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Quick Tips


So here are some bite-sized puppy tips to get you through the next few months. 


  1.  Get a crate. It makes housetraining incredibly easy. We recommend leaving the gate of the crate open so he/she can wander in during the day to just relax.  

  2.  Let your puppy sleep in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. This whole experience is scary for a pup. Don’t make him sleep in the laundry room. Put the crate next to your bed so you can reassure him.  Some puppies enjoy having a “soft friend” to sleep with, it reminds them of their littermates and makes the transition a little easier. 

  3. Baby gates are your friends. Use them to keep the puppy out of places you don’t want him to destroy. 

  4.  Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch him like a hawk, he needs to be in his crate or in his “room,” see below. 

  5. Set up a puppy room for when you can’t supervise. Pick a small area like the bathroom or kitchen; block it off with baby gates. Add a bed in one corner and some toys for teething. Try to take the puppy outside often enough so that they do not potty in this area. 

  6. Pick a potty spot. If you don’t want your little one pooping all over the yard as an adult, pick one area and take him directly there when it’s potty time. Start using key words like, “go potty” or “potty time”.  

  7. Set a daily routine. Housetraining proceeds more smoothly if your puppy knows what to expect from her day.   

  8. Enroll in a puppy class. Your pup will learn some basic obedience, but the real benefit of puppy classes is socialization with other puppies and people. Make sure your puppy shots are done first. 

  9. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Not all advice is good advice. Take everything with a grain of salt. And please, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, stay away from Yahoo! Answers and Dr. Google! 

  10.  Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with your whole family. Figure out who will do what when. Pick one set of training cues and stick with them. 

  11. Play some puppy training games. Puppy culture has some great options. 

  12. Don’t encourage behavior that you’ll regret when he gets big. Jumping up is cute when he weighs ten pounds. It won’t be cute when he’s 60 pounds. Same with tug of war and play biting. 

  13. Get your pup used to handling from day one, touching feet, nails, tail, ears, mouth, teeth, and belly with love. It won’t be so traumatic for your pup if you start early and your vet will thank you! 

  14. Start grooming early on. For the same reason as above. 

  15. Let your puppy meet at least two new (friendly and gentle) people every day.  After finishing his/her shots of course.

  16. Take your puppy to the pet store. It is a great socialization opportunity. Keep her in the shopping cart and off the floor until she’s had all her puppy shots. 

  17. Introduce your pup to all kinds of novel things. People in funny hats, remote control cars, and kids playing. Agility equipment. Balloons. Cats. Car rides. 

  18. Socialize, don’t traumatize. Introduce new experiences slowly and never let your puppy get overwhelmed. 

  19. Get chew proof toys. Frozen wet washcloths and baby carrots make great chews for teething puppies–via @muttstuff

  20.   Reward good behavior, don’t wait for bad behavior. Reward the puppy when you see him doing something you like. Don’t wait until he’s misbehaving to give him attention. 

  21. Avoid the dog park. In addition to putting your under vaccinated puppy at risk for disease, most dogs at the dog park are quite rude by canine standards. A couple bad experiences could ruin your puppy’s opinion of his/her own species. 

  22. Pick up anything you don’t want destroyed. If it’s on the floor, it WILL be chewed. 

  23. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example, teach your puppy to sit when greeting people. Don’t just yell at her for jumping up. 

  24. Watch your puppy’s poops. Disgusting? Yes. But it could save your puppy’s life. If you notice anything like diarrhea or blood, take your puppy for a vet visit ASAP.

  25.  Provide toys. If you provide her with her own toys, she’s less likely to chew on yours (ha! Yeah right. It’s worth a shot, though). 

  26.  Make your own toys. Like kids who’d rather play with the box than with the toy that came in it, puppies are usually happier chewing on an empty plastic water bottle than an expensive store-bought toy, but never give the bottle caps to a dog to play with. 

  27.  Rotate through the toys. Let your puppy have two or three toys at a time. Changing up the toy selection will keep Sparky interested. 

  28.  Treat-dispensing toys make great puppy sitters.  Your veterinarian or local pet store will be happy to point you in the right direction!  These also work well for separation anxiety! 

  29.  Potty often. If you think your puppy needs to go potty at all, don’t hesitate to take him outside!  You’d be surprised how often puppies need to go sometimes. 

  30.  Practice separation. As tempting as it is, don’t let Sparky be glued to your side all day. Letting your puppy have time to himself in his crate or room will help prevent separation anxiety. 

  31.  Hellos and Goodbyes should be no big deal. Don’t make a fuss over your pup when you leave or come home. Again, prevents separation anxiety. 

  32.  Don’t get offended when your puppy chews on you. Puppies bite. Sometimes painfully. It is NOT aggression. Do not react by yelling, smacking him, rolling him on his back or holding his muzzle shut. Ignore him and don’t give him attention for bad behaviors. 

  33.  Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners. Your puppy will think it smells like urine and it will actually encourage her to pee there again. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle or KennelSol.  A natural/non-toxic alternative is using vinegar and water. 

  34.  Visit the vet. Take your pup for a visit when she doesn’t have an appointment. Bring some treats and ask the office staff to give her some. Make the vet’s office a fun place! (Call ahead first to make sure this is OK)  Most vets will let you come in to weigh your pooch and get a treat, just to associate the Doctor’s office as a good thing! 

  35.  As a general rule of thumb, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is his age in months plus one. So a two-month-old puppy should be crated for a maximum of three hours at a time (during the day. When they sleep at night, puppies can usually hold it for longer). 

  36.  Leave the TV or radio on when you leave your puppy home alone. 

  37.  Teach good leash manners early. Better to teach your puppy to walk nice on leash than to teach your adult dog to stop pulling on leash. 

  38.  Remember that your puppy is a baby – don’t ask too much of her. Don’t worry about whether she’ll perform a perfect sit/stay or heel. Plenty of time for that when she’s older. Focus on socialization and having fun during training. 

  39. Take lots of pictures. Puppyhood goes by SO fast!   

  40.  Monitor exercise for the first year of your puppy’s life.  Extreme running and/or long periods of excessive exercise can be detrimental for their young growing bones.  All puppies have lots of energy and it seems like they need to express that, but you will thank us if you don’t have conditions like OCD arise from letting your puppy have TOO much fun.  Puppies do need exercise and play, just remember it needs to be in moderation!   

  41.  Be prepared for your pup to become an obnoxious little brat around age 6-10 months. Adolescence is even more challenging than puppyhood. Have fun with your teenage dog!  Remember that dogs are a part of the family FOREVER and much like a teenager, they have to grow through this stage.  Be a part of the solution, not the problem.  Your dog only knows what you have taught it, so take the time to train your dog early so he/she doesn’t become too much to handle.   

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