So you’ve just brought home the latest bundle of joy: a new puppy. While the entire family is beyond excited and completely overwhelmed by the little whelp’s cuteness, there are some serious things to be considered regarding how best to integrate your new family member into the home. Owning a puppy is a major responsibility, and you’ve willingly signed on for it. There are a number of things you must have in order first to ensure that your puppy’s transition to your home will go smoothly—from the necessary objects you will need to keep your puppy safe, healthy, and as little of an irritation as possible—to some tips on how to best potty train and acclimate your littlest household addition.
The first things your new puppy will need are pretty obvious: a pre-determined location for its food and water and a place to sleep. Choosing to place the new puppy in a nice, adequately sized crate when they sleep or when they must be left alone is far from being cruel; instead, it ensures not only puppy’s safety but also the cleanliness and order of the rest of your home. Also remember that puppies are accustomed to small, confined spaces, so a crate filled with soft blankets and toys will feel safe and comforting rather than confining and limiting. Also make sure that you have plenty of toys on hand for the puppy—chew toys in particular, as they are still in the teething and biting stage, much like a human baby.
If you are not sure what steps to take and are feeling a little anxious about getting your Puppy trained properly, I recommend this book to your right. It is a “take you by the hand” publication and it will prevent a lot of behavioral problems that could happen in the future, like digging, chewing furniture and urinating in the house to mark its dominance. It’s an excellent helpful book.
Once you have the puppy’s living space and entertainment needs addressed, the training should begin, and begin immediately. The puppy needs to know that you are the leader of the pack, and should respond to and obey you as it would that pack leader. The first and most important training the new puppy needs to undergo is potty training; obviously other training will come into play later, but in the beginning teaching the puppy when and where to go to the bathroom will ensure that your new family member is adored and not a source of unclean annoyance.
One of the traditional potty-training methods has involved rewarding appropriate potty performance with treats—food in particular. This is never a good idea. The puppy must learn to potty appropriately because it is a fundamental expectation of a young animal, and doing the basics such as going when and where it should is the very definition of fundamental. Rewarding with treats simply teaches a puppy and later an adult dog to only respond if there is something in it for them and not because it is simply what is expected from them.
First of all, remember that the average puppy needs to go to the bathroom six or more times a day; left to their own devices, that’s a significant amount of cleaning up on a daily basis! The puppy crate is your best friend when it comes to housebreaking a puppy; since dogs will rarely if ever void where they sleep and rest, you can remain confident that the puppy will be highly reluctant to soil its sleeping area. Take your puppy out to go to the bathroom at regular intervals—every couple of hours or so—and return the puppy to the crate immediately if they refuse to go to the bathroom. Very quickly the puppy will learn to use the outside-the-crate time to do their potty business, and will begin responding to the cue that coming out of the crate means going to the bathroom first. The key to making this work is absolute consistency; puppies and dogs learn by rote and repetition and if you don’t provide that expected repetition you will be creating a mess—literally and figuratively—for yourself. Also reward appropriate potty behavior immediately and punish inappropriate behavior with equal swiftness. The puppy will pick up on the signal that leaving the crate means pottying first and freedom to play second. It will also learn where to go at the same time and will be hesitant to break that imposed rule, and/or risk your dissatisfaction. Housebreaking a puppy will take only a matter of days—as long as that crucial consistency is present. However, every puppy will still have accidents, just like any human baby. Simply punish that behavior and move on with the consistency and reward system in the future; soon you will have this first training step down and can move on to more advanced training and expectations of your puppy.