Puppy Care and Training

Bringing a new puppy home can be an exciting and challenging experience. New owners have many questions about puppy care and training. The following are care and training tips to make your puppy's transition to your home and easier one.

Preparing for the Puppy

There are many ways to prepare your home before you bring your puppy home. Puppy's love to explore and love to put things in their mouths. Remove any items that could be poisonous to your puppy. Household cleaners, pesticides, automotive fluids and fertilizers should be kept up high and out of your puppy's reach.

Many plants can also be harmful to dogs. Many common plants can be fatal to canines including daffodils, geraniums, tomato plants and tiger lilies. For a complete list of harmful plants, consult your veterinarian.

It is important to take the point of view of your puppy. Look for items that could be easily reached such as electric cords, items that could pose a choking hazard (buttons, children's toys, plastic bags), and any type of string or ribbon (this includes cords on household blinds) that could cause strangulation.

It is important to do all of your puppy shopping in advance. Puppy basics include the following:

  • Food and water bowls
  • Well-fitting collar and leash
  • Brush or comb for grooming
  • Shampoo formulated for a puppy's sensitive skin
  • Safe toys
  • Bed
  • Crate

A puppy safe cleaning product for housebreaking (Nature's Miracle and Simple Green odor and stain removal products are safe for pets) Puppies take time to become comfortable in a new surrounding. Children can be especially excitable which can be frightening to a puppy. Slowly introduce your puppy to members of your family and provide him or her with plenty of quiet time to explore.

Crate Training

If you are going to be away from your puppy for long periods during the day, a crate is a great option. A crate will not only keep your puppy safe and out of trouble, the smaller space is comforting and provides a sense of security.

Purchase a crate for the size your dog will be as an adult. This will prevent you from purchasing multiple crates as your puppy grows. Many crates have a feature that allows you to section off unused space so the size is suitable for your puppy.

Training your puppy to be comfortable in a crate will take time. Putting an item of clothing you have worn recently in the crate can help soothe a puppy with scent. Many puppies are comforted by a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel or a softly ticking timer, both of which remind puppies of their mother and litter-mates. It is important not to go to the puppy whenever he is whimpering. Dogs are intelligent animals and will quickly learn that when they whimper, you come running. Remember, some puppies will adapt to a crate faster than others. Be patient with your puppy and, with time, they will enjoy the shelter a crate provides.


Just like babies, puppies love to put everything in their mouths, including you. A puppy's sharp teeth can cut skin and cause concern for owners with small children. A loud squeal can deter a puppy from biting. If your puppy continues to mouth, end the playtime and walk away. Your puppy will learn that mouthing is a negative behavior that results in less attention from you.

Clicker Training

Clicker training is an effective way to teach your puppy basics such as "sit" and "stay", as well as fun tricks like "roll over" and "shake." Ask your puppy to do the desired trick (you may need to show him how the first few times). When they do as you ask, click and give a treat. Repeat until the puppy is able to do the trick without a reward.

Bringing home a new puppy can be both a challenging and wonderful experience. Being well informed, prepared, patient and consistent will translate to an easier transition for both you and your dog.