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When to Start Training a Puppy: The First 5 Things to Teach Your New Puppy

Laura Day

March 11, 2019

When to Start Training a PuppyIf you’re a first-time puppy owner, you may be lost on where to start and what to do. Crate training, obedience training, toilet training (potty train), and even marathon training to ensure you end up with a well-behaved dog…actually, we are joking about the last one but there is so much to take on board when teaching your pup. After all, no one wants a dog that shows bad behavior. Therefore, here’s a list of the first five things to teach your new puppy to get you started.

Potty training

Oh, potty training a puppy…the bane of my (and my pup’s) existence. Start this as early as you can, my fur-riends, and don’t give up. Let me just say that when it comes to potty training a young pup, you need to remember that it has been taken away from his mom and siblings and he’s quite possibly scared and unsure of himself. When you scold your pup when he does not go where he’s supposed to go, it is both pointless and frightening for him. Whether you are starting your dog on pee pads or getting him used to doing his business outside, you are going to want to start with correction and positive reinforcement. Therefore, when your pup starts to go to the bathroom in a different place than he should simply move them to the correct location. There is no need to scold him. When he does go to the bathroom in the correct location, bring out the balloons, the streamers, the dog-safe peanut butter and carrot cake, because it’s going to be time to celebrate! Once he sees how happy it makes you and what a good job he’s done, you’re going to be well on your way to successful potty training.

Puppy socialization classes

Puppy socialization classesYes, you need to teach your puppy how to be social…with anyone and everyone! It is so important from a young age to adequately socialize your pup, as he is far less likely to develop behavioral problems as an adult. Once your pup has received all of his shots, take him to the dog park or strut him around town. Yappy hour is also a great place to meet others! Get him used to all sorts of different pups and to everyone, from every age group. Before your pup has gotten all of his vaccines, expose him to different people by inviting them over to your house instead as this will teach manners socializing in his own territory. It is so important in these first few formative months, to get him off on the right foot and help him realize that the outside world doesn’t have to be such a scary place!

Mouthing

Along with your puppy’s ultra-cuteness comes his razor-sharp teeth, which can seriously hurt, even when biting an adult. You don’t want a child accidentally getting chomped on too hard by those little daggers! Do not let your pup nip at you, even if it doesn’t hurt too much, or you think it’s cute—it’s best to nip this habit in the bud nowTo discourage this behavior, you should not play fight with your pup, or allow him to playfully nip at you—he will grow up to think that it’s just a fun game. If he does give you a playful nip, you need to make it clear that this behavior hurts and startles you. You have to remember that your puppy did not mean to be aggressive or hurt you, so do not react angrily. However, you should make your displeasure known by exclaiming, “Ow!” and pulling away from the pup. If your pup does it again, move away from him entirely. He will quickly get the point that this is something that you do not like and the last thing he wants is for you to be away from him which will encourage better behavior!

Basic commands

Although your pup is probably a genius, don’t overload him with commands right away when you train your puppy. You need to start with the basics and teaching him “Sit!” is a good place to start. What better way to reinforce some basic puppy commands than with a treat, affection, and lots of enthusiasm? Once he has completely mastered one command, slowly start another. Keep in mind that puppies have short attention spans and just really want to play, so don’t be discouraged if he doesn’t pick up on a basic command right away. Certain commands are also easier for a pup to pick up on than others (such as sitting and giving a paw), so be patient, yet persistent, and he’ll pick it up in no time.

Teach him his name

This may seem like quite an obvious one, but unless we make a conscious effort to, we may not actually be saying our pup’s name that often, or are referring to him by a nickname that you’ve quickly made up. Make a huge effort to say your pup’s name, doing so several times a day, and reward him immediately once you’ve go this attention. This can be either with treats, getting excited, and/or affection. You want your pup to know that when his name is called that you are speaking to him, and also that you require his attention. I personally find myself calling my pup “baby” so many times during the day that I’ve nearly decided to change his name to just that to avoid confusion. There are a ton of reasons why you need your pet to truly know his name, including as a safety precaution if they ever get away from you on a walk.

So, there you have it! Five of the first things for you to teach your new puppy. Of course, there are many other ways such as using a crate, a leash, puppy pads, his favorite toy, and more. If you’re looking for recommendations and training tips for each of the first months of your pup’s life, PupBox offers customized training and advice on what you need to know for the first 12 months of your puppy’s life. Check it out under their “Training” subpage on their website and enjoy your new pup.


Bringing a new family addition into the home is extremely exciting! Becoming a new puppy parent comes with a ton of new joys, challenges and responsibilities. PupBox was created to help new puppy parents like yourself, by providing all of the toys, treats, accessories and training information you need, when you need it. CLICK HERE to learn more about PupBox.


And remember, puppyhood is fast and is gone before you know it. Make sure to savor the time when your pup is young, and take lots of pictures along the way!