First Things to Teach Your Puppy


Looking to welcome a new furry friend into your home? We’ve got you covered. Our article, “First Things to Teach Your Puppy,” has all the information you need to start off on the right paw with your new arrival. From basic obedience commands to potty training tips, we’ll guide you through the essential first steps of puppy training. No need to worry about the holiday season either – we’ve got a whole article dedicated to surviving the holidays with your dog. Plus, we’ll help you address common behavioral issues like jumping and teach you how to effectively use treats for training. Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or a seasoned pro, our articles provide practical solutions to ensure a harmonious and joyful life with your canine companion.

First Things to Teach Your Puppy

Welcome to the exciting journey of bringing a new puppy into your life! As new puppy parents, it’s important to begin their training early on to set them up for a lifetime of good behavior and a strong bond with their human family. In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the essential things to teach your puppy, covering everything from basic commands to proper leash walking and handling and grooming. So let’s dive right in!

First Things to Teach Your Puppy

Introduction to Basic Commands

The first step in training your puppy is introducing them to basic commands. These commands will not only keep your puppy safe but also establish boundaries and teach them obedience. Here are the key basic commands to focus on:

1.1 Sit

Teaching your puppy to sit on command is a fundamental skill. It helps them learn impulse control and is the building block for other commands like stay and lie down. To teach your puppy to sit, hold a treat close to their nose and raise it above their head while saying the word “sit.” As your puppy follows the treat with their head, their bottom will naturally lower into a sitting position. Once they sit, reward them with the treat and praise.

1.2 Stay

The “stay” command is crucial for keeping your puppy safe in various situations. Start by asking your puppy to sit, and then extend your hand toward them with your palm facing them, while saying “stay.” Take a step back and reward your puppy if they remain in the sitting position. Gradually increase the distance and duration of the stay, adding distractions as your puppy becomes more proficient.

1.3 Lie Down

Similar to teaching sit, the “lie down” command helps your puppy practice impulse control and can be useful when you need them to settle down. Begin by asking your puppy to sit and then hold a treat close to the floor, moving it forward and away from them while saying “lie down.” As your puppy follows the treat, their body will naturally lower into the lying position. Reward them with the treat and praise when they lie down.

1.4 Come

The “come” command is vital for keeping your puppy safe and should be taught early on. Start in a low-distraction environment, call your puppy’s name, followed by the command “come,” and kneel down with open arms. As they approach you, reward them with praise, treats, and lots of love. Make sure to practice this command regularly to reinforce their recall skills.

1.5 Leave It

“Leave it” is a command that can potentially save your puppy from ingesting harmful or unsuitable objects. Begin by placing a treat in your closed fist and presenting your hand to your puppy, saying “leave it.” As they sniff or try to investigate your hand, don’t open it until they stop showing interest. Once they do, reward them with a different treat from your other hand. Practice this command with various objects, gradually increasing the difficulty level.

1.6 Drop It

Teaching your puppy to “drop it” is crucial for their safety, especially when they have something they should not have in their mouth. Start by offering them a durable toy or item that they enjoy. As they grab onto it, show them a tasty treat and say “drop it.” When they release the object, immediately reward them with the treat and praise. Practice this command with different objects to generalize the behavior.

1.7 Heel

“Heel” is a command that teaches your puppy to walk politely by your side without pulling or lunging. Begin by holding a treat in your hand and placing it against your hip, on the side opposite to your puppy. Say “heel,” take a step forward, and reward your puppy for walking beside you. If they start to pull or get too far ahead, stop moving and wait for them to come back to your side before continuing the walk. Consistency is key in teaching this command.

Now that you have a solid understanding of the basic commands, let’s move on to the next essential aspect of puppy training: house training.

First Things to Teach Your Puppy

House Training

House training, also known as potty training, is one of the first and most important lessons you should teach your puppy. The goal of house training is to teach your puppy where and when it is appropriate to eliminate. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and successful house training process:

2.1 Establishing a Routine

Establishing a consistent routine is crucial for house training your puppy. Take them outside to eliminate first thing in the morning, after meals, after playtime, and before bedtime. Use a specific cue word or phrase like “go potty” to associate with the action. Remember to praise and reward them immediately after they eliminate in the designated spot.

2.2 Supervision and Monitoring

Supervision is key during the house training process to prevent accidents. keep a close eye on your puppy throughout the day, especially when they show signs of sniffing or circling, as these are indicators that they need to go out. If you cannot supervise them, confine them to a small, puppy-proofed area with easy access to their designated elimination spot.

2.3 Reward-based Training

Positive reinforcement is essential in house training. When your puppy eliminates in the appropriate spot, shower them with praise, treats, and affection. This positive association will strengthen their understanding of where they should eliminate and motivate them to repeat the desired behavior.

2.4 Dealing with Accidents

Accidents are bound to happen during the house training process. It’s important not to scold or punish your puppy for accidents, as this can create fear or confusion. Instead, clean up the mess thoroughly with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any lingering odor that may attract your puppy back to the same spot. Stay consistent with the routine, supervision, and reward-based training to minimize accidents over time.

2.5 Crate Training as a Tool

Crate training can be a valuable tool during the house training process. A crate provides a safe and den-like space for your puppy, helping them develop bladder and bowel control. Introduce the crate gradually, making it a positive and comfortable place by using treats, bedding, and toys. Do not use the crate as a form of punishment, and never leave your puppy in the crate for extended periods without breaks for elimination and exercise.

Now that your puppy is well on their way to mastering house training, let’s move on to the importance of socialization.

First Things to Teach Your Puppy


Socialization is a crucial aspect of raising a well-rounded and confident puppy. It involves exposing your puppy to various people, dogs, environments, and stimuli to help them become comfortable and adaptable in different situations. Here are the key areas to focus on when socializing your puppy:

3.1 Introduction to Different People

Expose your puppy to people of diverse ages, genders, and appearances. Encourage friendly interactions and reward calm behavior around new individuals. This will help prevent fear or aggression towards strangers and promote a positive association with new faces.

3.2 Exposure to Other Dogs

Arrange controlled and supervised meetings with other well-socialized dogs. Start with calm and friendly dogs and gradually introduce them to more energetic playmates. Ensure that the interactions are positive and monitored to prevent any negative experiences that could lead to fear or aggression.

3.3 Familiarizing with Various Environments

Take your puppy to different environments such as parks, streets, and pet-friendly stores. Gradually expose them to various sounds, smells, and sights, such as passing cars, bicycles, or loud noises. Ensure that these experiences are positive and rewarding, allowing your puppy to build confidence and adaptability.

3.4 Meeting Different Animals

exposing your puppy to different animals such as cats, small animals, or livestock can help them develop appropriate social behaviors and prevent future conflicts. Always supervise these interactions and reward calm and gentle behavior.

3.5 Handling Different Objects

Introduce your puppy to various objects they may encounter in everyday life, such as umbrellas, vacuum cleaners, or bicycles. Encourage them to approach and investigate these objects, rewarding calm and relaxed behavior. This will help your puppy become more confident and adaptable to new and unfamiliar stimuli.

Remember, socialization is an ongoing process. Continually expose your puppy to different stimuli and experiences throughout their development, while ensuring their safety and well-being.

Next, let’s explore the importance of bite inhibition and how to teach your puppy to have a soft mouth.

First Things to Teach Your Puppy

Bite Inhibition

Bite inhibition refers to a dog’s ability to control the force of their bite, using their mouth gently and inhibiting the full strength of their jaws. This skill is essential as it prevents accidental injuries during play or moments of excitement. Here’s how you can teach your puppy bite inhibition:

4.1 Importance of Bite Inhibition

Teaching your puppy bite inhibition is crucial because, as they grow older, their jaws will naturally become stronger. By teaching them to be gentle with their mouths early on, you can prevent serious injuries or incidents in the future.

4.2 Teaching Soft Mouth

Encourage gentle play and reward your puppy for using a soft mouth during interactions. If your puppy bites too hard during play, let out a high-pitched yelp to simulate the response of a littermate. This will help them understand that biting too hard is undesirable. Pause the play session momentarily to give them time to calm down, and then resume play with gentle interactions.

4.3 Discouraging Nipping and Mouthing

Puppies often explore their world through nipping and mouthing, but it’s crucial to discourage this behavior and redirect it appropriately. When your puppy nips or mouths your hand, immediately withdraw your attention, crossing your arms and turning away from them. Resume the interaction only when they have calmed down and are no longer using their mouth inappropriately.

4.4 Consistency and Positive Reinforcement

Consistency is key when teaching bite inhibition. Reinforce desired gentle behavior by offering praise, treats, or engaging in games like tug-of-war with appropriate toys. Avoid rough play that may encourage biting or aggressive behaviors. With time, patience, and consistent gentle interactions, your puppy will learn to have a soft mouth.

Stay tuned for the second part of this article, where we will cover proper leash walking, crate training, name recognition, handling and grooming, food and mealtime manners, and alone time and separation anxiety. We are committed to helping you navigate the challenges and joys of raising a well-behaved and happy puppy!

First Things to Teach Your Puppy

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