Puppy Training Tips for the First Week

Puppies can begin training as soon as they enter your home, and these puppy training tips should help you get started. Young puppies can't grasp every command that an older dog can, but they should start to learn some basics.

Keep It Simple with a Puppy

Puppies can learn some basic commands, but they don't have the capacity to practice for long periods of time. Thus, if your puppy starts to lose concentration, move on to another command or give him a break. The typical training session for a puppy shouldn't last longer than one or two minutes.

During these sessions, keep your puppy on leash. This will keep him from wandering off. In fact, during the first few weeks, you should keep a short, thin leash on your dog at all times. This will help you keep an eye on him for potty training and chewing training.

Keep It Positive

Puppies don't respond well to punishment. It can make them fearful, and they often don't make the connection you want them to make. Thus, they just learn that you're a temperamental, unpredictable leader, to which dogs don't respond well.

Instead, use praise, toys and treats to reward your dog for doing the right thing. Your puppy is trying to please you, so give him clear signals how to do so. This will create a relationship based on respect and trust rather than fear.

Puppy Crate Training

Begin crate training your puppy on the very first day, especially if you want him to sleep in his crate rather than in your bed. If you start by letting him in the bed for the first few days, he won't understand why the rules change.

However, even if you want him sleeping in your bedroom, a crate is crucial for proper potty training and other types of training, so it's good to prepare your puppy to spend some time alone in his crate. This will help him develop some independence as well so he's less likely to develop separation anxiety.

To get him accustomed to his crate, feed him his first few meals in there. Toss treats in it, so he can run in and run out. Get a yummy bone and toss it inside. Close the door with the bone on the inside and the puppy on the outside. Don't let your puppy in until he is whining to get into the crate. Then, close the door while he's inside chewing on it.

Start Potty Training

Don't allow your puppy to make an accident in the house, and he will never learn that's an option. To do this, start leading your dog outside every hour, after meals, after naptimes and after playtimes. When he relieves himself outside, praise him and give him a treat.

If you see him sniffing in the house, run him outside. The leash will come in handy here because it's important that he learn to run to the door you want him to run out of rather than wait for you to carry him.

Avoid Puppy Training Common Errors

In the first week, begin to teach your puppy not to jump on you or nip you as soon as you bring him home. Don't allow him to do anything you won't think is cute when he's 100 pounds.

Ignore all jumping. Don't yell at him, look at him or push him off. He may think you're playing. Instead, turn your back and walk away. When he lands on all four feet, give him attention.

For nipping, yell "ouch" and storm out of the room each time he nips. This will teach him that teeth on humans are never allowed.

Once he learns these basic rules, he will be ready to learn basic commands. But start him off easy in his first week.