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How to Train a New Puppy

Puppy Training Tips: Raising Your New Puppy


So you brought home a puppy? Congratulations and welcome to pet parenthood! Puppies can be a great source of joy and happiness, not to mention warmth with all those snuggles and cuddles. But they also require a ton of attention, commitment and training. Never raised a puppy before? Not to worry! With a little patience, a dash of grace, and a whole lot of love, you’ll have a star student and a well-behaved pup. Remember, your new four-legged friend has never done this before, so give them the space and time they need to learn. Keep these puppy training tips in mind when training a puppy, and you’ll have a well-behaved doggie in no time. (Pro tip: a few treats will go a long way when it comes to motivation.)


Social Interaction: Play With Your Puppy!


One of the first things you can do when training a puppy is to teach them how to socialize. In those first few days and weeks, give your puppy lots of human interaction. Showing them how to appropriately interact with you will help them learn social skills and will ultimately set the tone for your relationship going forward. Puppies love having your attention and are social beings, so get the whole family involved for even more playtime fun. 


The most important part of this initial period of getting to know each other is making your cuddly canine companion feel safe and comfortable with you. Establishing trust and mutual respect will create a loving and trusting bond that will give you and your pup a much better foundation for teaching and learning.


This is also a great time to show your new pal that you will not hurt them, and that they don’t need to fear you. Using positive reinforcement is the most effective training strategy, so teaching and reinforcing good behavior will ultimately pay off in the long run. You should never use aversive techniques like hitting, yelling or threatening your dog, as these techniques can eventually lead to fear, anxiety, avoidance and aggression.


Introduce Them To Their Environment


Just like learning how to interact with people, puppies need to learn how to interact with their surroundings. Simply put, show them around. Let them explore in a safe way so that they can get acquainted with how everything looks, sounds and smells in their new home. Puppies are naturally curious, so let them have a look around--with your close supervision, of course. If you choose to crate train, be sure to introduce them to their crate and let them explore their new home right away. 


Pay special attention to things that might be especially foreign to them, like new sounds, other dogs or animals, and other people. Exposing them to these experiences helps them learn not to be scared of them, which can help your puppy react in a more appropriate way to these external stimuli in the future. 


Be Consistent


Once you’ve provided your puppy with an environment they feel safe in, you may want to begin training them to follow some simple cues. To successfully train your furry best friend, you’ll need to keep in mind that consistency is key. Establishing simple, clear rules and boundaries, and then consistently enforcing them is an integral part of helping your pup learn what is acceptable and what is off-limits. 


For example, if you don’t want your puppy to be on your furniture, you have to make sure that you aren’t letting them on the couch sometimes, but not others. If you let them do a specific thing only sometimes, this will confuse your dog and will likely prevent them from learning what you want them to learn. Keeping your rules and boundaries the same over time will ultimately teach your pup which behaviors are preferred and which are not. This won’t happen overnight, so have some patience and show them love while they learn.


To Chew Or Not To Chew? That Is the Question


Chewing is a natural, healthy, appropriate behavior for puppies. The responsibility falls on you to provide them with treats, dog toys and other safe objects for them to chew on, and then teach them which objects are acceptable for chewing. If you catch your fluffy pup chewing on something they shouldn’t be (like your favorite shoes), make sure to replace that object with one of their chew toys to show them what’s okay to chew and what isn’t.


Potty Training


When it comes to potty training a puppy, all pet parents will need to show patience and compassion. Though it’s certainly not fun cleaning up after your puppy when they have accidents, you should keep in mind that they are learning this for the first time, and adjust your expectations accordingly. Make good use of the puppy training tools that are available to you, like puppy pads and treats, and give them plenty of opportunities to show off good behavior by leading them to the appropriate place to go potty frequently.


Love On Them!


No matter what kind of puppy you bring home, all puppies deserve your attention, commitment and unconditional love. Training a puppy can be frustrating at times, but if you employ these puppy training techniques, it will be a great experience for the both of you. Shower your puppy with plenty of love and cuddles, and you will create a lasting bond.


If you’re looking for a place to find dog supplies, check out PetSmart’s selection of all your puppy’s favorites. At PetSmart, we know how important it is to you to give your pet the best of the best, so we carry products from trusted brands at great prices. Stop into your nearest PetSmart store or shop online today!


Information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your pet and is not a substitute for veterinary care provided by a licensed veterinarian. For any medical or health-related advice concerning the care and treatment of your pet, contact your veterinarian.