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When Should I Start Training my New Puppy?

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Written By: Allaire Burke

November 22, 2023

A puppy in obedience school in Virginia Beach

The truth is, training your new dog, be it from a breeder or a rescue, begins the moment your pup comes home (whether you realize it or not). When most think of dog training they focus on the trick aspect however, the obedience of daily life is where the importance of training your dog truly lies. In the most simple of terms, you want to correct the bad and reward the good. Now, a lot of us spend a fair amount of time accidentally rewarding behaviors that are directly working against our goals.

Everyday I see people dealing with issues that they accidentally created when their dog was younger (and smaller). A few examples- I once had a client whose baby Aussie puppy would steal scrunchies out of their hair and run around the house, fast forward to a 4 year old 30 pound dog that jumps on the couch and tries to see if ALL of your guests have a scrunchy/ will rip it off their head if they do. Pretty much any dog that you teach to high five or shake will inherently learn that pawing at you gets them things and therefore you can end up with a dog that paws at everyone when they want something (attention, play, food, for some examples). Lastly we have jumping, now this one is easy to curb given you remain consistent and intentional with your interactions. If you pet your dog or give them praise when they jump/ their paws are on you, you are part of the problem. BUT, thats okay, because you're here and we can help!

When bringing home a new dog we recommend starting them off in a smaller space, our highest recommendation would be crate training most dogs. For a basic wire kennel we like this one, for a trendier options we like this wooden one and this white one. If your dog has any particular behavior problems, we suggest contacting a local trainer in your area. If you are bringing home a fresh new puppy, definitely make the move and crate train. The first few nights will be tough, so prepare yourself. One week in and your new puppy will be sleeping soundly in their crate through the night. There are a few key components to a happy, healthy crated pup. Firstly, jump right in the night your puppy comes home, starting off on the right path will make always make for a more seamless transition. You can leave a frozen kong in their with some frozen peanut butter or pumpkin- this is not only a great distraction but, can be soothing on their gums. Puppies are sleepy, growing creatures so, they can spend a fair amount of their day sleeping in the crate.

Every time you let them out, your first step should be heading straight to potty time. If they potty, they get a treat and freedom to hang outside the crate. Monitor their food and water intake- we recommend setting a timer for 10-15 minutes after they've eaten or drank anything, at that time we recommend taking them out for potty time. Be sure to bring treats so you can reward, our favorite treats are these freeze dried chicken ones. If you're not able to have eyes on your new puppy, they should be in the crate napping.

We recommend putting a collar on your new puppy when they come home. Not only does this keep their identification but, it gets them used to having something around their neck. If your puppy is nervous about the collar, you can positively associate it by petting your puppy with it on your hand and laying it on the ground with kibble on it so they have to nose around it.

When it comes to teaching your puppy new skills, each puppy is different. Once they're comfortable with you and confident in their surroundings, you can begin teaching them new things. Every puppy that comes through our program learns sit, down, heel, come, place, and leave-it. All of these are conceivable by a young pup and make for a well-rounded adult dog. I hope that this has given some insight into puppyhood and we look forward to helping you problem solve as life alongside your new bestie progresses!

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