So you got a new puppy. Now what?

Black lab puppy sitting

Recently welcomed a furry bundle of joy into your home? It’s all fun and games from here.A photo by André Spieker.

Well, it can be, anyway, as long as you train your puppy right. Here are five simple rules for training your new pup at home:

Command, reward, repeat.

When it comes to training a puppy, quantity beats quality hands down.

Their attention spans are short and everything’s a game. Instead of lecturing your pup for 30 minutes on the finer points of the “stay” command, try taking the training in 5-minute chunks. Your fur baby will be less apt to get confused, and you’ll both be less frustrated at the end of it.

Positivity rules.

Don’t mind what the BBC says about grumpy people being more successful. Proper puppy training is all about positive association. Whacking your puppy on the nose is never a good idea–neither you nor your pooch will feel better afterward. When your puppy responds appropriately to a command, praise her and pet her.

House-training? Be patient.

A puppy can generally “hold it” for about an hour per month of age. So a three-month-old pup should be good for about three hours. But of course, you should be taking him outside much more often than that. And when you do, and he goes, but sure to praise and reward him. And make sure you lavish the praise outdoors so he gets the connection. It may take a while, but eventually he’ll figure out what you want him to do.


photo-1424709746721-b8fd0ff52499Don’t worry; you needn’t be an extrovert for this one. But you do need to teach your puppy to be at home in social situations, and that means getting her in front of other dogs and people—overnight boarding and doggy daycare can be a great place for socializing! According to the American Kennel Club, from 7 weeks to 4 months of age, puppies go through a socialization period that permanently shapes their future personality and how they will react to things in their environment as an adult. The key is to put your puppy into a number of different situations and among a variety of people and other dogs. Over time, this process delivers a well-adjusted pup who isn’t afraid or aggressive in unfamiliar situations.

What if you don’t already have a puppy but you really, really want one? There are typically a few puppies waiting to be adopted in Bellingham and Whatcom County! Take a look and see if one might be the right fit for you/your family. Your new furry friend will be glad you read this article to help preparing for bringing a new puppy home.