Happy hump day friends! In the comments on Monday, Tracy asked me for tips on a new puppy since she just got an 8 week old pup. After typing out a long email (sorry girl!) I thought I’d compile my tips into a blog post as well. In an attempt to keep it short, I’m using bullet points and have it sorted based on categories. If you get a puppy or are thinking about it I hope these tips can help you out!
Before we jump in though, please keep in mind that I’m not an animal expert. This is just from the experience we’ve had with Bailey so far. When we picked her up, she was 14 weeks and is just shy of 6 months. Technically she’s still a puppy but we’ve gotten past some major hurdles that happen when puppies are really young.
- Make them go outside from the start. Dogs get used to the texture in a place they pee so if you use potty training pads, then your puppy may have a hard time going outside.
- Give LOTS of praise and a treat when they go outside. Alex and I have had success with Crazy Dog brand of treats and there’s a few flavors.
- If they go inside, yell “NO” and clap to startle the puppy before bringing them outside immediately.
- To clean up accidents, I find stains don’t occur if you blot them with a rag (if on carpet), spray Resolve pet stain remover and after sitting for a few minutes blot with a rag to remove the scent and any residual liquid. For tile or wood, wiping up the pee is sufficient.
- Due to space constrictions, Bailey has always slept near us in the bedroom in her crate. We always leave one toy with her at night just in case she wakes up. Aside from waking us up the first night to go to the bathroom, she never cried at night which was just dumb luck for us.
- Train them to go into the crate as their safe space. Never put them in the crate as punishment as they will associate the crate with something bad.
- Use treats to get the puppy walking into the crate on their own from the beginning. We tell Bailey to go to bed and would put a treat in there until she learned what “go to bed” meant and doesn’t need a treat.
- The first few times Alex worked from home, he put her in the crate to make calls so he didn’t have to worry about accidents. Bailey would whine a bit and try to get his attention. Instead of giving in and letting her out, we let her cry it out and would occasionally “go to the bathroom” so she would see that we were there but she had to get used to being in bed.
- Give them time to adjust! It’s a new home, new people and new schedule to learn. Don’t start training right away. Except for going to the bathroom. Definitely start right away with that.
- Instead of long sessions daily, Bailey responded best to short intervals (5-10) minutes that we would do twice a day every 3 times a week. Alex read multiple articles as well as Youtube videos that included studies to show how dogs respond best to this.
- Start with the basics! Sit, stay and lie down are great commands to know.
- When the command is followed give praise and a treat so the puppy knows that it’s a good thing. Positive reinforcement is the name of the game!
- Use hand signals for the commands. Alex and I had a lot of success with this. Determine what hand signals will be for which command and stick with it. The hand signals helped her listen to my family giving commands when we visited them.
- When you leave, give your dog some toys to keep in their crate. We give Bailey 2 toys when we go to work. Sometimes I will give her 3 when I go for runs in the afternoon if I feel particularly guilty about leaving her again haha.
- Determine ahead of time if you want to dog to be on your furniture. For example, we don’t have an expensive couch or anything right now nor do we feel attached to it. We know that in a few years, we’ll be buying a nicer one which we don’t want Bailey to ruin so she isn’t allowed on the couch unless once of us has a weak moment and picks her up.
- Be consistent! We feed Bailey first thing in the morning and at 4 pm. After a week or so, she figured out to expect food then since her body had become accustomed. Even when we were traveling to my parents for Memorial Day her schedule was the same.
If you’re getting a puppy and want more in depth tips or to know more about our experience, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Question of the day: If you have a dog, what’s one of your best tips for a puppy?