Congratulations! You’ve brought home a new puppy. Now that a puppy is part of your life, it’s important to begin training them as soon as possible.

While you can hire a professional dog trainer, you can also choose to train your puppy yourself. The puppy training process can indeed be overwhelming at times. But with plenty of patience and hard work, there is so much that you can successfully teach your puppy on your own.

If you decide to train your puppy yourself, here are some tips to help guide you through the process. By following these suggestions and staying committed to your puppy’s training, your new pet will become a happy and healthy addition to your home.

1. Start by giving your puppy a name.

Giving your puppy a name will help you get the training process started. Try to choose a short name – only one or two syllables. Selecting a short name for your puppy will help establish clear communication and make it easier for your pet to understand your commands.

Puppies are incredibly adaptable and learn quickly. Begin by working on teaching your puppy to come when you call their name. If you continuously call their name, they will begin to respond to it. Always keep these interactions positive. You want your puppy to think of something positive when he hears his name, just like he thinks of food and his favorite toys.

2. Establish house rules.

Once you bring your puppy home, establish some house rules. These rules will create boundaries for your puppy, as well as for yourself. Decide on rules such as where she can go in the house. Is it okay for her to be on the couch and other pieces of furniture? Will she sleep with you in your bed or in a crate? When you go outside, where is it okay for her to go potty?

Once you’ve established these house rules, stick to them. No matter how tempted you are to snuggle with your puppy on the couch, if this is against the rules, then don’t do it. Being consistent avoids confusion between you and your dog, and she will quickly settle into her new home.

3. House-train your puppy.

House-training your puppy can be a long, frustrating experience. But it doesn’t have to be. By making an effort to begin house-training on a positive note, you are setting your puppy up for success.

Start by creating a regular schedule so that you take your puppy outside at the same times throughout the day. For example, create a schedule so that you’re feeding your dog at the same time each day. And then, take him outside after every meal. You can also time your potty breaks to coincide with nap times. Every time your puppy wakes up from a nap, go out for a potty break.

Remember to keep the house-training process positive. Never punish your puppy if he has an accident in the house. Instead, focus on rewarding your puppy when he gives you the desired results. Shower your puppy with praise and give him a treat every time he relieves himself in the proper place outside.

4. Get to know your puppy’s body language.

As much as you want to understand what your puppy is thinking and feeling, she won’t be able to tell you if something is wrong. However, it is possible that she can communicate with you using her body language.

Getting to know your puppy’s body language will help you as you train her. Focus on a few important aspects of her body, such as her ears, eyes, tail, and mouth. Puppies also communicate many things through their whines, barks, and growls, so it is important to learn their unique sounds.

5. Take the time to socialize your puppy.

Socialization training is essential in puppies; it will teach your puppy how to behave in different situations, as well as around a variety of people and animals. When puppies are young, they feel more comfortable with new experiences and socializing. So it’s best to start socializing your puppy from an early age and gradually introduce him to new and unfamiliar situations.

At a young age, the more places puppies visit, the more he will socialize. Puppies should be exposed to different sights, smells, sounds, and different surfaces. Take him with you to the pet store, parks, and around playgrounds so he can gain familiarity in a variety of environments.

6. Teach basic commands.

When you’re ready to introduce commands, start with the basics like “come,” “sit,” “stay,” “leave it,” and “off.” Have plenty of treats available to reward your puppy when she follows your commands correctly.

7. Give your puppy their own private space.

It might sound silly, but your puppy needs a private space where he can relax. Create an area that’s just for him and keep it separate from other pets (and humans) in the home. This private space can be a dog crate, dog bed, or a special blanket.

8. Be patient.

Be patient while training your puppy. It will take time to learn the basic commands and house rules. Stay positive, and don’t rush the process. Getting impatient certainly won’t help you train your puppy and can end up negatively affecting your relationship.

9. Prevent behavior problems.

When you start training a puppy, your puppy will not only learn the things you want to teach them, but she will also learn some things you don’t want her to know. Be proactive and teach her good behaviors before she can start learning bad ones. Start off on the right foot and train her with positive reinforcement.

To help prevent unwanted behavior problems, hold off on leaving your puppy home alone until she is ready. If she’s not yet house-trained or following the house rules, she will likely present an inappropriate behavior.

10. Always end training sessions on a positive note.

Whenever your puppy follows your commands, give plenty of praise and compliments like, “Good boy!” “Good girl!” and “Good job!” At the end of every training session, give your puppy treats, plenty of head scratches and pets, and five to ten minutes of free playtime. These small rewards will stimulate your puppy to show up for your next training session, eager to please you and ready to learn.

You’ll enjoy all the happiness a puppy brings to your life when you take the time to train them properly, so start training your puppy right away.