Top 10 Puppy Training Tips

So you decided to add a new puppy to your family! How exciting! Puppies are irrisistably adorable, sweet and cuddly. But they are babies after all, with no knowledge of how to behave without instruction and consistancy. The task of training is one of the most important things to think about with a new puppy and you may be asking yourself, "where do I start?". What can I teach on my own? Some of those questions may vary on your lifestyle, availability and or the breed of dog you are training. We have researched the top ten puppy training tips, to help you get started.

1. Socialization (Puppy Manners)

It's so important to begin socializing your puppy at a very young age (as young as 3 to 4 weeks) so that being around children and small groups do not become a source of stress, but a very normal practice. It is also important to be mindful of your pup's reactions when in a social environment so that you can understand how they are doing and re-enforce a positive reaction with treats and praise. Once your puppy has had their first vaccinations you may want to  consider enrollment in a puppy pre-school.


2. CrateTraining

Though somewhat controversial, crate training can be a very useful tool with a young puppy. It can give them their own space that they know they can go to for rest but it can also keep them safe when you aren't able to keep your eyes on them in that moment. Just like toddlers, there are dangers for puppies such as chewing something that can harm them or destructive behavior. That being said there are some specific points you should consider when crating your pup.

  • never use crate as punishment
  • maximum a few hours, never longer than 4-5
  • make sure crate is correct size
  • walk or exercise your puppy before crating 
  • check your dog's reaction to the crate (not all dogs are cratable)
  • consider alternatives (doggy daycare, sitter) if your puppy does not ajust to the crate


3. Chewing Redirection

Puppies naturally use their teeth in play with other puppies and don't understand the sensitivity of human skin until we show them. This behavior is very normal but the puppy needs help understanding what is ok to bite and what is not. Offering a variety of chew toys and tug toys and redirecting them towards the toy instead of skin is best. Make sure to show displeasure if a puppy gets too rough with teeth. When a puppy plays with another dog they learn through reaction how much is too much as the other dog wil yelp and not want to play any longer. Our reaction should be similar, (take away attention, change in tone).

lab puppy chewing on colorful toy


4. Positive Reinforcement 

Showing a puppy they have done well through a high valued treat, praise or attention is a very effective training tool. As you may use treats to reward good behavior keep the training treats very small in size but a treat that your dog absolutly loves and is motivated to get. Avoid larger ones that take them too much time to eat. Use an enthusiastic tone when praising good behavior, letting them know that they have done well.

A lab puppy getting a treat


5. House Training / Potty

Puppies will have inevidable accidents but with direction and patience, house training your pup could be fairly painless. Consistancy is key. Consider these points.

  • take puppy out for relief right after nap, eating or crating
  • positivity when puppy goes where they should
  • stick to a schedule
  • don't scold or scare puppy when an accident occurs


6. Basic Obedience

All dogs should know basic obedience and this training should begin the minute you bring them home.

Basic commands include :

  • look
  • come
  • leave it
  • off
  • drop it
  • sit
  • stay
  • lie down
  • wait

These commands are the very basics and should be a constant in your dog's daily world. Using positive reinforcement to acheive these commands is highly effective. Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and you will get through this stage.


7. Be Patient

Training a puppy takes time and most of all patience. How long it takes to come to the desired level of training with a new puppy depends on many factors including; breed, your lifstyle, staying consistant and positive. Yes it can be frustrating when they chew your furniture or pee on the floor but remember they are learning and their rate of learning may partly depend on your reactions.

A young happy border collie sitting on carpet


8. Limit Spaces / Thresholds

Puppies need boundaries too. A new puppy should not have free rein on your home. Spaces such as furniture, your bed, couch, stairs up or down or any where you will not wish you pup to find themselves out of bounds should be discouraged. Make sure your dog has a comfy spot of their own that they want to go to and encourage that with praise. Know that if you make exceptions with this that you are setting your dog up to fail so make sure you are consistant with what is allowed and what is not.


9. Teaching And Rewarding Calmness

Teaching your pup how to settle is a very valuable tool in the arsenal of dog training. There will be times when your dog will need to be easily calmed due to certain situations. For example with distractions , company, or tasks where you need them safe and out of the way. Teaching them that, ok we need you to go lie down and relax, is benifical to both you and your dog. Dogs are naturally empathic beings and they may react with your mood and behavior so its good to be mindful that if you wish them to be calm, you'll want to be calm yourself.


10. Puppy Preschool

If you are unsure where to begin with training, enrolling your pup in a puppy preschool / kindergarden may be a good choice. There they may learn some of the basics to get you started and able to reinforce good learned behaviors. This may also have the benefit of socialization that puppies so desperatly need in the early months of their lives. 

austrailian sheppard puppy with grad cap graduation obedience school



 We hope these tips help and give you a starting point with a new pup or possibly some valuable info if you are thinking about getting a puppy. Proper training is so worth the effort because the relationship between you and your dog will be that much better and will give you something invaluable and very special.

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1 comment

  • I just bought a bernedoole. Her name is Molly

    france legault

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