New Puppy



This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Mikkie Mills



Choosing to invite a dog into your home will prove to be one of the best decisions of your life. They bring an unforgettable sense of warmth, love, and energy that will leave an imprint on your heart. All dogs will need help acclimating to a new home. However, puppies are completely new to this world. Smells, sights, and sounds that adult dogs already know are completely foreign to your new puppy. Life with him or her will go smoothly with a bit of intentional training.

When Should Training Start?

In most cases, breeders will not send puppies to their new homes before they reach 6 to 8 weeks of age. Around the seventh week of life, puppy brains become sponges for what they learn about the outside world. For the next 7 to 9 weeks, your puppy will begin his or her exploratory phase of life. During this period, dogs have enough curiosity and confidence to investigate the world around them. The things they are learning during this period will directly impact how they interact with the world in their adult lives. Take advantage of this short window of time by including daily training sessions in your routine.

Do I Have to Wait Until My Puppy is Fully Vaccinated?

Puppies should be kept away from other dogs until they have been fully vaccinated. However, it is perfectly safe to help them explore the world from the confines of your home.

Teaching your puppy to sit only requires a bit of time and a few treats. Hold a treat in your hand, and slowly raise your hand over your puppy’s head. With your hand in position, calmly say the word, “sit”. In an attempt to keep the treat in sight, your puppy will sit. Reward him or her with the treat, and repeat the process throughout the day. Your puppy will positively associate the word with the body position.

Young puppies can be taught to walk on a leash indoors. Attach a leash to his or her collar, and offer him or her a treat. Since your puppy loves treats, this will help create an association with feeling good and the leash. Over time, he or she will be able to walk around the house as if there were no leash at all. Eventually, you can use the same technique to practice leash walking down the hallway.

Your home is also a perfect place to get your puppy used to meeting different people. Invite your friends over, and have each person offer your puppy a treat and words of praise. Have each person repeat the process in 5-minute increments. This exercise helps him or her to associate other people with goodness. Likewise, it helps a potentially territorial puppy understand how to behave with house guests.

What About Outdoor Training?

Once your puppy receives his or her last round of shots, it is time to explore the outside world. This marks the beginning of outdoor potty training.

Dogs do not naturally desire to eliminate indoors, but paper-training has helped your puppy to build a routine- and a stronger bladder. Additionally, you should have some idea of how long after eating and drinking it takes for your puppy to take a potty break. Begin taking him or her to a grassy area before the next one. As you guide your puppy toward the grassy, verbally instruct him or her to go potty. Continue to repeat the phrase until he or she goes to the bathroom. When your puppy finally goes to the bathroom, verbally praise him or her.

Some puppy parents have found it helpful to take their puppies back to the same spot until they consistently go outdoors. However, repeated exposure to dog urine has a tendency to wreak havoc on an otherwise gorgeous lawn. If this is your concern, then simply add a quick spot-rinsing to your lawn care routine.

Bringing your puppy home marks the beginning of an amazing adventure of life and love. Help your puppy love this world and your home by teaching him or her the rules of your house. Likewise, be proactive when it comes to introducing him or her to new people and experiences. In the end, you will both be better for it.

Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.