Puppy Training tips for the First Week

Published: 25th November 2009
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Bringing home a puppy and introducing her to your home is very exciting for everyone. The only one who may be anxious about the situation will be the puppy. If you handle your puppy properly when she arrives, she will quickly relax and want to settle into her new home.

Prior to bringing your new puppy into your home, you should puppy proof it. Take a look at your home from the puppy's viewpoint. Does that potted plant sitting in front of the glass door look tempting? You may want to consider moving it to a higher place. What about your favorite collection of teddy bears, or magazines you have in a basket by the sofa? They will most certainly raise the curiosity of your new puppy. As you move these things out of your puppy's reach, remember it is only for a short time. Once your new puppy has learned her place in the family, you can put your things back where they go. Your life should never be dictated by your puppy. However, by removing these curiosity objects from the start, it will allow you to work with your puppy on the basic training she will need to learn.

It is important to understand that as much as you want your new puppy to be a part of your family, your puppy is still an animal. She will take her cues from her environment. If she is allowed to have free run of the home and access to everything, you are teaching her that she is in charge. Dogs have instincts. The main instinct of dogs is to live in a pack. Your new puppy will assume her new family is her pack. If she picks up the clues that she is her own boss and she can do what she wants, whenever she wants, she is being taught she is the leader of her pack. It is much easier on everyone, including the dog, if she learns from the moment she enters the home that she is not the leader and dictator of the family.

One mistake people make is letting their puppy sleep in a utility room, or kitchen. Dogs are from the wolf family, and really prefer to have a den all their own. Some people assume placing a dog in a crate is cruel. On the contrary, if crates are introduced properly, they will be much loved by the puppy. When planning for a new puppy, do not go out and buy the biggest crate you can find for your puppy thinking she will grow into it. This is the worst mistake owner's make. A crate should be large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around in. Puppies usually learn from their mothers to not soil in their bed area. If the crate is too large, your puppy may designate a portion of her crate for sleeping, and the other half for soiling. You should also never place your puppy's food and water in her crate.

When your puppy is first introduced to the crate, do not simply put her inside and lock the door. This will greatly disturb her. (You should place the crate in a room in your home where the family gathers. You should not expect the puppy to walk through the entire house to the back guest bedroom to nap. By having the crate in close proximity to the family, the puppy will feel as if she is still hanging out with her pack, even if she is inside her crate sleeping.) Place the crate where it will stay, and simply open the door. You can place a towel in the bottom, and a chew toy inside if you want. Some puppy's are very curious. They will simply walk inside. Others may be a little more shy with the crate. Give your puppy time to warm up to the crate. Once she does enter the crate, praise her. You may want to give her crate a name. When she enters the crate, you can repeat the crates name, and give her a treat.

After your puppy has warmed up to her crate and has entered and exited it a few times, you can close the door. She may whine and paw at the door. She may even start yelping and barking. This is okay. Do not let her out. After about ten minutes, you can open the door and pick her up. Walk her directly to the area designated for pottying. You should never let your puppy out of her crate and allow her to follow you through the house to go outside. Most puppies will simply squat and go where they please. Once you are outside, set her down. You would then encourage her to potty. Choose a couple of words such as, "Go potty," of "Do your business." She will not have a clue as to what you are saying, at first. But, after repeated attempts and with being given a puppy treat and praise, she will learn what those words mean. Most puppies will need to go out at least every hour during the first few days to familiarize them with their potty area. This is a chance for you to catch them doing their business where they need to. Lavish them with praise.

The first few nights may make you wonder why you even brought the puppy home. The repeated yelping and whining coming from the crate can seriously upset many adults who need their sleep. You should look at your new puppy as the baby in the family. Puppies less than four months of age may need to go out once during the night. When she does, pick up your pup and take her to her designated spot. After she has relieved herself, place her promptly back into the crate. You should never play with your puppy during the night time hours. This will only encourage her to keep the yelping up. After a few days, your puppy will adjust to the nighttime patterns of her "pack" and everyone will get more rest. Most dogs are able to make it through the entire night without a potty break around 18 weeks.

Some individuals may think it is harsh to scold a puppy. These individuals may be the same people who have a dog running wild in their home within a year. Dogs which aren't disciplined can wreck havoc on a home. You may return to find a shredded couch, chewed up shoes, and garbage strewn all over the place. If there are other pets in the home, you should also consider their feelings. They will most likely be intimidated by such a tyrant, and fights could commence while you are away.

If you catch your puppy chewing on something she shouldn't, a firm "no" is usually enough to stop her antics. As with other forms of training, this may take a few days for her to learn. This is why you were advised to move precious things away. Some people have a rolled up newspaper to swat the puppy with if they refuse to heed a "no." The rolled up newspaper does not hurt. It is simply loud, and it teaches the dog you are the alpha in the family, and not her. If she were truly in a dog pack, her alpha would nip her soundly. So, don't feel as if you are mistreating her. In fact, most puppies seem to feel more secure when they know their place.

The most important thing you can do with your puppy besides introducing a crate immediately, instilling a potty routine, and teaching her what "no" means, is to build the relationship with your new puppy. Get on the floor and play with her. The bond will grow between you and she will love you. This will make your puppy want to please you and be obedient as well. This goes a long way when you start teaching her other basic commands such as "stay" and "come."

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