Your Puppy's First Year: Training By the Numbers

Teach him to like his crate. Training your puppy to use a crate will make house-training much easier. Crates are also excellent tools for keeping your puppy from chewing inappropriate items and can help him learn to relax when he is separated from people.

Teach him to spend time alone. Puppies need a lot of supervision, but they also need to learn to spend time alone. From an early age, give your puppy short periods of time alone in a crate or gated area to teach him to be comfortable and well behaved when people aren’t around.

Teach him his name. Before you can teach your dog to follow commands, he needs to recognize that you're talking to him. Teaching your puppy his name is important for getting his attention when you want to ask him to do something, such as sitting or coming to you.

Teach him to sit.Learning to sit will help your puppy stay calm in stressful or exciting situations. Teach your dog to sit when he meets new people during his socialization sessions and put a stop to jumping up before it ever starts.

Teach him to walk on a loose leash. Puppies aren't born knowing how to walk politely on a leash. Teach your puppy that pulling on the leash never lets him move forward and you’ll have a dog who walks peacefully at your side.

Teach him to like the vet. Find a veterinarian who is invested in having a “fear-free practice,” one that focuses on lowering your pet's stress level while he's in the office. When your puppy goes in for immunizations, make positive rewards, such as bits of lean deli meat, part of the visit. If possible, take your puppy to the vet's office every so often just for a social visit — and a treat!

Teach him to share. Dogs naturally are inclined to guard cherished items, such as chew toys or food bowls, from potential threats, including people. To counter this instinct, teach your dog that when you come near his food bowl or take chews away from him, he will always get a better treat in return.

Teach him to play nicely. Puppy class is an essential place for socialization with other dogs; canines learn to understand the body language of other dogs and how to play properly with them. You can also organize play dates with other friendly puppies or playful adult dogs in safe areas, taking care to avoid high-traffic areas like the dog park.

Teach him to come when called. Teach your puppy to come when asked. This is the behavior pet owners have the most difficult time with, but it's a potentially lifesaving command, meaning it’s essential to get it right from the beginning.

Teach him to chew the right things. Rather than punishing your dog for chewing on the wrong items, such as furniture, teach him what items he should chew instead. And then provide him with appropriate chew toys, both around the house and in his crate.

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