Take a break from those cute puppy cuddles to make sure your new pooch learns these essential life skills.
Train your puppy to use a crate
Crate training your puppy is an excellent way to help them settle into your home and get them on a schedule. Once your puppy adjusts to its new schedule, he will learn to anticipate bathroom breaks and bedtime, making your life a lot easier. Diana Lipari, who breeds and shows beagles with the American Kennel Club, had these wise words for first time pet owners: “A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that once the dog is six months to a year they can let them roam freely. If they’re home by themselves they may get bored, they want something to do, and that means ripping up your sofa. So it’s always good to train puppies to love their crates. One way to do that is to give them treats every time they go in their crates and feed them from their crates. They’ll learn to love their crates and then you can leave them in the crates when you go out, as long as it’s not a really long time.”
Train your puppy the bathroom rules
All of the American Kennel Club experts we talked to named house-training as one of the top things to train your puppy once you bring them home. Karen Wagner, a German Shepherd Dog breeder, recommends teaching your puppy “the house rules” as soon as you get her. Be very firm; if your dog doesn’t learn these rules as a puppy, she probably won’t follow them as an adult. Crate training, leash training, and positive reinforcement will go a long way in teaching your puppy to use the bathroom only outside.
Train your puppy to walk on a leash
It may seem obvious, but playful puppies don’t always walk easily on a leash. Practice makes perfect in this case. Training your dog to walk calmly and respectfully on a leash will help you when you socialize them and housebreak them. “If you can’t control your dog on a leash, then you’re not going to go very far,” says Theresa Viesto, a Labrador retriever breeder and handle.
Train your puppy how to socialize
Viesto recommends socializing your puppy as soon as they’re old enough. “Drag them around to pet stores, parks, anywhere dogs are allowed,” she told us. Socializing your puppy when he is young will build his confidence, make him friendlier toward strangers and other dogs, and help him learn to remain calm and respectful outside of your house.
Train your puppy how to sit
Teaching a puppy to sit or lay down may look like a fun trick, but it is actually a very valuable skill. Use the command “sit” to prevent your puppy from jumping on visitors, be respectful during meal times, and as a gateway to teach other useful skills such as “stay” and “come.” Once your adorable puppy grows into a 90-pound dog, you’ll be glad you have this command down.