Whether you live alone or with a large family, a puppy can be a great addition to your home. There are around 90 million dogs in the United States alone and for good reason.
However, a poorly trained puppy can turn into a nightmare of an adult dog. Dogs are pack animals and behave based on their perceived pecking order. If they think they’re in charge, they can be menace or even dangerous.
That’s why you need to learn how to raise a puppy the right way. Keep reading and we’ll show you how.
How to Raise a Puppy
First, when learning how to raise a puppy, you have to learn to say no. This will apply over a broad spectrum of situations. However, the hardest one for most puppy owners is saying no to being with them.
Dogs form strong attachments to us, and us to them. However, if we never teach our dogs how to be on their own (and be okay with it), it will be a nightmare every time you leave. Dogs with unmanaged separation anxiety will act out and destroy your home in a matter of hours.
Let’s take a closer look.
1. Crate Training Is Imperative
We recommend beginning crate training immediately. Make your puppy sleep in his crate from day one, not on your bed. Dogs are very territorial and will quickly assume your bed is their bed if that’s where you let them sleep.
A vari kennel, for example, is a great way to give your pet a space of their very own, while teaching them how to be detached from you. They will likely whine and howl nonstop for the first few days or even weeks, but it will be worth it in the end. They will be able to go to their kennel, lie down, sleep, or chew on toys peacefully.
2. Timing is Everything
Next, timing is one of the most important aspects of learning how to raise a puppy. They need to be let outside within a minute of waking up from a nap or a long night’s sleep. If you hesitate, you will have a mess on your hands.
Puppies also need to be let out to go to the bathroom immediately after drinking water or eating food. In dogs, a full stomach triggers the colon that it’s time to make room. Be proactive about letting your dog out.
3. Use Positive Reinforcement
Animals learn best with positive reinforcement. It’s incredibly important to praise your dogs with loving words, treats, and affection when they behave well or learn new things. This is one of the most common areas of how to raise a puppy where people screw up.
Your dog will only want to love and please you. When you use positive reinforcement, you’re teaching them just how to do that.
4. Yelling Doesn’t Help
On that note, yelling is rarely a good idea, especially when it comes to potty training. If you find a mess in the crate or house after the fact, yelling at your dog will only confuse them. They won’t know you’re upset about the act that may have happened a long time ago.
For that matter, don’t rub their nose in the accident either. First, it will make them fear you. Secondly, it’s not a sanitary practice and the force you use to accomplish it could be traumatic for your puppy.
5. Try Using an Indoor Turf or Potty Pad
Sometimes, people don’t live in a convenient place for puppies.
For example, if you live on a high floor of an apartment complex, you’ll need to plan ahead or come up with a different strategy. One option is investing in a piece of indoor turf or puppy training pads.
These can be incredibly handy for young puppies with small bladders. When it comes time to start taking them outside, bring the pad with you so they recognize it’s time to potty. Then, after a time take them outside and don’t use the pad.
6. Learn Their Body Language
Next, learning how to raise a puppy means learning how to read their body language.
When a puppy stands up and starts sniffing around, they likely need to use the bathroom. If they are used to going outside and scratch at the door or start whining, you need to get them outside immediately. And don’t blame them for accidents if you take your time getting to them.
7. Try Using Bells on the Door
Some puppy owners attach bells to the outside door handle connects to a rope. You can teach your puppy to tug on the rope and ring the bells when they need to go potty.
It may sound complicated but it’s really not. Dogs will naturally tug on things you put in their mouths. Just teach them that when they tug on it, it’s potty time.
8. New Puppies Should Have Hourly Potty Breaks
One thing people regularly fail at when learning how to raise a puppy is underestimating how often they should be let out. A new puppy should be let about once an hour.
They may not always go to the bathroom but you have to give them that option. Remember to praise them heavily when they go to the bathroom outside, this will teach them what you expect from them.
9. Get Your Puppy on a Reliable Schedule
One thing that will help you tremendously in getting your puppy on a regular schedule. You won’t be able to dictate when they take naps, nor should you. However, their eating, potty, and crate times need to be relatively similar if not exactly the same every day.
Dogs are creatures of habit and function well with routine.
10. Be Patient and Stay Consistent
Lastly, when you’re learning how to raise a puppy, you need to be patient with them. Remember, anger is never the right response. You chose to have a puppy and take on the responsibility and potential accidents.
Secondly, you need to be consistent in your training with them. This means not fudging on crate times, consistently praising good behavior, etc.
There’s a steep learning curve to learning how to raise a puppy. Even if you’ve had dogs in the past, not all of them are the same. Like humans, dogs have unique personalities.
For more helpful pet training tips, be sure to read through some more of our articles before you go!