New Puppy Training Secrets

New puppy training should start immediately before bad habits have time to develop. A young puppy probably can't do a perfect heel or a 10-minute down-stay, but he must learn basic behaviors that will help them adapt.

Potty Training

Teach your puppy to tolerate his crate by putting him in there with a great bone or hollow bone stuffed with treats.

Keep track of how often your puppy relieves himself and how long he can hold it. Feed him regularly so his schedule is consistent. If he can hold it an hour, take him out and watch him go. If he does, reward him and bring him in for house freedom. Let him play and be in the house for 45 minutes. Take him out again. If he goes, reward and repeat. If not, put him in his crate. Try again in another 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat until he goes.

Don't allow him to roam the house by himself. Keep him in the room with you so that you can stop him if you start to see him go.

Reducing Jumping and Nipping

Ignore your puppy when he is jumping on you. Don't talk to him or push him off of you—this is rewarding to a puppy. Just turn your back and walk away. As soon as he lands on all four feet, bend down to praise and pet him. If he jumps, remove attention. Don't allow any behavior that won't be cute when he's older.

If your puppy nips you, say "ouch" loudly and give him a toy. If he chooses the toy, continue playing. If he bites you again, say "ouch" and storm out of the room. Wait a few minutes and then try again. If he follows you and continues to nip, put him in his crate for some quiet time.

Teach Recall

The best time to teach your puppy to come when you call him is when he is a puppy. Say his name and run away. When he follows you, turn and say "come" and then give lots of treats and praise. Make this very rewarding. Practice when you know he will come but don't say the word when he isn't paying attention until he learns it.

As he gets older, he will start testing his limits, so you will have to practice on leash in new environments to teach a solid recall.

Teach Sit

Puppies can learn right away to sit. Hold a treat directly over your puppy's nose just high enough that he has to look up but not jump and move it slowly back toward his rear. He will drop naturally in the sit. As he does, say "sit" and reward. Don't push his rear, just lure him.

After two or three successful repetitions, use the hand signal but without the treat and reward with a treat from your pocket. This way, you can phase out the treat as he gets better at it.

Use this to make him sit during greetings, before you put his food down and before he walks out the front door. This teaches control.

A new puppy is eager to please and learn, so begin your training right away. This teaches rules and boundaries, which reduce stress in your dog and provide him with a happier life.