This article was designed to give you everything that you need to start properly and successfully train your new puppy to ensure that you, your family and your new pet dog have a long, happy and exciting life together.
Training your puppy is crucial for building the essential foundations of developing a loving and obedient relationship between you and your dog.
I've tried my very best to give new dog owners (like yourself) a full, comprehensive article to read, digest and in turn put into actionable, practical steps to help make training your new puppy a fun, easy and pleasurable experience.
I have ordered the contents of this article so that it makes sense in step by step form. However, if you'd like to jump to any specific steps that you may are seeking more advice about, then click on the links in the table of contents below to jump to that specific section.
All the common questions about how to train a puppy found all over the internet are answered below with the best possible advice I could find from lots of different resources and experiences I've had with my own dogs growing up.
Ready to go? Let's jump into it!
When To Start Puppy Training
People often ask when to start training a puppy. The answer is that training should start immediately when you bring your puppy home!
Of course, the first night that you bring your puppy into your home, you and your family will be giving them a lot of attention. Sometimes it's difficult to start training when such a beautiful and cute little friend enters your life - especially when you have children!
However, it's important to start training your dog right away. Chances are if you're reading this, you're the new dog's official owner and you'll need to train your dog to pay attention to you.
New puppy owners often make the mistake of worrying about trying to find the right puppy treats, dog food, toys and dog beds. Of course these are all important things, but mostly they spend little time thinking about how or what to teach their new puppy.
Apart from what the basic needs for a puppy being a soft, warm bed, and nutritious dog food - perhaps one of the most important biological necessities for a dog, is their need for positive reinforcement to boost their confidence levels when training them.
Being The Positive and Supportive Friend For Your Dog
Dogs (like in the wild) are naturally and genetically predisposed to follow a pack leader. A pack leader in the wild is strong, stable and consistent, however a common misconception is that we should allow ourselves to be in the role of our puppy's "pack leader". The pack leader is the family structure of the mom, dad and children in the actual dog's family - not the owner. This is old, outdated information and should not followed as sound advice.
Creating The Relationship Your Dog Needs The Correct Way
While it's quick to assume that we should be their "pack" leader as well, we cannot fulfil that notion being a human.
It simply isn't the correct way of training your puppy with enough positive reinforcement. Instead, you should support your puppy in being a positive teacher and help coax your puppy into trusting and loving you. This in turn will increase your puppy's confidence levels, and make them learn at a more rapid pace - increasing their obedience to you, helping them choose the correct path of learning.
It is important in the first 18 weeks of your puppy's life that you positively train your puppy with as much support and love as possible, otherwise this can lead to all sorts of behavioral problems down the track, not by being the boss - but by being supportive.
If you end up consistently scolding your puppy or treating them negatively, how are they supposed to know what's expected of them? When this happens, negative dog behavior like chewing your shoes or furniture, barking, leash pulling, and anxiety problems can develop. This is because your new puppy will be "rebelling" or develop anxiety habits, that aren't easy to control throughout proper management and care. Over the course of this article, I'll show you how to avoid all these behavioral problems and ensure this doesn't happen.
Instead, you'll develop a long, loving and obedient relationship with your new dog, and I'll also show you ways to troubleshoot when problems arise.
The single most important thing you can do to maintain the best possible relationship with your dog is to create a special bond, which comes naturally with enough love, attention, rewarding behavior and respect.
Training Your Puppy With Positive Reinforcement - Not Dominance
A common misconception is that new puppy owners have to dominate their new dog in order for them to listen to you. Nothing could be further from the truth! For a new puppy to become obedient, you must give it the attention, love and satisfaction to their natural instincts as possible. This happens by winning your puppy's love and respect, not by being dominant and overshadowing your puppy by scolding him or reprimanding him when he does the wrong thing.
This role doesn't start six months down the track, or when your dog is fully grown - it should happen immediately, and be maintained throughout your dog's entire training experience - and their entire life.
For your new puppy to grow into an obedient, healthy and balanced dog, you must give them the attention, love, respect and positive reinforcement as possible.
So, how do you do this?
Start training immediately. Here are more key training modules for your reference to maintain that healthy role that your puppy needs:
Puppy Training: The First Week & What To Expect
"Every interaction you make with your puppy is a training opportunity."
Commencement of your own puppy training classes when you first bring them home is crucial.
However, equally as important for your dog's needs is that all family members must decide and agree on a specific routine, responsibility and rules for your puppy.
While the excitement and joy surrounding your new puppy is a great one, it's important to adhere to the family rules and responsibilities owning your new pet. It can be easy for the rules to be broken, because everybody is so captivated by how cute the puppy is.
For example, the puppy is meant to sleep in their dog bed on the first night, however your daughter sneakily picks up the puppy when everyone is asleep, and the puppy winds up sleeping on your daughter's bed.
This is a definite no-no, as the dog that hasn't been house trained could eliminate all over the bed sheets, and then in turn the puppy is bound to sleep in the laundry or dog crate and howls all the next night, and NOBODY gets any sleep!
Here are some golden rules to apply by so none of this happens:
Play with your puppy gently and quietly. Try not to flood him or her with attention and activity, and encourage your kids to play with them quietly, too.
If she looks like she wants to go to sleep, leave her alone. Puppies need a lot of sleep like a human baby. Decide who is responsible in your family for feeding and cleaning up after your puppy. Try to stick to the schedule, as puppies (like babies) feed off routine.
Try not to spend all your time with your puppy. If she is going to be alone during the day, then you'll need to try and let him or her get used to the idea of being alone.
If she wakes up and starts whining, don't rush in to greet your puppy, instead take a couple of minutes and then being relaxed, walk in to greet her. After a while if she starts to whine and then stops, give her a treat and praise her when she has stopped whining. Dogs thrive off positive reinforcement. So it's vitally important that you praise your dog when he or she does the right thing. Reward her with a chew toy, or a tasty treat.
Puppies are incredibly impressionable animals, so it is very important to begin showing them the rules right away. A lot of new puppy owners let their puppy get away with everything - just because they are a puppy. If you allow your dog to get away with everything now, then when it grows up and you change the rules, it'll only confuse them, and in turn make them harder to train.
Because puppies are growing so fast, they learn very quickly and appropriately with proper instruction.
*** Never hit your puppy or give harsh reprimands! ***
Puppys and dogs are never spiteful. They are just doing what comes naturally to them. Instead, show your puppy what kind of behavior you would like them to display!
How do you do this?
It's simple. Like I stated earlier, puppies thrive off positive reinforcement. Teach them and encourage them to play with their toys. Let them know that you are happy by talking in a kind, gentle voice and how good they are when they chew them.
I'll go into more specific examples in upcoming sections below. But first, you'll need to schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian.
Further Reading On Surviving Your First Week With Your Puppy:
A Trip To The Veterinarian
One of the most important aspects of good dog health for your puppy, is regular veterinary care. It is crucial that your puppy that is has regular exercise and maintains a nutritional diet to stay fit and healthy. Plus, your vet can advise your on heartworm, and flea and tick preventative care.
So when should you take your puppy to the vet?
While a lot goes into maintaining optimal health for your pet, the first visit to your vet should commence within the first week of owning your new dog.
Schedule an appointment with your local veterinarian immediately. You should discuss with your vet your puppy's vaccination schedule and when they will be allowed outside.
Puppies are susceptible to many canine diseases until they are fully vaccinated - so please don't take your new puppy outside until your veterinarian has given you the all clear.
In the meantime, as your puppy will be inside, it's important to maintain boundaries and consistent training with your puppy. I'll discuss some of the most common questions and answers for your puppy below.
Further Reading On Your Puppy's First Trip To The Vet:
Introducing Your Puppy To Their Collar And Leash
There's a stage after acquiring your newly beloved pet, that you'll need to get them registered and therefore introduce them to their new collar and leash. A lot of the time, the new puppy will just not like the new collar at all!
It usually takes a just a few hours for your new puppy to get used to their collar and leash. And below I'm going to show you how you can get your puppy used to their new collar as soon as possible.
Choosing The Correct Collar
Make sure you choose a collar that fits your new dog comfortably and securely. Choose a buckle collar that is either made from leather or another durable, long-lasting material. Don't choose a choke collar for your puppy, as these will cause your puppy some discomfort and they will quickly associate the choke collar with being reprimanded or punished.
Instead, make sure the buckle collar is securely fastened that it can't pass easily over the puppy's head. As guide, ensure that you can slip 2 fingers snugly between your puppy's neck and the collar, Making sure it's secure but also not too tight. The collar should have your dog's identification tag and license details attached to it.
I highly recommend that as your puppy will be micro-chipped, you should also have your puppy's name and contact phone number printed on an identification tag or the buckle itself. There are lot's of customizable dog collars available online that have your dog's identification details and contact phone number for dirt cheap.
Placing The Collar On Your Puppy For The First Time
When you place your collar on your puppy for the first time, your dog will squirm, wriggle and try to paw at it. This is absolutely normal behavior, but try not to encourage the behavior by praising OR scolding them.
Instead, ignore the behavior by distracting them. Playing with your pet, training or making them eat, all work well in order to get your puppy's mind off the collar. Once the puppy accepts their collar, they won't even realise that it's there. Just like a human being wearing a new piece of jewelry, watch or a ring. After a while, you just get used to it.
Note: If your puppy seems to be really distressed by the collar after a period of time and you've tried to distract them, please make sure that the collar is comfortable and secure and is not choking your beloved pet.
Introducing Your Puppy To The New Leash
Once your puppy has accepted the collar, the next stage is to introduce your puppy to his or her leash. Attach the leash to the puppy's collar indoors and then just sit there and watch.
Let your puppy walk and run around the house with their leash attached, and make sure that they don't get it tangled up and get hurt. At this stage, just leave the leash on your puppy for a few minutes and then take it off.
After a while, repeat the same process, but leave the leash on for longer periods of time. When your pup is going to be fed, place their lead on them so that they associate the leash with a pleasant experience like eating dinner.
If your new pup is scared of the leash, just place it gently next to their food bowl for a while before attaching it to their collar. Eventually, they will get used to the idea that the leash means no harm and that there's nothing to be afraid of.
After Your Puppy Has Become Acquainted With The New Leash
After a period of time where you feel that your puppy has become comfortable with the leash, pick up the other end of it, and let them lead you around the house. Do not pull or yank the leash for your puppy to come to you, but instead let him lead you everywhere in his confined area. If your puppy stops and sits down, sit down as well. If you pull or yank the leash at this stage, your puppy will probably associate the leash as a punishment.
After a few tries, gently usher your puppy towards you by calling his name. If you have practiced your dog's recall in this guide, then your puppy should automatically come to you. If you haven't then this step will take a little bit of patience. Offer a treat or their favorite chew toy and let your puppy come to you. When they successfully do it, praise them profusely and give them the treat or chew toy.
Note: If they hesitate at this stage, don't pull or yank the leash to force them to come towards you, instead try luring them with a treat or chew toy. Always try and make this a pleasurable experience as possible for your puppy!
Give your puppy lots of experience and practice with their leash in your own home as it is a familiar environment for them. Only when they're comfortable with the leash indoors, you should take them outside to your front or backyard with minimal distractions.
Note: Make sure your dog's vaccinations are up to date before taking your puppy outside!
When your puppy has mastered being in the yard with the leash, then you two are ready for the great outdoors! Try a quiet area with a few distractions, such as a quiet street or park and take your puppy there. If you've mastered the early stages of your puppy's leash development, then this should be no problem for your puppy to master this as well.
What To Do If Your Puppy Continually Bites Or Chews The Leash
If your puppy bites or chews the leash when you are trying to walk them, try applying a bitter apple flavoring to the lead. Make sure the substance that you use is non-toxic to your animal, but try reapplying it every time you go out.
If you're still concerned about your puppy biting or chewing the lead, try purchasing a metal chain lead with a handle. I currently use it on my dog, and he has never chewed or bitten the metal because it's unpleasant to them. Do NOT purchase a choker chain for your puppy. While these are used as training tools, your puppy will associate the choking action as unpleasant and will quickly become afraid of the leash.
Note: Make sure you always walk your puppy on leash. If you take your puppy off leash, accidents can happen very quickly, and you can easily cause harm to your pet. Your puppy's safety, as well as respecting the local laws - is your responsibility. Of course, always pick up after your dog if he or she eliminates.
How To Get Your Puppy To Stop Pulling On A Leash
A puppy pulling on a leash is not an uncommon occurrence, in fact is it a very natural thing for a puppy to do. When your puppy feels restraint, they will automatically pull against it.
The very first thing to do is start training your puppy to stop pulling inside your house with minimal distractions. Teach your puppy to walk on one side of your body without pulling on the leash.
How do you do this?
It's a simple case of not letting your puppy get the opportunity to pull on the leash.
The best method of doing this is by utilizing a harness and attaching the lead to it. Get your puppy acquainted with their harness exactly the same way you introduced them to their collar.
If your puppy is afraid of the harness, then introduce it to them slowly, and make them feel like it is a pleasurable experience by associating the harness with meal time like I mentioned above with their leash.
Once your puppy has grown accustomed to the harness, attach the leash to it, and hold the leash in your hand.
Keep the leash loose at all times. If you start noticing your puppy race ahead, quickly change directions and start walking the other way. Do not wait until the leash is taut, instead keep it loose at all times. Your puppy will quickly realise they're behind you, and then surge ahead to catch up. The leash should always remain loose except for the split second it takes for you to spin around and walk the other direction.
Do not drag your puppy to your side. This doesn't teach them anything. What we're trying to teach the puppy, is that the leash should remain loose at all times, and therefore your puppy should remain at your side at all times, too.
When changing directions, make sure you give a quick tug and the leash will be taut for a split second and loose again.
Note: Teach your puppy to keep the leash loose BEFORE they learn to pull on the leash, instead of correcting your dog's behavior AFTER he has learned to pull. You must correct him before he pulls!
If you can't correct your puppy's pulling in time, do not reward his pulling by letting them continue this way. It's better to completely stop in your tracks or slowly turn the other way, making the leash loose again. Then wait 20 or 30 seconds while the leash is loose and start again.
If you are too late in your correction and your puppy is pulling, start all over again.
Note: Don't ever pull or yank on your puppy's throat or neck - use a soft, adjustable, non-restrictive harness. Don't ever leave the harness on your puppy unattended. After you have completed your training exercise, remove the harness from your puppy altogether. Never use a choke collar on your puppy.
Once you have mastered your puppy not pulling on the leash, you can repeat the same procedure and see how they fare on with their collar/leash combination!
Further Reading On Leash Training Your Puppy:
Conclusion: Winning Your Puppy's Love And Respect
I really hope that you've taken a lot away from this article and you have applied my instructions to ensure your puppy has a long and happy life.
It was in my best interests when creating this article to help and inform people about the most effective and ethical practices of training their puppy correctly.
I have lots of other helpful guides on this site to assist you with your puppy training. You can check them out here.
A Final Word On Positive Dog Training
Dogs thrive off positive reinforcement. Any well respected dog-trainer will tell you the same. That being said, while there are thousands of techniques of training your puppy to do practically anything, I've tried my best to demonstrate the most successful, reliable and quickest ways to train your puppy. These instructions outlined in the article and others on this site, will ensure that your puppy will not only be obedient, but you'll ultimately win your puppy's love and respect and create an incredible bond that'll be hard to break.
The love that you'll receive from your new dog is something that few people can describe, and provided that you continue to look after your dog for it's entire life, the love you'll give them, will come back to you ten thousand fold.
Thank you for reading this article, and taking the time to go through it.
I hope you've applied these techniques with some great results and I'd really appreciate if you could share this article on social media by recommending it to family and friends! 🙂
There's lots of useful advice on the internet about training your new puppy, and I've really tried my best to illustrate the best possible advice out there today. I wish you the best of luck with your puppy training!