Ten Important Steps to Raising your Puppy Right

Raising a puppy can seem overwhelming, but these ten tips can help ensure you’re headed in the right direction:

  1. House train your pup from the start. Although this can be challenging, it is probably the most important thing to teach your pup.
  2. Find opportunities for your puppy to socialize with dogs of various ages. This is a critical moment in his/her life, as without early socialization, your pup may have trouble around other dogs as an adult.
  3. Get your puppy out into the world. By exposing him to new and different things your pup will become habituated to what could possibly be frightening in the future.
  4. Play with your pup! Play with toys or just goof around. Your pup will see you as a source of fun and excitement. It is also a great way to build a loving bond between you.
  5. Show affection. Don’t just wait for your pup to initiate it. Pet your puppy while praising with a soft voice. This not only develops a close bond between the two of you, but also conditions your pup to feel delighted by your praising voice. In the future, you will be able to reward good behaviors and obedience with your praise. You might not always have a cookie or a ball, but you will always have your voice.
  6. When your pup comes close to you, praise them in a friendly voice and pet them. Same thing when you approach your pup. Your pup should always experience increasing proximity to you as a good thing. Don’t teach him/her the opposite!
  7. Give your pup good things to chew on. He/she truly has chewing needs. Without the proper outlet, your pup will chew up furniture, newspapers, clothing, shoes or anything he/she finds interesting.
  8. Set rules and boundaries from the start. Don’t permit or encourage behaviors that would be unacceptable from an adult dog – such as mouthing or biting people, rough play with children, jumping up on you or guests, climbing on furniture, getting food from the counter or the table (don’t give them food from these places), or chasing after small animals.
  9. Train your puppy obedience commands: sit, down, come, heel and place. Take a lighthearted approach and stay upbeat. Your pup should find obedience training to be fun. See the obedience commands page for puppy training videos.
  10. Keep your cool! Whenever you find yourself becoming annoyed, frustrated, or angry with your puppy, you should take a break. You will not be communicating clearly if you are upset. Try to think through the problem and see the solution. Take incremental steps to realize that goal. Staying calm and focused demonstrates confident leadership that your puppy will respect.

For a personalized consultation with your puppy, call or email Joe Cavalletto, or read more about the Puppy Fast Track program.