch it at the time it is happening. In this case, give a firm “NO” and immediately take your puppy outside. If you find an accident after the fact, there is nothing you can do. Never ever rub a puppies face in an accident. This has no training value and is just unhygienic.
How do I socialize my puppy?
Socializing a puppy means exposing your puppy to many stimuli in the outside world in a healthy way. This does NOT mean making your puppy endure uncontrolled and unplanned advances of strange people and dogs. This can cause a social, confident pup to become overly stimulated at the sight of people and dogs, and worse, it can cause a cautious, shy pup to become reactive and behave aggressively to ward off unwanted advances.
A well socialized dog is able to move about other people and dogs without needing to engage with them or react to them. A well socialized dog can walk through a crowd of people and walk by dogs without really noticing they are there.
Should I take my puppy to a dog park?
Dog parks should be approached with extreme caution, especially with small young pups. One bad experience can cause behavioral repercussions far into adulthood. Dog parks with many strange dogs can be extremely dangerous. You do not know the dogs there or their owners. Your puppy could be attacked by another dog and seriously injured or worse. The psychological effect of a traumatic experience like that could be difficult to overcome. If you have a neighborhood dog park with owners and dogs you know that are stable and friendly, then by all means, set up play dates where your puppy can enjoy safe and healthy fun with friends!
Is it important to practice handling my puppy?
Absolutely! Think about all the things that require easy handling as your puppy matures: vet visits, grooming, baths, brushing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, and even picking sticker burrs out of paws. A dog that does not learn proper handling at a young age can become a nightmare to care for and even dangerous. Get your puppy used to playing with their feet, holding, brushing and ear and teeth inspections early on.
How do I start obedience training with my puppy?
All obedience begins with engagement. This means, you must get your puppy to want to engage with you in order to teach anything. Start this by using your puppy’s meals! Every time your puppy makes eye contact say “yes!” and feed. Once you have good eye contact and attention, everything else will be much easier to train.
How often should I feed my puppy?
Puppies, depending on age may eat 2 or 3 times a day. Use these times to work on training and building a bond. Puppies always like to eat, so try not to just throw food in a bowl and walk away. Whenever you can interact with your puppy and feed by hand, do it!
How do I teach my puppy its name?
Teaching puppies their names goes hand and hand with engagement. Once your puppy starts looking at you, add their name and reward! Every time your puppy even starts to look up at you, say their name and reward!
How do I stop my puppy from biting?
The first option to try is redirection. If your puppy wants to play and is biting you, teach them an acceptable way to play, meaning, redirect them to a toy. This teaches your puppy that playing is ok, but bite the toy and not you! Play with your puppy with the toy and have fun! Just keep the rules clear; biting is for toys and not skin.
How soon can I leave my puppy loose in the house?
Leaving a puppy home uncrated and unsupervised is not much different than leaving a two year old child at home alone with a box of crayons. Disaster and chaos will happen. The age at which your dog can be left unsupervised at home varies greatly depending on the dog.