Skip to main content

Puppy Training Tips for First-Time Puppy Owners

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and author of the online dog training course "Brain Training for Dogs."

Training your puppy can be easier than you think.

Training your puppy can be easier than you think.

Puppy Training: Tips for New Owners

A puppy can be the cutest bundle of joy. They are like sponges ready to absorb and learn all about the world surrounding them. Just like humans, puppies come equipped with plastic brains. No, this doesn't mean that their brains are made out of the same materials as some of their colorful toys are; this plasticity refers to the puppy brain's uncanny ability to be shaped by their experiences.

There is no better time to start training a dog than when it is a puppy. Bypassing this very important phase of a dog's life can cause many future problems (possibly 100 pounds later, if you are dealing with large and giant breed dogs). Knowledge is ultimately power when it comes to training puppies; therefore, the more prepared puppy owners are, the higher the chances they will own a well-behaved and well-mannered dog. Following are some helpful training tips for first-time puppy owners.

Essentials for Training Your Puppy

Here are some important tips for training your puppy.

Don't Miss Out Socialization

Often, many new puppy owners do not realize that in puppies have a special grace period where they must be socialized as much as possible. This small window of opportunity is only open from four weeks old up to 12-14 weeks. This is the perfect time for exposing the puppy to a wide range of people, pets, objects, sounds and textures. Puppy classes are recommended as they will expose the puppy to other dogs and people, while teaching new puppy owners how to master the first leadership techniques.

Training Can Start Today

It may sound odd, but puppies may already learn a lot even if they have very short attention spans. Even an eight-week-old puppy can learn how to sit on command. All that is needed is a treat as a lure. The puppy is shown the treat and the treat is lifted up at the pup's nose level until the puppy is persuaded to sit on its own. Once the bottom is on the floor, the pup is given the treat. After a few attempts, the puppy will realize fairly quickly that every time the bottom touches the floor, the treat is released.

House Training Can Be Easy

House training may be a big ordeal for new puppy owners. Fortunately, most puppies learn fairly quickly if effective training methods are used. One good way to predict when the puppy has to go is to watch him after eating, sleeping and playing. Catching the puppy in the act is key to house training fast. Learn how to recognize the signs of a puppy who needs to go potty and take action quickly to take your puppy out or towards the pee pad.

Keeping your puppy on a feeding schedule versus free-feeding can help the process further. If your puppy is fed at certain times of the day, you can predict when he will need to empty his bowels versus a puppy who randomly has to potty at different times because he is eating throughout the day.

Puppies Will Mouth

Just as babies put all sort of objects in their mouths, puppies are also prone to learning about the world by mouthing. This includes biting hands, shoes, and clothing. While you ma have heard that the best course of action would be to make a big yelp and withdraw, totally ignoring the puppy, this method doesn't always work. Some puppies may get overstimulated and may even bite harder. There are many fun bite inhibition games that you can play with your puppy.

Puppies Will Chew

As puppies grow, the eruption of permanent teeth will begin causing them to chew everything in sight. Favorite objects are shoes, clothing, sticks, and of course, toys. Providing the puppy with as many chew toys as possible is a good outlet for this need to chew. A dog that chews on a shoe should be redirected to a chew toy. It is a good idea to not keep out all the toys all the time, but rather rotate them so they will gain more interest every now and then.

Puppies are a handful, but they are also so adorable and fun to watch. Enjoying puppy-hood is a must as it is relatively a very brief season in a dog's life. Puppies grow very fast and they will mature into great dogs if the owners work hard enough to train their puppies into stable minded, well-mannered dogs.

For Further Reading

  • The importance of Early Socialization in Puppies
    There is a special ''grace period'' during a puppy's development, during which the puppy must be exposed to a large range of people so that th puppy will be able to learn to accept and not fear humans. It is...

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


liz on October 25, 2016:

Typo made me laugh. What's an "ass puppy"? lol

• Puppies will Chew

Ass puppies grow,

lundmusik from Tucson AZ on August 26, 2011:

great article and advice for puppy owners -- could you comment on my article on puppy training?

wooden bird feeders on September 27, 2010:

This is some reliable source to start puppy training. Thanks so much for sharing such information.

Allan Mckenny on September 20, 2010:

So glad to have read some tips for first time pet owner. This would be a grate help for me; so glad to have gone through reading this post.

dog obedience tips on August 25, 2010:

During my first time to raised pet is really hard. I did have terrible time emphasizing every rule most especially the house rule. Glad to read advice in this post.

valeriebelew from Metro Atlanta, GA, USA on March 31, 2010:

I have four dogs, and have trained many puppies. Your advice was very good.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on March 31, 2010:

Excellent, I have raised so many pups, my love for animals is so intoxicating. We have a great way of communicating and I have always raised the kindest and best behaved pets. Great hub, I loved it...and thanks

west40 from Canandaigua, NY on March 31, 2010:

Great hub - our youngest puppy just turned 1 year old last week - she is such a joy (we have 3 golden retrievers).