Sure, all new puppy parents need lots of supplies like toys, cushy beds, puppy chow, and food and water bowls, but today, we’re going to prepare you for dog parenthood with one of the most valuable things on the market: knowledge! Here are some of our top tips for new puppy parents.
Start housebreaking your puppy right away
- Ensure to establish a solid, rarely changing potty break routine (for more tips on this, check out our article on potty training) so that they know what to expect when they want to go and when they can expect to use the potty.
- Always reward good potty break behavior!
- It’s NEVER right to reinforce good behavior with fear. It’ll make them less likely to do what you want them to do because they associate the action with feeling scared and anxious.
Crate days are here to stay
The ancient ancestors of the domesticated dog were den animals and your puppy is no different. Here are some tips on crate training:
- Don’t use the crate as a punishment- your puppy will come to associate it with getting yelled at or scolded.
- Crate your pup between meal times and potty breaks until you are confident that they won’t gnaw on the baseboard, mess in the house, or lunge for your favorite pair of bedroom slippers while you aren’t around to keep a close eye on them.
- Never leave a puppy younger than six months in the crate for longer than 3-4 hours at a time. They have tiny bladders, so they can’t hold it too well yet. Keep track of the amount of time they spend in their crate to avoid accidents.
- Make sure that your dog isn’t in their crate 24/7 because it isn't healthy for them mentally or physically. Dogs are pack animals, which means they’re social creatures that need companionship! They also need exercise, so make sure you’re spending time with them and getting them out for fresh air- even if it’s not time for a scheduled potty break.
Scheduled meal times are the way to go
- Make sure not to leave the food and water bowls full throughout the day.
- If you live where it’s dry and are worried about your puppy getting dehydrated, just keep in mind that you will have to take them for more frequent potty breaks.
- Leaving water out overnight or while you’re at work or school can be a risk because it means that your puppy may not be able to hold it until you’re able to get them outside. We recommend investing in Bark Potty so that your pup can potty and not destroy your floors in the process.
- Walk your pup right after you feed them as a part of that routine we discussed previously.
It’s teething time
To protect your curtains, shoes, and the legs of all dining room or bar top furniture from tiny, sharp teeth, buy a boatload of sturdy toys to distract your teething puppy for hours.
- It’s a good idea to establish what should be chewed and what should not. Keep an eye on your puppy at all times and put a toy in their mouth when you see them chewing on something they shouldn’t. This is a great training moment and you have to stay on top of it to help them form good, healthy habits.
Everything’s a puppy party if you use your imagination!
Socializing is hard when you’re supposed to be social-distancing, but it’s still a great idea to get your puppy used to many different people and animals. They will be much friendlier when you have guests over and they won’t try to lunge for other people’s pets when you’re walking them!
- Try bringing your puppy to a relative or friend’s house for a playdate (if they’re okay with it, that is).
- After your puppy passes 16 weeks, you can take them to dog parks- just make sure you keep your distance from other puppy parents!
- Taking your pup on walks isn’t only good for exercise, fresh air, and potty breaks. It’s an opportunity for them to see new people and animals, smell new things, and get used to the world around them.
- If your puppy responds well to car rides and Facetime, make sure to utilize them, too.
Patience is a Virtue and so is persistence.
Be patient with your puppy. They’re babies and they’re going to make (lots of) mistakes (and sometimes, these mistakes will frustrate you), but their behavior isn't going to improve until you invest the time and energy needed to train them properly.
- Using a firm voice when correcting bad behavior is great!
- Don’t yell at or physically harm your furbaby. Seriously, don’t.
- Reward good behavior with treats or your pup’s favorite activity.
- Stop what you’re doing if you think you’re about to explode, and take five deep breaths- in through the nose, out through the mouth.
- Stay the course. Even if you’re tired of repeating yourself or correcting the same bad behavior, you need to keep on it. If you give your puppy an inch, they could start to form bad habits.