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Top 10 Tips for Training Your New Puppy

Updated Dec 26, 2022

Updated Dec 26, 2022

Home > Pet Insurance > Top 10 Tips for Training Your New Puppy

Puppies know how to warm our hearts with just one look. However, they can quickly become a nightmare if they don’t receive training — tearing up blankets and shoes, jumping on guests, and barking incessantly. It’s essential to start puppy training immediately to avoid learning bad behaviors. Start with these top 10 tips for training a new puppy to help your furry friend become a happy, well-socialized family member.

woman hugging her puppy
Image Source: Canva

1. Reward-based Training

Have you ever been around a dog that constantly jumps on guests? Its pet parent may push, shove, or even knee the dog to get it off guests. However, nothing seems to work. 

This situation is an example of why reward-based training is so critical. Reward-based training helps develop and encourage good behaviors in dogs with positive reinforcement. For instance, if your puppy jumps on you, don’t push or pull it off. Instead, ignore it and give it no attention, including eye contact, until it has all four paws on the ground. Once the pup is standing or sitting, immediately reward it with attention, a “good boy!” or a treat. Over time, the puppy will learn that it only gets what it wants, attention, when it has all four paws on the ground. 

Not only is this type of training enjoyable for the dog, but it also feels better as a pet parent. After all, no one wants to yell, pull, or push their pup around. Instead, ignore unwanted behaviors and immediately reward your puppy for good behavior. Remember, even negative attention is still attention, which is what a puppy is often after. 

2. Prevent Destructive Chewing

Like human babies, puppies love to chew on things to soothe themselves when they’re teething. Unfortunately, this can result in our favorite furniture, clothing, shoes, and other items around the house being destroyed. 

Instead of preventing a puppy from chewing altogether, which will be near impossible, teach it which items are OK to chew on. For example, if your puppy is chewing on a couch pillow, gently take it away and give it an appropriate chew toy. Confining it to a small space under your watchful eye will also help as you chew-train your puppy because it will have less opportunity to chew inappropriately or consume something dangerous. 

3. Socialize Your Puppy as Soon as Possible

Many typical behavior concerns in dogs, such as excessive barking, fear, or aggression, result from lacking or improper early socialization. As a result, socialization is critical for helping your puppy become a well-adjusted adult dog that is not afraid of or aggressive toward other animals or humans. 

As soon as your vet says it’s safe, typically after a minimum number of vaccinations, begin taking your puppy outside, helping it to meet other people and animals, and exposing it to new sights and sounds. Help your puppy become comfortable with the many ways humans may interact with it, such as being held, walked, played with, nuzzled, or having its belly rubbed. 

4. Consistent Training

According to the Veterinary Centers of America, dedicated training and on-the-go training should happen every day. If your puppy is awake, it’s paying attention to how you respond to different behaviors, so take every opportunity to show it which behaviors you will and won’t reward. 

You’ll want to set aside time for individual training sessions for learned actions, like sit or go to your crate. Keep these sessions short and, ideally, when your puppy is not too worked up or hyper. Incorporate fun skills, like retrieving a ball or come here, when your puppy is in a high-energy state. Always end your training sessions positively with something your dog already knows and reward it with a treat. 

It’s also crucial that other household members treat your puppy the same way. For example, if you train your puppy to stand at the door when it needs to go out, help your family recognize and respond to the same cues. Otherwise, inconsistent reinforcement can confuse your puppy and slow down its training. 

5. Potty Training

potty training a puppy outside
Image Source: Canva

Potty training is one of the most important types of training for both your sanity and your puppy’s well-being. Remember that puppies can only “hold it” for around as many hours as they are months old, so your 3-month-old puppy will need to go outside for a potty break every three hours. If you didn’t let it out in time, that’s on you. 

Start by introducing your puppy to its designated potty spot and its cue, such as saying, “Go potty.” Then, reward it whenever it does its business in this spot. 

Anytime your puppy messes up, as you can expect it will, calmly interrupt it and take it to its designated spot. If you don’t catch it during the act, then calmly clean up the mess. Scolding your puppy after the fact will only confuse it as it won’t associate the scolding with the crime. It might even hurt your bonding. 

6. Teach Your Puppy Not To Bite

A puppy uses its mouth to explore its environment. It’s completely natural for it to explore by putting things in its mouth or chomping down on your hand. However, this is naturally frustrating for anyone playing with the puppy. 

Help your puppy learn it’s not OK to bite by stopping playtime anytime it bites you hard. Remember, it’s OK for it to use its mouth during play by giving you slobbery kisses or even playfully nibbling on your finger, but if it bites you, immediately stop playing. You can even let out a little yelp sound to remind it that being bitten hurts. 

7. Minimize Distractions

Puppies have short attention spans and can become overly stimulated by their surroundings. As such, it’s crucial that you simplify training sessions. Always hold training sessions in a quiet part of your home, away from other people, pets, and distractions. 

Be patient with your dog. Puppies are keen on pleasing their humans but may need time and patience to pick up on things. 

8. Take Your Puppy to Dog Training Classes

Many dog training facilities offer puppy kindergarten classes or obedience training where puppies are provided with a little bit of everything from socialization to basic obedience commands, preventing problematic behaviors, and housebreaking. 

A great dog trainer can work with you to teach your puppy to respond to critical basic commands, like lie down or sit. They’re also an excellent source for any questions about leash training, different training methods, behavioral issues, and using clickers. 

9. Crate Train Your Puppy

Dogs are naturally den animals, so a kennel or crate can be a very comfortable place for them, especially if they’re exposed to it in a positive light early on. Crates are helpful in keeping your puppy out of harm’s way when you’re gone or from soiling the carpet. 

To help your puppy get used to crates, create positive associations with a crate by providing it with a dog treat when it enters the crate. Keep comfortable blankets and a favorite toy in there to make the space cozier. 

The other massive benefit of the crate is that many dogs will not relieve themselves in the same place they have to sleep. If the crate is too large for your puppy currently and there is space for it to go and lay down, block part of the crate off and expand the space as it grows and becomes house-trained. 

Likewise, you should confine your puppy to parts of the house so it can never access the entire house. Confinement is both for its protection (so it doesn’t get into anything dangerous) and to protect your furniture or personal belongings from being gnawed when you aren’t supervising. A baby gate or keeping your puppy in an area with a door is a great way to block it from parts of the house. 

10. Leash Walking on a Lead

Every puppy looks forward to the first day it goes on a walk with you. However, this won’t be fun for either of you if you haven’t trained your puppy to walk on a leash. 

Start by grabbing a leash in one hand and treats in the other hand. Begin walking. Anytime your puppy pulls out in front of you, change the direction and reward your puppy when it changes directions with you. Never yank your puppy’s leash, as this can cause the collar to choke it, possibly causing serious injuries. 

Some puppies may bite at their leashes at first, but be patient and reward it for simple steps, like allowing you to place the leash on with a treat.

man walking his puppy on a leash
Image Source: Canva

Closing Thoughts

You and your furry best friend have a lifetime of adventures waiting ahead for you. Establishing good training and ground rules now, such as no puppy biting or going potty in the living room, will ensure that your years together are fun and happy. Remember, positive reinforcement training is key to showing your puppy the behaviors you want and teaching it fun new tricks. Always ignore negative behaviors entirely and only scold your puppy if you catch it in the middle of bad behavior, like going potty indoors, so it knows exactly what behavior is unacceptable. 

We hope these dog training tips give you plenty of ideas for creating a happy routine for you and your new friend. 

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