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How to Train Your Puppy

By Juliet Myfanwy Johnson
 

Overview

You just got a new puppy, and you're so excited to bring home that bundle of fluffy joy. Then, wow, the new puppy is chewing everything, peeing everywhere and howling at night. How do you handle the joys and tragedies of your young dog without going crazy? Just as you are adjusting to your new dog and having her around, she is also adjusting to you and this new life in a brand new house. She also is just a baby, so most of her behaviors are full of energy without any sense of consequences. Here are some tips for helping you and your house survive, as well as giving your puppy some beginning obedience training.

Step 1

The most important part of puppy training is housetraining. You want to set your puppy up for success, so you have to make sure she has access to going outside to pee as often as possible. You always take a puppy out first thing in the morning, right after meals, and after a playtime session, every few hours, and before bed. If the puppy has been taking a nap and gets up, it's best to head her right out of doors before she starts sniffing around, looking for a place to pee inside.

The quicker you teach her that every time she gets up, she goes outside to pee, the quicker she will understand that inside is for playing and outside is for peeing.

Step 2

Don't leave your puppy unsupervised. If you are home, make sure your puppy is with you, or blocked off in an area you can oversee. This will ensure that she doesn't eliminate inside. You'll be able to watch and know when she has to go out.

Step 3

If you do have to leave your puppy, make sure to put her in a crate, or use a baby gate to block her into a small area. The smaller the area, the less chance the puppy will use the space to pee or poop in. A dog naturally likes to keep his sleeping area clean. Remember that a puppy has a small bladder, though, and can't be expected to hold their pee for longer than two hours at a time at first.

At night, you'll want to crate your puppy or keep her blocked into a small area (or on your bed, if you're inclined!) This will keep our dog happy (less likely to howl, being with you) and you'll all sleep better.

Step 4

You can start training your dog to sit, lay down and come fairly quickly. Use treats as incentive. Enroll in an obedience class, which is great to socialize your puppy with other dogs as well as train the basic commands.

Step 5

Take your puppy on walks and in the car as often as possible. This will get her used to walking on a leash, and socialize her to different people, sights and sounds. The more a puppy is socialized, the more relaxed and well-behaved she will be in your home.
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