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Begin Training Your Puppy Early

The big day is finally here and you bring your puppy home. Now what?

Some veterinarians recommend waiting to train your new pup until he’s about 4 months old and has all his shots. But puppies have a critical socialization period of about 8 to 14 weeks of age where they’re like a sponge, soaking up new information and experiences. It’s something that can’t be replicated when they get older and if they miss socialization during this important period of their lives, they may be wary of new things as they mature.

Some breeders will do very basic training; getting them used to sounds and various objects. Ask what they’ve done to help the pup be confident in its new surroundings. And then continue that once you bring the pup home.

Before enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer, there are some things you can do on your own.

Potty training is one of the main priorities for you and your new friend.

Write down the times when you take the puppy out to potty and if he eliminates so you can come up with a schedule and be proactive abut potty training. That will help prevent accidents in the house and teach him he needs to potty outside.

Get your puppy on a feeding schedule.

Having a feeding schedule-such as 7am, noon, and 6pm-will help you know when the puppy needs to potty. Many new puppies will potty soon after they eat.

Begin crate training.

Puppies are growing and need a lot of rest, just like children. They also get over stimulated and need downtime.

Crate training will give you a rest from your puppy and you might be able to catch a quick nap-especially during the first couple of weeks when you have to take your pup outside in the middle of the night to potty.

It will also help with potty training because dogs don’t like to potty in their crate.

Confine the puppy to one area of the house.

Don’t let your puppy wander all over the house. It will be harder to watch him and easier for him to disappear out of sight andhave an accident. As the puppy grows, he can gain access to more areas of the home.

Touch the puppy all over his body.

Touch his paws, open his mouth, look in his ears, etc. This will get him used to being handled for vet and grooming visits.

Expose the pup to various sights and sounds and a limited amount of people in your home.

While you’re excited at the addition of a new family member and want to show him off, go slow. The puppy has just been taken from his mother and siblings and is getting used to humans. For the first couple of weeks, have limited interactions between the puppy and new people so he can gain confidence in his new environment.

In fact, I tell my clients I wait for at least two weeks after the puppy arrives to begin formal training to get over the “honeymoon period” and so my training doesn’t add more stress to the dog.

But you can take him for car rides so he can hear kids playing at a park, a fire siren, etc.

Puppy training begins early and you can get him started on the right path with these tips. Then when you’re ready to begin formal training, check out our programs at and contact us at (540) 353-2485 or


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