Top 10 Tips For New Puppy Parents

Jan 02, 2022 |

Here are our Top 10 Tips to help you with your new family member.

Holidays are upon us soon and you may be considering adopting a puppy for your family or a friend.

How exciting to meet your bundle of joy! But then questions and problems like finding pee on the bedroom rug, chewed up shoes, jumping up people and your kids, nipping at your feet, and other stuff start to pop up. Here are our Top 10 Tips to help you with your new family member:

Tip #1--Breed Groups

Do you already know what kind of dog you want? But before you make the final decision, do some research to discover what is the job that breed or mix of breed loves to do. Will they be a good fit with your family's lifestyle?

Tip #2--Puppy Daily Schedule

When you first bring home your puppy, you will want to establish a routine. Your new puppy needs structure to feel secure, safe and know what’s expected. The best way to do this is to create a schedule and stick to it. Having your puppy on a routine, makes it easier for everyone in the family to join in on the responsibilities. 

What you should include are

(1) Potty Breaks--

If you are going in the patio, go through the same door, go to your potty spot, say "Go potty!" and reward.

(2) Mealtime--

Feed by hand, interactive feeder, and during training session.

(3)  Exercise/Play/Socialization-Exposure--

Human play, fetch, tug, walk, or positive socialization or exposure experience

(4) Alone Time/Nap Time--

Puppy need about 18-20 hours of sleep and should be allowed to sleep in a quiet room away from the busy area of the home.

Give your puppy a toy with food, licky mat, or a chew, to sooth themselves for a nap. Great time to leave them on their own.  Get them used to being alone. 

(5) Activities: brush, clean teeth, clean paws, handling

Go Here To Get A Copy Of Our Sample Schedule:  https://wowbowwowoc.newzenler....

Tip #3--How Puppies Learn

Puppies are always learning!

Wow Bow Wow's training method is based on the principles of classical conditioning; Pavlov’s dogs salivated at the sound of a bell because they had learned to associate the bell with food, and operant conditioning; Skinner’s pigeons performed a series of movements in order to receive food. To put it simply, puppies learn by performing behaviors that result in something pleasant. The more often the puppy performs a behavior that results in something pleasant, the more likely they are to repeat that behavior.

We also use Capturing, which involves waiting for your dog to perform a behavior that you wish to strengthen. The moment your puppy performs the desired behavior without prompting, mark and reward your puppy. For example, if you wanted to teach your dog to lie down using capturing, you would wait until he chooses to lie down, and then mark and reward your puppy.

Consistency in Training - In order for your dog to clearly understand what you expect, your training must be clear and consistent. This also means that the whole household needs to be on the same page.

Reinforcement - The timing, strength, and type of reinforcement used to communicate with your dog is critical to the outcome of what your dog learns. A behavior is strengthened when a reinforcement occurs every time. Puppies have short attention spans, so training sessions should be brief--about 5-10 mins, but should occur a couple times a day.

Some of the basic behaviors you want to reinforce:

Say Please- Teach your puppy to sit for anything they want.

Touch- Introduction of recall (come when called) or to guide them away from things.

Trade- Your puppy dropping what's in their mouth for another option, is a great way to teach drop and take.

Tip #4--Puppy Socialization

Socializing your puppy from an early age is really important. An under-socialized puppy can become fearful and reactive to things in the world around them.

Even before your puppy is fully vaccinated, it is important to carefully expose them to things in their environment. Just because they can’t walk on the ground, doesn’t mean they can’t experience new sights, smells and sounds out and about.

Get creative and find ways to safely expose your puppy to new locations. You can carry your puppy or use a pet stroller. You can use a wheeled crate or carrier and take them with you wherever you go.

These early experiences make a huge difference. Go Here To Get A Copy Of Our Socialization Checklist:


Tip #5—What Are Your Puppy’s Favorite Outlets

Dogs behave in ways that are determined by their genetics as well as their life experiences. There will be behaviors that get reinforced because they lead to favorable outcomes in the environment and other behaviors make our dogs feel good on the inside. These are naturally rewarding behaviors and often dogs bred for particular purposes will find similar things enjoyable.

Please consider what your puppy's favorite outlets are and provide them the opportunities to fulfil their needs to ensure their wellbeing and happiness.  Does your puppy enjoy:

  • chasing
  • herding
  • digging
  • sniffing
  • parade things in their mouth
  • playing tug
  • shredding

Ask us for suggestions on how to provide any of these opportunities for your puppy.

And an additional wonderful outcome I witness is that when you give your puppy the opportunities to enjoy their natural behaviors, many of the unwanted behaviors I get hired to solve lessen or even extinguish.

Tip #6--Prevent Puppy Nipping and Biting

Management combined with training is the best plan of action.

Don't let the puppy play with your hands, feet or clothes. Simply stop the fun and stop moving, and maybe even leave the room. The movement seems like play to the pup. The fun is gone if you are still. Often this is enough to extinguish playful nipping, but probably not enough to extinguish nipping because of teething discomfort.

You may also try exchanging your hand, feet or clothing with a chew toy. When your puppy grabs your hand, feet or clothing, disengage them from you by offering a chew toy. Keep a couple chewable toys and options handy in each room where the puppy spends time. Chew toy ideas: knotted rope, an old sock with a tennis ball in it, marrow bone. This helps them learn that some things are OK to chew. Many puppies have learned in this way to grab a chew toy before they come over to you, as a way of telling you that they know what the rules are for safe play! Praise and reinforce when they bring you a toy with lots of loving!

Sometimes tired puppies become very nippy and agitated and a nap is what they really need. It's time to put them in their safe place with a chew toy to sooth them into a nap.

Tip #7--Prevent Puppy Jumping

Puppies often jump up at people because they want to say hello. Unfortunately because puppies are so darn cute, people reinforce the jumping for attention with lots of loving and cooing. And the pattern creates a new behavior that the humans come to regret when their puppy matures. Let's teach your pup some manners--to sit or to have 4 paws on the ground instead of jumping on us.

Reward what you would like your puppy to do instead of jumping and removing attention if your puppy does jump. To begin with you can reward with treats too.

When your puppy approaches, ask them to sit before giving them loving. After a few seconds stand up and quickly move away so your puppy follows. As they get close, ask them to sit again, and give them loving for the sit. You can repeat this game over and over with every member of your family. Your puppy will become an expert at sitting for attention in no time. For puppies who haven’t learned a sit cue yet you can play this game and reward them for having 4 paws on the floor instead.

If your puppy does jump up simply stand up and remove your attention from them. Try not to say anything as this interaction can cause them to continue jumping. You may need to move away from your puppy, beyond a baby gate or barrier for a short period before going back to your puppy.

If your puppy continues to jump up, is getting more excited or frustrated, perhaps even grabbing at your clothes, consider that they might need to get some sleep. Often impulsive behavior increases when puppies get tired. Settle them down with a calming enrichment activity that encourages licking, sniffing or chewing to help them relax, before they take a nap.

Tip #8 --Puppy Proofing

The benefits of good management are really under-rated and many time overlooked by new pet parents. Managing a situation to prevent unwanted behavior rather than trying to change your dog’s behavior later is sometimes the easier answer.

An example of using management to prevent unwanted behavior is moving things you value out of reach that your puppy doesn't mistake them for chew toys.

Another great example of management is removing tempting food from the kitchen counter. Dogs are opportunists and if they continue to find food on the counter, they are likely to go back and repeatedly check. Management may be very helpful in preventing the unwanted behavior of counter-surfing.

The main purpose of using a crate, exercise pen and baby gates is to prevent your puppy or new dog from getting into trouble or harming themselves when you cannot keep an eye on your dog, because you are not able to watch your puppy or new dog 24/7.

Other examples of management are muzzle, leash, window coverings, and even walking across the street. A muzzle may help prevent your puppy from grabbing everything on the ground on your walks. Leash can help prevent your dog from running into a busy street. Window coverings can prevent a dog who gets over-aroused when they see people and dogs walking by the house from over-reacting and barking at them. And if you have a dog that is sensitive or over-reactive when they see other people or dogs on your walks, walking across the street to create distance may help your dog stay under threshold.

Tip #9--Play Tug With Your Puppy

Playing tug with your puppy can provide a wonderful outlet for their natural desire to grab and pull. To start, get down to your puppy’s level and wiggle the toy around or drag it along the floor to spark your puppy’s interest. Make sure that the toy is long enough for your puppy to feel comfortable playing with and give them plenty of toy to get hold of--1-3ft is recommended. Be gentle, play for 10-20 seconds at a time and let your puppy win the toy often so that they enjoy playing and want to continue the game.

Playing tug can be a great way to prevent your puppy from using their shark teeth on you. Redirect your puppy to a toy and a game of tug.

A game of tug is another type of reinforcement reward that you can offer your puppy instead of treats.

And of course, spending time with your puppy to play tug is an amazing way to build your bond with your new family member.

Tip #10--Intro To Loose Leash Walking For Your Puppy

Loose leash walking can look different for different people so get clear on what it means for you. Then reward your puppy in the position you would like them to walk, that may be walking next to you.

You may start practicing this with your new puppy in your home before they are fully vaccinated.

Decide which side you would like your puppy to walk on. You may even start this game without putting the leash on them since you are practicing in the safety of your home.

Set yourself up with kibbles or treats on the same side as your puppy, so that you can deliver them with the hand closest to them. Whenever you reward your puppy, make sure it's in the zone right beside your leg, where you want your puppy to be. And make sure you reward low enough so that you puppy doesn't have to jump up to get the kibble or treat.

As you are moving forward together, reward for every step to begin with. Gradually increase the distance you walk together before rewarding. Be generous with your rewards so that your puppy loves playing this game.

If they wander off, hold the reward next to your leg and wait for them to return. Sometimes I will get their attention by call their name or making kissy noises to re-engage them with me to play this game.

Start Off On The Right Paw

Even before you bring the puppy home, consider taking our puppy class so you are ready for the new addition. Check out our Puppy Courses and Programs:

Call us to chat about your puppy:  714-794-9625