50 puppy tips to help you stay sane

Puppy training tips to help those first few weeks go more smoothly

Puppy love is a wonderful thing. It can also be exhausting and frustrating, though. Here’s some sanity-saving advice: 50 puppy tips to help guide you through those first few weeks and months, to help you get and stay on the right track when it comes to training your pup.


1. Think of your puppy as a toddler who has no concept of right or wrong, and needs to be taught. Repetition and consistency are key. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

2. Have a calm, assertive energy when training. –Susan C., Boston Terrier Friendzy

3. A crate is an invaluable tool when housebreaking a puppy. It provides your young dog with a sense of security when you are busy or away. Never leave a puppy in a crate for longer than 4-5 hours. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

4. Baby gates can also serve as a great training tool to block off “restricted areas” of the house and help to teach your puppy what areas are off limits. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

5. Teach the command “watch me.” Essentially, you train the dog to look at you on command. Good for if they are too distracted by a squirrel, another dog, cars they want to chase, etc. –Katie L., Rover.com

6. Teach “Go to your spot” with a mat, crate, or rug. Useful for dogs that jump on guests at the door. –Katie L., Rover.com

7. Don’t get upset when your puppy does something wrong or has an accident. Even though you might be convinced at the time he/she is doing it just to get on your nerves, they really don’t know any better. –Priscilla M., Rover.com

8. Make sure to distract them with something you want them to do, as opposed to just telling them no. –Priscilla M., Rover.com

9. Avoid giving in to things that will be a big no-no when they’re older and bigger. Example: jumping on people might be cute and tolerable when they’re still small and tiny, but if they’re going to get bigger, it won’t be cute then. –Priscilla M., Rover.com

10. Enroll in puppy manners and home obedience! This can be one of the most valuable things you can do to get the dog’s behavior to be what you desire. –Amber C., Rover.com

11. (Corollary to 10) It’s never too early to start training. The earlier the better. –Priscilla M. & Adam W., Rover.com

12. Determine what motivates your dog–food, attention–and train him/her accordingly. –Adam W., Rover.com

13. A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy. –Becky C., Friendzy.com’s Beagle community

14. Puppies want nothing more than to please you, they just need to know how. Be consistent! –Joey W., Friendzy.com Rottweiler community

15. To encourage your puppy to use the crate in the beginning, a Kong toy filled with peanut butter works great. Use the command, ‘”In your crate’ and as soon as they go in on their own, and reward them with the Kong. –Amber C., Rover.com

16. Get used to them taking up the entire bed if you are not going to crate them. LOL. –Lea B., Friendzy.com



17. Bitter apple spray will stop your pup from chewing. –Mary S., Friendzy.com

18. Best advice to keep them from chewing stuff was to buy a variety of textures of toys and put one of their toys in their mouth literally every time they had a hold of something you didn’t want them to chew. Works well. No chewed up shoes with either of my last two schnauzers. –Deb R., Friendzy.com’s Schnauzer community

19. If you don’t want a barking puppy, take time to go out when they bark, tell them its okay and comfort them. Now my beagles don’t bark at the neighbors (just at the meter guy, strangers and mocking squirrels). –Lindy K., Friendzy.com


20. Don’t use retractable leashes. They can snap, and they actually encourage dogs to pull. –Katie L., Rover.com

21. Harnesses that connect to the leash in the front of the chest are a godsend. They help prevent pulling. –Katie L., Rover.com


22. You want your puppy to be affectionate and well socialized, but you also want him or her to be independent enough to not be stressed when left alone. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

23. Socialize and expose your puppy to people and other dogs! Introduce your puppy to as many places as you can, and to as many people and other dogs as you can. –Priscilla M., Rover.com

24. If you get a specific breed, do some research to find local groups with that same breed. Meetup.com allows you to find and attend local meetups with other dog owners and can be a great resource if you have questions, concerns or need advice. –Amber C., Rover.com

25. Introduce your puppy to everything. All shapes and sizes so they are comfortable with their surroundings. This includes people wearing hats, backpacks, carrying things, other dogs, people of all races, children, other animals and noises. –Amber C.

26. Introduce to all kinds of people in all kinds of clothing & appearances (including hat, beards, and glasses), and have yummy treats on hand for rewarding your pup. –Katie L., Rover.com


27. For the first month or so, if your puppy is small, carry them to the grass to eliminate instead of letting them walk to the grass. This prevents any accidents that may happen on the way outside and lets you place them where you’d like them to use the restroom. –Amber C., Rover.com

28. Use positive reinforcement for potty training. When they use the restroom outside, give them a ‘potty party’ which you give them a little treat, lots of scratches and pets, and say, “good boy/girl!” in a high-pitched, excited tone. –Amber C., Rover.com

29. Put a bell on the door for potty training. –Kimberly F. S., Friendzy.com

30. Make sure your dog learns to potty on leash and off leash. Working at a vet clinic you see so many dogs who don’t know how to potty on a leash because it wasn’t told to them at their puppy visits. –Megan H., Friendzy.com’s Boston Terrier community

31. For potty training, don’t scold for mistakes. It’s on you if the dog goes inside, you probably aren’t taking him or her outside frequently enough. Praise and treat every time they go outside. Associate a term with it such as, “Go potty” or “Hurry up!” as soon as the dog starts going. –Katie L., Rover.com


32. Naps are important for your puppy. Be sure to give him the space and time he needs to relax. Try not to overwhelm him. Like a baby, he’ll need frequent naps during the day. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

33. Fill a Kong with food and natural peanut butter, then freeze it. This is great for teething puppies and separation anxiety. Puzzle toys are wonderful. –Katie L., Rover.com

34. Exercise your puppy regularly, but not too much too soon. Exercise can tire her out, but training can provide mental exercise which can also be tiring. –David Wiley, Bark Busters

35. When you take your puppy to puppy classes, make sure the other dogs there are up to date on vaccinations. –Katie L., Rover.com

36. Take care of their teeth!! My vet puts down so many small dogs and cats because they have heart disease, kidney disease, etc… and the issue is rotten teeth and years of painful mouth infections leaking into their bodies. Annual dentals will give your little ones a longer, less pain-filled life. –Sharona S., Friendzy.com’s Chihuahua community

37. Please don’t let the young baby humans play with the doggie babies until they know how to hold them, put them down carefully, know to not put them in the pool, toilet, trash can, etc., and not to squeeze them, hold them up by the tail or little paw or hit them. It makes me cringe when I see that. –Elizabeth-Vickie L.G., Friendzy.com

38. A wind-up alarm clock in their bed helps [it reminds them of their mother’s heartbeat].
–Theresa R., Friendzy’s Pug community

39. Get your dog accustomed to being touched on its feet, face, legs, mouth, etc., will help when you need to bring him or her to the vet or groomer. –Poochies Grooming, Friendzy’s Doberman community

40. Keep your puppy out of large stores or public places when they’re little. The Parvo virus can live on surfaces if they’re not cleaned properly. –Amie H., Friendzy’s Schnauzer community

41. Start driving your puppy in the car early if you want them to like the car and not get car sick. –Carla C.B., Friendzy’s Schnauzer community


42. Beagles aren’t naughty, they’re super smart and need lots and lots of interaction…bad behaviour means they’re bored..get off your butt and get that beagle outside lol –Susan M., Friendzy

43. Training, training, training!!! Boxers act like puppies for so many years, it’s so important to get them trained early, otherwise you are in for it when they are fully grown. My boy is about 95 lbs., and still thinks he is a baby (He is a 7 year-old, 95 lb. LAP DOG!) –Joyanna C., Boxer Friendzy

44. Specific to Boxer puppies: invest in good toys- and many toys. Rotate the stash every month and they will never touch your belongings or furniture. My boxer was over 12 years old and never damaged or destroyed what wasn’t hers! –Christine C., Friendzy

45. Get two Boxers [to keep each other company]. –Steve B., Boxer Friendzy

46. Be the pack leader. You don’t want a 150-pound dog walking you or running your house. –Leslie K.S., Great Dane Friendzy

47. Keep in mind that Great Danes can reach handles on faucets and doors. They are smart. You may need to dog-proof your home. I had one that learned how to open the oven! –Sheana H., Great Dane Friendzy

48. When you get your Rottweiler puppy, have him or her eat out of your hand. Then work with to help them not guard their food because a lot of small kids get hurt that way. –Eric J., Friendzy.com


49. When teaching tricks, work in short, 5-minute intervals. It works! I taught my dog to sit, lay down, stay, and stand in two five- minute sessions while he was only 6 weeks old. –Mandi C., Friendzy.com Boston Terrier community

& the tip that really sums it all up:

50. Patience, Patience, patience.
–Tori R., Friendzy.com’s Doxie community

Have some tips of your own? Feel free to post your own

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