Having a new puppy is pretty much like having another kid. They wake up in the middle of the night, need to eat all the time, and they have a lot of energy. The best news about having a new puppy is that they can be TRAINED. The magical word that will let having a puppy be a positive and fun experience for your entire family.
The first few weeks
These first few weeks will be the most important for establishing a routine, laying out house rules, and making sure all members of the family start to have a relationship with the pup. The puppy will be running all over the place peeing, pooing, chewing and cuddling—it will be a mad house! Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks that will prevent you from wanting to pull your hair out, or the dogs. Ha!
What you need
Here is a basic list of items you will need during the first few weeks, if not months, of training your puppy:
- Crate (crate training works wonders)
- Lots and LOTS of treats (aim for grain free)
- Clicker for quick response click training
- Squeaky toys
- A collar & leash (get them on the leash at a young age so they get used to it)
- Small gate to block off undesired puppy territory in your home
Sit, stay, rollover, shake, here—some of the many commands you will use to train your puppy to be a great dog! The most important will be sit, stay, and using your puppy's name constantly so they will get used to hearing it—we all love hearing our own name don't we? Remember to always have treats on you and the clicker. The clicker should only be used to justify good behavior so your puppy can practice the art of being rewarded.
When your puppy does something bad, be sure to have a consistent method of scolding so your pup knows that no means no—and don't be afraid to raise your voice, or they will never learn! Last thing, repetition is key. Whatever trick you're teaching, do it over and over again using the clicker, and you'll be amazed at how smart puppies are.
Now to the fun stuff! Showing your puppy tons of love and affection will help it be comfortable and friendly around other dogs and people—especially your kiddos. They will have a big role in training your pup and you can recruit them for things like picking up poos, going on walks, bath time, and even training. All of the hard stuff basically!
Before getting your new puppy, make sure to do some research on breeds so you know what to expect! Rule of thumb with a new dog is this: Don't let your dog do anything at 10 pounds that you don't want it doing at 70 pounds. And trust, they grow up so fast! So train em' young, and enjoy them forever. Don't forget to enjoy every minute of it and remember that dogs are only as good as their trainers.
Have you trained a puppy while raising little ones at the same time? What was your experience like?