First things to teach a puppy
When I first brought my puppy home, I’ll admit… I was clueless. I didn’t know what first things to teach a puppy. When I say puppy I’m referring to an 8 to 10 week-old dog. I researched for weeks on what to do when you first bring home a puppy. How to train, how to potty train, I wanted to be prepared and proactive! Nothing I found out there really, truly, prepared me for what my puppy had in store for me.
Hopefully you are reading this before, or just slightly after you bring home a new puppy. I will do my best to prepare you for what’s ahead and what I suggest as the first things to teach a puppy. This information will pay off ten fold in the long run. Put in the time now, up front, you will thank me later. Your puppy will thank you as well.
If you’ve never raised a puppy before or if it’s been awhile and you’ve forgotten you are in for a treat. When I say treat, I mean a full time job. Raising a puppy is constant work, supervision, and training. That puppy will not know how to live in your human world and it will drive you absolutely nuts if you let it. It will not know the difference between peeing outside or on your carpet. They won’t know it is not okay to chew on your favorite shoes opposed to the puppy toys you bought them. Everything is new to them. They are trying to figure it out and you can speed up the process by following my simple advice.
CRATE YOUR DOG
- I know your puppy is cute, in fact it’s the cutest puppy ever and you want to spend all the time you can with them! Please resist the urge and spend time crate training them. It will be one of the best things you can do both for you and your dog. Your puppy needs its own safe place, a place where it won’t be bothered, a place it can relax.
- Your puppy should be spending about 18-20 hours each day in their crate. Every nap your puppy takes (which will be lots) need to be spent in the crate. They need to learn how to be calm in the crate and that includes when you are home as well as when you leave.
- Anytime you cannot directly supervise your puppy, it needs to be in their crate. Simply put, your puppy will get into trouble if they are unsupervised, I promise you.
- Teach your puppy to go into the crate on command, as well as exit the crate on command. The only time your puppy should be let out of the crate is when they are in a calm state. If you let your puppy out when they are whining or barking, you are teaching them that is their ticket out.
- It is much easier to potty train a dog when utilizing a crate.
- To make it simple your puppy should only be out of its crate for the following: training, playing, and going outside for potty and walks.
- If you follow the above advice on crating your puppy, that will make potty training easier. Any and every time you take that puppy out of the crate, immediately take them outside to potty. As soon as they potty outside, reward them (using their daily kibble)! Let them know they did a good job. Make using the bathroom outside fun. Always bring them to the same exact spot outside and reward consistently.
- If your puppy doesn’t go potty outside directly after being let out of the crate, they go right back in the crate. No free roaming the house.
- Dogs do not like going to the bathroom where they sleep. If you are consistently crating your dog, they will quickly realize this is their area and are less likely to potty in their crate.
- If you notice your puppy is going potty in their crate, it is either too big or you are not taking them outside often enough. Your puppy should have just enough room to stand up and turn around comfortably.
- Monitor their food and water intake and take them out accordingly. Make a chart if you need to consisting of what times they are eating and drinking water and what times they are going potty.
- Be proactive, not reactive when potty training your puppy. I would rather take my dog out to use the bathroom too often than not often enough.
- It is never too early to start training your new puppy. You are actually training them the minute they enter your home whether you realize it or not.
- Puppies will do anything for food. You can teach all of basic obedience to your puppy using food. Sit, Down, Place, Recall can all easily be taught using food while training.
- You should be using their daily kibble to train them. No treats are needed. Get your dog into the habit of working for their kibble and that no meals are free. They will be happy to work for their kibble; it will be plenty of a reward.
CREATE GOOD HABITS AND ROUTINES
- Dogs are creatures of habit and strive from routine. They look forward to routine. The more consistent you can be with your dog, training on a daily basis, giving your dog structure, boundaries, and rules to abide by the happier they will be.
- Your dog does not need access to your entire house. Until you teach them what is right from wrong, they are likely to get into trouble in the form of using the bathroom indoors, chewing on your shoes, furniture, etc.
- Show your dog how to live in this human world, show them how you would like them to behave in your house as opposed to being reactive and getting upset and frustrated when they do something you do not agree with.
If you follow these simple steps and guidelines I can assure you raising your puppy will be a lot less stressful than if you didn’t do these things. Again, these are the first things to teach a puppy that I would do. Create good habits from the start. Let your puppy know you control the resources and that all good things come from you. The quicker they learn that, the quicker the bond between you two will develop into a life long balanced relationship.