Prepping for your new pup is such an exciting time with puppy training plans, puppy-proofing your home, and shopping for puppy supplies as all part of the fun. Puppy love is a real thing full of joy, giddiness, and, of course, growing pains. Owner and Training Director of Dog Gone Amazing, Malaika Heinbaugh, just brought home a new puppy Poodle named Balti. She wants to share her top professional puppy training tips with you as she applies them herself to her newest furry family addition.
Puppy Training Prep Essentials Every New Owner Needs to Know
1. Puppy Proof the Home Front
Just as with any new family addition, there’s lots of preparation you can do to make sure you create a safe and stress-free home environment for both your new pup and yourself.
Start by doing a full sweep of your home to make sure you put away anything dangerous that your puppy can get into, chew up, or ingest. A good rule of thumb is to make sure things are out of reach. We want you to be on the lookout for these especially sneaky hazards:
- Electrical wires and cords: Watch for anything a puppy could chew through that carries electricity or anything that could get entangled around its neck.
- Dangerous foods: You might have heard chocolate is dangerous for dogs. That, along with other foods that could harm your pup, should be placed up high.
- Cleaning products and tools: Soaps, detergents, sprays, cleaning sponges, and cleaning rags need to be stored up high. Keeping your puppy from ingesting dangerous chemicals is a no-brainer, but we want you to consider that even closed cabinets at puppy level can still be nosed open and rummaged through.
- Any personal items you cherish: Consider this one an emotional hazard. Puppies learn about their environment by using their mouths and infamously chew anything within reach. You don’t want to learn that the hard way with your favorite new pair of winter boots torn to shreds.
2. GET PUPPY-SUPPLY READY
Want to know all the basics for a getting-started puppy kit? Here’s our A-list of must-haves and recommendations on brands we love:
- Flat, Expandable Puppy Collar: Flat expandable collars grow with your puppy. Find one with durable material and a metal ring that can attach to a leash. While plastic buckles work, we recommend more durable ones, especially for pups who pull on their leashes.
- Puppy Toys: We love Tuffy brand toys. They come with great squeakers, and their durability stands up to vigorous puppy chew. Always look for toys with materials that don’t break easily to avoid your puppy from ingesting them.
- Bully Stick Rings: A good motto for new puppy owners is “Keep them occupied.” Chew treats make excellent options to keep your puppy busy for hours. Bully stick rings are one of our favorites because they stand the test of puppy teeth time (although we don’t recommend them for adult dogs because they likely chew them quickly or swallow them whole).
- Training Treats: Keep a bag of training treats on hand to reward and reinforce good puppy behavior. We highly recommend NutriSource Soft & Tender Treats as most dogs love the flavor, and they’re a reasonable price.
- Specially Selected Food: When choosing the right puppy food brand, talk to your vet or consult a pet store (we recommend our good friends at Natural Paws local pet supply store for their extensive knowledge and amazing customer service). They’ll be able to give you recommendations specific to your puppy’s age and breed, as well as brand favorites based on your budget. One of our favorite brands is The Honest Kitchen, the first pet food brand that adheres to human-grade safety standards, sources very high-quality ingredients, and is still a great price.
- Adaptil Pheromone Collar: This one is optional, but we think it’s a gem of a find as you transition your puppy from its mother to its new human family. These collars release calming pheromones activated by your puppy’s raised body temperature when it is stressed.
Top Puppy Training Skills to Set Up for Successful Dog Behavior
With a new puppy, you’ll undoubtedly learn what reinforces good and bad behaviors along the way. As dog and puppy training professionals, we’ve narrowed down our top three skills we think every new owner should master.
Good puppy behavior skill #1: potty/crate training
Potty accidents are part of the puppy game. Potty training or crate training your puppy sets them up for success, and we recommend starting this as soon as you bring them home. Show them to their designated potty spot and reinforce their use of it with praise. Create a potty training plan that makes sense for your schedule. And remember, patience is essential. Learn more about potty or crate training here.
GOOD PUPPY behavior skill #2: Impulse control training
What’s more impulsive than a dog or a child? Mix the two, and you’ll find out. Start training this skill right away by teaching your puppy to stay still and be calm before they can get the things they want. And remember, you might think these behaviors are adorable now, but it’s hard to unlearn destructive behaviors down the road. Here are a few ways to train your puppy well:
- Meals: Food is a great motivator to learn this skill set. Try making them sit down and show they can be calm before you give them a meal.
- Letting Them In or Out: Teach impulse control skills when they excitedly want to come in and play with their human family or go out to romp through the back yard. Don’t just let them in if they scratch the door. Instead, make them sit and be calm first.
- Giving Attention: Puppies need a lot of attention, practically all the time! Teaching this skill early will create a calmer environment for you and your guests. Don’t let them jump on you and scratch at you to get attention. Instead, make them calm down, and then reward them with attention and treats.
A good general rule of thumb with impulse control is to watch for any time they tend to become overly excited and practice calming skills. Learn more about this here.
GOOD PUPPY BEHAVIOR SKILL #3: How to safely wear a collar and leash
Many puppies have a hard time getting used to the feeling of a collar and a leash, but we see this as one of the most important skills for your puppy to master as their safety depends on it. Start by using the collar and leash indoors or in an enclosed backyard. Try using a long, loose leash that allows them the freedom to roam around while you hold the other end. Give them treats for wearing their collar and leash.
As you can see, with a new puppy in the house, there’s a lot to think about and prepare for. Being a pet owner is a big, time-intensive responsibility to ensure your animal is kept safe, healthy, and properly trained. With that said, having a puppy is one of the most exciting and fun parts of life. So love your little furry baby and give them the set-up and skills to create a long-lasting beautiful relationship.
Want More One-on-One Puppy Support? Try Our Puppy Training Program
Searching the internet for “Puppy training near me?” Our one-on-one program works with puppies six weeks or older that need to learn crate training, potty training, and basic obedience commands. Learn more about our Puppy Training Program and see if it’s a good fit for your family.