How to Live with Your Puppy or New Dog
We recommend crate training for all puppies and new dogs. Each dog should have his own crate. The crate should be used for sleeping, feeding, and for times when you can’t give your dog 100% of your attention.
Start crate training for short periods at first, and extend the time gradually to build duration in the crate. Even when he’s used to it, never leave your dog in his crate for more than 8 hours.
When your puppy or new dog isn’t in his crate, keep him on a leash. This allows him to get used to his leash, while you micro-manage his behavior in the house and elsewhere.
The crate is a great tool to aide in potty training. Place the crate close to the door, so your dog has only a short distance to go relieve himself.
Take your dog out to pee the minute he wakes up and right before being crated at night.
Don’t correct or punish your dog for peeing in the house if he isn’t housebroken and hasn’t proven he can be trusted. If your dog pees all over the house, it’s your fault!
If you want your dog to relieve himself in a certain place, take him to that place every single day on a leash.
Make sure to remove your dog’s drinking water at 6pm. Take him out to pee before bedtime, so he doesn’t go to sleep with a full bladder.
Feed your dogs separately. This practice helps prevent food aggression and gives a slower dog a chance to eat in peace.
Care and Maintenance
Brush your dog often. Grooming will help strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Clean crates and kennels every single day to reduce the fly population, to keep the area (and your dog) smelling fresh and to help prevent disease.
Wash bowls daily with hot soapy water. Clean all bowls, crates and kennels once a week with a 10% bleach solution to keep them sanitary.
In the Home
Keep your dog off beds and couches. If you treat your dog like a human, he’ll treat you like a dog. Dogs need to know there are boundaries.
When your dog is inside your home, have a ‘place command” like a dog bed or crate for him to go as a default.
In the Yard
Keep young dogs in an outdoor kennel if you want to keep your yard intact. Young dogs, especially puppies and under-stimulated dogs, get bored easily and can be destructive.
Dogs need a lot of exercise. Unless your dog is one of the lazy breeds, he needs about an hour of exercise every day, in addition to training.
Once your young dog has been fully-vaccinated, take him to as many places as possible to desensitize him to new environments. Limiting your dog’s exposure will increase his chances of developing fear-driven behaviors.
Always crate your dog in the car. It will help keep the interior clean and your dog safe.
Keep all training supplies in a specific bag so you’ll always have what you need, when you need it.
Training should be done every day. Repetition is the key to maintaining obedience and positive behaviors. If you’ve been slacking, it will show.
Get your dog used to loud noises and odd-looking items by walking over to them. This will make them seem unimportant.
The best correction for most young puppies is a very sharp “no” when the behavior isn’t appropriate.
Don’t allow a young dog to jump up to greet or hug you. This will encourage jumping behavior that will upset others who may be afraid of dogs, or aren’t so fond of them.
When introducing your dog to a new behavior, keep distractions to a minimum so your dog can focus on that particular behavior.
When teaching a new command, reinforce that command by praising your dog often when he obeys, like “good sit” and “good down”.
Say commands only once, so your dog won’t get desensitized to hearing it repeatedly and decide to ignore you.
Correct behaviors with a “correction reprimand”, not a “positive behavior command”. This keeps each communication black and white, with no misunderstandings.
Catching a dog immediately after an infraction (1-3 seconds) is the best time to correct that behavior.
Always be fair and very consistent when correcting bad behavior.
Petting your dog during a bad behavior will reinforce that behavior, so don’t do it.
If you allow your dog to continue his bad behaviors, you’ll encourage him to test your leadership.
Don’t expect your dog to be able to behave off-leash before you master on-leash obedience. Off-leash, your young dog has the opportunity to run off and ignore your commands, so keep him leashed.