Puppy Training: The Basics

When you’re a dog lover, you know there’s nothing like the love and loyalty you get from your furry friend. No matter the breed or size of your pooch, they’ll love you all the same! When you love dogs, you aren’t left wondering why they’re called “man’s best friend.” If you’ve grown up with dogs your whole life but now you’re on your own, or you’ve just never had the time to devote to them, you may not have a lot of hands-on experience raising a new puppy.

Raising a new puppy can be an extremely rewarding, but also challenging few months. Until your puppy learns the rules and ropes, they can be quite a handful. Everyone’s philosophy on raising dogs is different – what works for dog might not work for another. But, there are a few tricks that usually work for all puppies, and new pet owners:

chocolate lab puppy

Be the Boss

When you have dogs, it’s so important to establish a pack order. This may sounds silly or primitive, but domestic dogs evolved from wild animals – where packs are critical to survival in the wild. A new puppy will naturally look to you to be their pack leader. Establishing your dominance early helps with obedience for the rest of your dog’s life. All it takes is confidence and a calm demeanor to show your dog that you’re the alpha.

Establish a Routine

From the moment you bring your furry friend home, it’s so important to establish a routine. Dogs tend to be creatures of habit and really thrive from structure. A loose schedule with unclear rules leaves your pooch confused and unsure of how to please you as their master. From day one, you should set the same times and rules for feeding, bathroom breaks, walks, training, and more. Consistency is crucial to training your puppy faster and more successfully.

Start Early

It’s best to start things like regular socialization, trips to the vet, and visits to the groomer early. When you expose your puppy to regular outings and interactions at an early age, you’re helping them get used to these things sooner. They’ll be less scared when it’s time to get their monthly haircuts! Just make sure these new environments are as comfortable as possible. If you live in Lancaster PA, you can find great, gentle dog grooming services that will treat your new puppy well. Comfort and consistency leads to well-adjusted adult dogs!

puppy playing in the grass

Practice Patience

New puppies can be a fun addition to your family. But, they’re also a lot of work. When you spend a lot of time working on potty training and they have an accident inside, it can be frustrating. Instead of getting mad, yelling, or hitting your puppy, keep a cool head. Dogs don’t understand why you’re yelling or hitting them, and often forget what they did wrong soon after the action. A calm “no” and solid redirection outside sends the right message.

Consider Crate Training

For some inexperienced dog owners, the mention of a crate can send them reeling. They might picture a small cage, where dogs are sent for long periods of time. Crates are actually an extremely effective way to train and protect your pooch – especially when they’re young. A crate acts like a den, becoming a safe space for puppies and adult dogs alike. To keep their crates as a safe option for sleeping and while you’re away, never use them for discipline.

There’s no fool-proof way for training and raising your puppy. Just like people, every puppy has its own personality. There are agreeable, calm puppies and hyperactive, strong-willed puppies too. But, the most important things for success are consistency, patience, and providing a loving home!