1.) Puppy proof your home and prepare your puppy’s space before hand. Remember that puppies explore with their mouths so electrical cords and novelties basically anything that could be dangerous or that is precious to you should be moved out of your new puppy’s reach.

2.) When bringing your puppy home try to keep it as low key as possible. We know everyone is going to be excited and visitors will want to come play, but please allow your puppy time to get his or her bearings. We don’t want to overwhelm and stress them more than they already are. Remember, they just left their entire world behind and as much as you love them, it’s going to take some time for them to develop a level of trust with you. Don’t ruin your bond before it’s begun.

3.) Place your puppy’s crate in your bedroom. They need to know someone familiar is there and it helps to keep their stress and anxiety to a minimum. Being close by also allows you to get them out for potty time as quickly as possible. If you don’t want your puppy to sleep in your room, at least plan to sleep near them for the first few weeks to help ease the transition. They are a part of the family after all, right?

4.) Stick to a routine. Feeding, playing, crate, and potty times should be on a schedule. Routine is very important for establishing a code that your puppy can understand. Following it will make all the difference when it comes to how quickly your puppy is house and crate trained.

5.) The first 16 weeks of your puppy’s life are the most formative. They will never learn as much in as short a time as then so take advantage! Don’t wait until they are 4-6 months old to begin formal training. Just like us, puppies learn better when they’re having fun so make training a game. Work in short sessions, 2-3 minutes at a time, and have a sense of humor. Remember to be proactive rather than reactive. If a behavior, like jumping up or counter surfing, doesn’t have a chance to begin you won’t have to worry about correcting it later!

6.) Puppy biting can be a frustrating phase but there are things you can do to make it easier and less painful! Give your puppy appropriate chew toys and limit their play area to not include furniture or other items they shouldn’t have in their mouth. If your puppy bites you, don’t squeal or make a loud noise. Many times this just serves to goad them into bit- ing more. No reaction is the best reaction. If they bite, redirect them with a toy. If the biting continues, playtime is over and you leave. Removing yourself from the situation and/or giving your puppy some time to recompose his or herself in their crate is sometimes necessary to get the message across. Fun time ends when I bite my human!

7.) Don’t rush the walk! It’s important to build your puppy’s trust and focus in non-distracting and familiar areas before taking them out in public or for walks in the neighborhood. While some physical exercise is definitely necessary, you can actually do more harm than good mentally and physically by taking your pup out before they are ready.

8.) Beware of dog parks and doggie daycare. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean your puppy should! Depending on their individual personality, your puppy may not enjoy these social situations. You are also putting them at risk for illness from unvaccinated or sick dogs.

9.) The two biggest reasons people fail at potty training their puppy are giving puppy too much freedom and lack of consistency! The ease of which your puppy learns the house rules and how quickly he gets it is 90% on YOU. Your diligence or lack of plays a huge role in overall potty training success.

10.) Always remember to temper your expectations: your puppy has only been in our world for 6-8 weeks, and the greater portion of that has been spent with his or her littermates and mom. This is all new to your puppy. It can be an overwhelming experience if we don’t prepare them well. Give them, and yourself, time and grace. Allow them to be who they are. Our dogs mirror our own mental state so if you are anxious or frustrated, your puppy will learn to be the same. Don’t rush. Focus on the relationship. And your puppy will grow up to be the dog you envisioned when you first decided to bring a puppy into your life.