The First 5 Things to Teach Your New Puppy (and When to Start)
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The First 5 Things to Teach Your New Puppy (and When to Start)

Your puppy’s training begins as soon as you bring him home, so you want to have a handle on how you plan to train your pup before you pick him up; in fact, since pups are rarely taken from their moms before 6-8 weeks, their training has already begun!

Though it’s fun to just cuddle and play with a brand-new pup, it needs to be trained. And I don’t mean just how to sit or roll over, but how to socialize, behave, and relieve himself.

Here’s a list to help you train your dog from the very beginning.

Potty training

First and foremost, you want your dog to be potty trained, and I don’t think I need to go over the reasons why. There’s a lot that goes into it, but for the sake of being concise, I’ve kept it to three steps.

  1. Celebrate your pup when he or she goes potty in the right place; be sure to reward!
  2. If you catch your puppy going in the wrong place, calmly interrupt him and take him to the right location. If you don’t see it happen, just clean it up and keep an eye out for the next time. Scolding won’t communicate where you want them to relieve themselves.
  3. Be on the watch, and supervise. Catch your pup going in the wrong location as much as you can to instruct him properly; don’t just let him have accident after accident.


Dogs, especially puppies, are naturally inclined to guard what they love, whether it be toys, food, or people, so don’t just take away things they’re enjoying if it’s something you don’t want them to have. This will only increase their inclination to guard it.

Simply steer their attention to another object, and remove the first.


Puppies can get overly excited and often use their teeth to show it. They love to explore and get to know the world with their mouths, so you’ll often come in contact with some sharp teeth.

If it gets too forceful, exclaim “ouch” and remove whatever body part it was for 30 seconds. If this isn’t enough, after the second “ouch,” separate yourself completely for 30 seconds or until they calm down.

Basic obedience training

You don’t have to wait until your puppy has become a full-grown adult dog to start teaching it things like sitting, shaking a paw, or rolling over. Two necessities are “sit” and “focus.”

To teach sit:

  • Start with your palm flat and facing up with a small treat in the tips of your fingers.
  • Starting at the puppy’s nose, move your hand slowly above its head; as their nose follows the treat, it is natural for their bodies to move into a sitting position.
  • As soon as they sit, affirm the pup and reward it with the treat.
  • Repeat at least five times and then again without a treat, but still with a reward afterward.

To build focus, try the name game:

  • Use an upbeat tone to say your pup’s name.
  • When it responds, say “Yes!” and reward him.
  • After a while, your dog will learn its name and that when you call him, you want his attention.

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