New Puppy Owner Tips


Getting a new puppy is, by far, one of the most exciting adventures of your life! Although like many great adventures, a true explorer needs the right tools, advice and preparation before they can begin…

In this article, we will provide some top tips for new puppy owners that will make the arrival and/or your early days, weeks & months of your little puppy a tad easier for you.  This will allow you to get right to all the pleasures of having a new puppy, such as cuddles, long forest walks and fun play time, not to mention all the funny moments that your puppy’s individual personality will surely will capture.

1.Don’t listen to everyone…

Even though most people, including family, friends, neighbors & even strangers will want to help you when you get a new puppy, like all things in life, it’s important not to take EVERY piece of advice given to you. Be open, and mindful but trust your instincts & those of a professional canine trainer.

The advice you receive may be limited.

Also, understand that much of the well-intended advice may be coming from pet owners that are basing their advice on maybe 1,2 or 3 types of puppies that they have had experience with. One of the major advantages of seeking guidance from a reputable dog trainer is that they’ve probably seen A LOT more puppies and personalities and should be in a way BETTER position to guide you!

The secret to successfully raising a puppy is to acquire a good game plan, remain consistent, keep expectations inline with your puppy’s age & knowing what to focus on (and what not to) is the best thing new puppy owners can do. You may find our virtual puppy workshop to be beneficial in helping you to exceed your puppy goals.

2. Don’t focus so much on obedience training

Not focusing on obedience training, ironically is one of our most important top tips for new puppy owners. You heard right! 

 Of course, basic obedience training is crucial for a new puppy, but more importantly it’s vital to allow your puppy to express themselves, and allow them to socialize carefully, but freely with other humans & puppies. This helps them overcome some skepticism and can create confidence while building solid friendships and relationships.

More importantly, you have other things on your plate that will require more of your attention in the beginning.  Your immediate efforts should be more focused on:

  1.  Housebreaking (realistic goals & timelines).
  2. puppy proofing the house.
  3. conferring with family members on individual responsibilities
  4. deciding on food, treats &
  5. perhaps beginning your research on some of the most sorted dog trainers Long Island has to offer.

2, a) Take it Slow, do not Become Frustrated with Training Your New Puppy.

Many new puppy owners tend to become frustrated with their puppies when it comes to attempting to train them at a young age.  One of the main factors is expecting too much for their puppy’s age.  Another top tip for new puppy owners is to take it slow

Adding puppy obedience to the equation will go a lot smoother once the puppy acclimates to their new surroundings, gets a bit older & builds a level of trust with their new human friends.  Introducing obedience training prematurely can sometimes negatively influence puppy development by suppressing characteristics (for now).

You have a lot of time to formally train your puppy.  No, we’re not saying that you should wait years.  To give you an idea, Dedicated Dog Training doesn’t begin formal obedience training until puppies reach five (5) months old.

With that being said, there nothing wrong with using food or toys (like in this video) and having them come to you in an informal manner.  The main objective here is not to create a strong come command, but to build a bond.  However, as a result you will be building the come command.

3.Play with your puppy!

Puppies LOVE to play!  This will provide mental & physical stimulation for both your pup & you!  Nowadays, when you go into your local pet store there are aisles of toys that can assist you when you first start to play with your puppy. However, remember that play is all about being interactive…so, don’t be afraid to be silly and play with your canine!

It is NOT So Much About the Type of Toy!

It is not so much about the toy.  It is more about the game that you and your puppy are going to play with that toy.  The toy is only an object for you and your puppy to use to interact.  You can assign value to the toy & game by sharing good competitions with your puppy.  The toy, should in our opinion and experience be used as a conduit to forge a bond. 

Puppies like to play.  Puppies like to be competitive.  Playing the right way helps instill confidence & builds relationships.  It is so important, yet SO overlooked!  It helps maintain focus when your puppy grows older.

4.Don’t say that your puppy has too much energy

All of us were once small children, running around parks and perhaps even climbing up trees. Puppies are no different when it comes to being energetic, so you need to be prepared for a high energy puppy (regardless of their breed) running around! Just make sure to try and give them as much exercise as possible to run off their energy.

Another top tip for new puppy owners is to not focus on how to calm your puppy down.  Instead, direct your energy on how to exhaust theirs.  Flirt poles in our opinion are a good idea for young puppies.  Something as simple as an old t-shirt can also be used to gently play tug.

Hint: Your exercises sessions with your puppy should not only be dedicated to physical, but you MUST also in our experience incorporate mental stimulation to reap the full benefits.

5.Understand that puppy nipping is a normal behavior.

When you have a puppy, it is completely normal to experience a lot of nipping. The best thing to do is, to try and play with them as much as possible. Sometimes, when they nip, they just need some attention. It is their way of interacting & encouraging “PLAY.”  

If you watch young puppies and even older dogs, you will see similar movements by their body position and mouths.  Observe them long enough & most pet owners will deduce that they are trying to encourage play by ebbing & flowing while using their mouths.

Otherwise, avoid hanging or lose clothing and maintain slow movements to not excite them and activate their play and prey drives which will lead to nipping.   keep them calm and to make sure they feel safe!

This is such a big topic that most puppy owners and trainers fail to give the proper attention to.  It can help a lot of puppy owners in areas that you can’t imagine.  If you’d like a more in-depth take, please feel free to learn more about puppy nipping over here!

6.The crate is your friend when used properly

Puppies are remarkably similar to people in some respects; in that they also enjoy having their own space.  Yes, in the beginning, MOST puppies will protest, but for good reason.  They are young, they have just been removed from their family, they have just entered a new environment with new people & let’s really take a look at what we sometimes overlook – they are usually ONLY on this planet for 8 weeks! 

Do really expect things to run smoothly?  So, yes, even with kids, it is our belief that sometimes they need to be forced into doing something before realizing they actually like it!  After the initial days, weeks, usually they acclimate and enjoy their time in their crate.

That’s why, having a crate is a wonderful way to give your puppy some space and allows them to learn when, and where to go to the toilet. As well as this, a crate can also help keep your puppy safe! A crate is a perfect alternative to a “puppy bedroom” that you can get…

There are so many more advantages to crate training that most do not fully understand.  Most puppy owners believe that crates are only for puppy potty training or housebreaking.  To learn more about what many are missing, please visit top 5 reasons to crate train your puppy!

7.Show your puppy today what you expect from them tomorrow.

When you are training a puppy it’s SUPER important to set boundaries, and most importantly, stick to them. It’s easy to fall into the trap that just because they’re a puppy now, you can teach them differently when they are older. For instance, the most common example of this is when new puppy owners say, “Oh, I’ll let my puppy sleep in my bed but when they’re older I’ll get a crate!” …this almost always never works out, and the puppy spends their whole lives sleeping in bed with their owner. There are many reasons that you may not want your puppy to sleep in your bedroom.  Some of the most common are:

  1. The onset of puppy separation anxiety: if you have ever owned a puppy or dog that was diagnosed with separation anxiety, you know what we are talking about here.  If you haven’t then it is probably better that you never actually experience separation anxiety.
  • Aggression: This article is way too short to go into detail with respect to the development of puppy aggression.  We will skip through the ‘WHY’ & ‘HOW’ and go right to what puppy aggression may look like.  Often the result of puppies sleeping in the bedroom with their owner can bring on a possessive/protective aggression.  The puppy may view YOU as a human resource (we know, it sounds strange) that deems of HIGH value and feels obligated to protect what is his or hers.
  • Lack of Confidence: When puppy owners decide that it is a good idea to have their puppies sleep in the bed or stay in the bedroom with them, we believe that they never give a chance for their puppy to build confidence.  Instead they are taught at an early age to defer to you rather than hadndle the small and normal stresses that life presents.  It is much more difficult for them to build confidence when they are older.  This often leads to a very nervous canines that doesn’t know how to handle new things or environmanrtal changes.

Now, you might want your puppy to sleep in your bed but just remember, what you teach them at the beginning really matters and they’ll remember!

8. Baby gates are your new best friend

To avoid the scenario of a surprise puppy sleeping under your duvet at night, you can invest in some baby gates for your house. Baby gates are a PERFECT way to set physical boundaries with your new puppy, and slowly assert house rules.

9. Take your puppy on adventures with you

Just like when you have a new-born baby and people tell you to expose them to lots of sights, smells and sounds, it’s the EXACT same with puppies. They also want to see the world! Even if you have to hold your puppy in your arms and you go to the pet store, make sure to expose them to lots of different stimulus. This will make it easier for them to adapt to different environments and people later on.

10. Celebrate your puppy and have a party!

Why not share your excitement and cute, new puppy with your friends and family? Not only do people love to cuddle a puppy, but this is an amazing opportunity to socialise your puppy and get them used to new faces and people.

11. Rewards

The reward system is especially important for new puppy owners. Make sure to have treats handy so when you see your puppy doing something good, or going to the toilet in the correct spot, be sure to reward them! This will stop them from acting out to get attention…

12. Make sure they have LOTS of toys

BUT, do not make the mistake of just leaving them around. Many puppy owners need to understand that toys are objects used to create a game, an interaction between you & your puppy. They are not the end all. In other words, it is not so much what kind of toy or object that is brought, it is what we do with it. That said, a toy that your puppy is naturally driven to should make it easier to develop meaningful interactions.

13. If they feel anxious, you can leave the TV or radio on

It’s perfectly normal that even with doing everything ‘text’ book right that your puppy can still can feel a bit anxious. A great tip to stop them from getting too worried, is to leave the TV or radio on when you leave the house. The noise may distract them from the quiet and maybe assist in making their isolation a little less scary.

Do not look for a once & done here. With training puppies, one should realize that it takes consistency & perseverance.

14. Practice separation

This is a really hard thing for a new puppy owner, but it’s also crucially important. You should slowly start to introduce separation from a young age to get your puppy used, and comfortable with being away from you. Afterall, you want your puppy to be a strong, independent dog!

15. Have fun and cherish puppyhood together!

Above all, just have fun with your puppy and cherish the small moments. Good luck!

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