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Setting Your Puppy Up For Success

Congratulations on welcoming a new puppy into your home!  It is important to make sure you and your puppy start off on the right “paw,” so we have prepared the following tips to help guide you toward a successful life together. 

Making a House a Home

Puppy-proofing your home is the first step in creating a comfortable and safe space for your new friend. Begin by thinking of places your puppy could get into. Place baby locks/straps on low cabinets that may contain household cleaning products or other hazardous items, and remove any objects that are low to the ground as they could be potential chew toys. You may also want to consider the use of baby gates to keep your new puppy out of certain areas of the home. 

Crate training is also a great way to keep your puppy from getting into mischief when you are unable to supervise.  Not only does it give your puppy a safe place to go when he/she needs a break, but crates can also aid in the house training process. Dogs naturally seek den-like spaces and do not want to lay or eat where they urinate or defecate. Click here to learn more about how to crate train your pup.

Let’s Play!

What do you do for fun and mental stimulation? Humans can often be found completing crossword puzzles and Sudoku to mentally enrich our lives, and our pets need the same type of mental enrichment. This is especially important for puppies who are still exploring the world and need to be exposed to new items and textures for socialization purposes. 

Quick Tips

  • Provide both mental and physical enrichment with toys and exercise
  • Engage your pup’s senses through “scent walks” and introductions to new places and faces
  • Make sure to give your pup playtime (and naptime) every day

Training Time

Providing your puppy with the best environment for training is extremely important if you want a successful training process. Implementing the previous two sections will create a great foundation and are both considered forms of training. Both structure and enrichment will help your puppy associate you with positive things and in turn they will be more willing to learn from you! 

Make sure that you are also using the correct training strategy. Puppies go through periods of fear during their development, so we recommend using training methods based on positive reinforcement. You do not want your new friend to associate you with fear, so avoid this by rewarding behaviors you want and never punishing negative behavior no matter how frustrated you become. Puppies are sponges — what you see is not what you get — and it is extremely important to avoid punishment.

Enjoy this new exciting adventure with your puppy, and remember to have fun and be patient. Be sure to check out our other article “Prepping Your Pup: How to Get Your New Friend Ready For Class” for more tips and tricks on helping set you and your new puppy up for success. 

Quick Tips

  • Reward good behavior and ignore unwanted behavior 
  • Stay consistent with your rules to avoid confusing your pet
  • Practice makes perfect, so keep at it

Good luck! If you need any additional assistance with training,  visit the VBSPCA Pet Academy webpage for group and private training options.