The excitement of choosing your dog is over, and you’ve just gotten home with your new puppy. As you look at their cute little face, you ask yourself one question, “Am I ready for this?”
Yes, you are! So let’s get you started with some dog training basics.
What and When to Feed Your Puppy
You will have to decide what your puppy will eat. Do some research and try to choose food that will provide your growing puppy with a high-quality diet. As you research different food options, first decide if you’re going to use wet or dry dog food.
Wet or Canned Food
Some dog owners prefer wet or canned dog food because it seems more like real food. It retains about 70-80% of the water that is naturally in vegetables and meat. As a result, your puppy may drink less water. If you decide to go with wet dog food, be sure to supplement your puppy’s diet with some hard dog biscuits (suitable for puppies) to help keep their teeth clean.
The more popular dog food choice seems to be dry dog food. Again, try to go with a high-quality option that fits within your personal budget. Most dry dog foods contain a scientific blend of all the nutrients your puppy will need. Try to choose a dry food that doesn’t have many fillers and includes plenty of protein for your growing puppy.
Making the Switch
When you first bring your puppy home, it’s helpful to give them the same food that they’ve been eating for the past few weeks. After a few days, slowly start to mix in the new food choice. Use more of the new food at each meal until your puppy eats a meal with 100% of the new food.
Mealtime is an important element in the basics of dog training. Do not leave food out in your puppy’s bowl all day. Instead, only put food out at a set mealtime and take it away after mealtime is over. Stick to this schedule, and your puppy will learn that food is only available at certain times of the day.
Training your puppy to sleep through the need is easier when you use a dog crate. Get your puppy started sleeping in the crate from the first night. Eventually, they will begin to treat their crate as a safe place to stay. Make sure that the bottom of the crate is soft. You can use a blanket for your puppy to curl up in.
Once it’s time for bed, prepare yourself for the process of sleep training (and quite a few nights of interrupted sleep). Expect to be woken up throughout the night by puppy sounds. Remember, your puppy is used to sleeping with their mom and siblings, so this will be quite a change. Some people have success in helping their puppy get to sleep by adding a hot water bottle under the blanket or leaving a radio or TV on for a while.
Playtime with Your Puppy
You will soon realize that your puppy is not just entertaining you, but they also need to be entertained. Put together a selection of safe toys for your puppy to play with, such as:
- Chew Ropes
- Balls and Bones of Nylon
- Soft Toys
Be careful of squeaky toys; there is a strong likelihood that your puppy will chew through the toy. This means that they could swallow the squeaker. When playing with rubber balls, make sure you’re supervising playtime as any swallowed rubber can upset their stomach.
Crate Training Basics
A crate is a useful training tool, both for house training and puppy behavior in general. This training tool will give you some control and get you started on dog training basics.
Treat your puppy’s dog crate as you would a child’s bedroom. It is a safe, comfortable place for your puppy to sleep. But occasionally, you might need to use the crate to discipline your puppy.
Put your puppy in the crate anytime you will leave them unsupervised in the house and at night. This gets them used to it, and it will become like a den. Your puppy will probably cry at first, but do not let them out when this happens. If you do, your puppy will quickly learn that all they have to do is whine, and you will let them out.
Disciplining Your Puppy
There will come a time when you need to discipline your puppy. Never hit your puppy or raise your voice. Instead, use the crate as a place to take a time-out. Ensure that the discipline immediately follows the bad behavior, or they will not know what they are in time-out for.
For example, if you catch your puppy chewing on the furniture, put them in the crate quickly with a firm “no,” and leave them there for a few minutes. If your puppy continues the same bad behavior, then increase your puppy’s time in the crate until the behavior stops.