Raising a puppy is just like rearing a child. When
you follow a few basic principles, the process is fun
and relatively easy.
The principles are confinement, supervision,
scheduling, praise and fair discipline.
A. Confinement: crate, exercise pen, kitchen, or
laundry room with baby-gate if needed. The
smaller the space, the better, as dogs are den
animals, and feel safe and more secure when
confined. One big secret to being successful with
young dogs is to prevent and avoid problem
behavior patterns from developing, while teaching
appropriate behavior. The dog should be in his
confined small area. Confinement helps teach the
dog to control his bladder and bowels and also
prevents the dog from chewing on things he
B. Supervision: When a dog is out of his confined area, someone in the
family must be appointed to supervise. This means watching the pup at all times.
You may follow your pup around the house, or you can put a light leash on him
and umbilical cord him to you (tie leash to belt loop and pup goes where you
go). This way you are right there to let the pup know what is right or wrong
with any behavior.
C. Scheduling: Consistency is the key here. Put your pup on a schedule.
Feed at the same time every day. Take pup outside for potty stops regularly
The pup will learn faster this way, as they are creatures of habit.
D. Praise: Whenever your dog/pup is doing something you like (i.e., eliminating
in the right place, chewing on the appropriate chewable, sleeping in his bed,
or just lying around on the floor being quiet), verbally praise him lavishly
in a happy tone of voice, using the word "good," and the word you
want him to associate with the particular behavior, (i.e, "good bone,"
"good bed," "good down," or "good potty," etc.).
E. Fair Discipline: In most cases a stern verbal reprimand is sufficient.
Use a deep gutteral tone and the word "no." If your dog/pup is
tuned out, make a loud noise (i.e., slap a table or
wall), to get his attention, then verbally reprimand.
As soon as the dog stops what he is doing, praise
immediately. Drum up the actor or actress inside
of you and emphasize the praise. You want your
dog to feel good about following your order to
stop what he is doing.
1. House Training
Feed regular meals one to three times a day,
depending on age of dog. Leave food down for
20 minutes, then pick up bowl, and don't give
more food until next scheduled feeding. What
goes in must come out. If you know when it went
in you can predict when it will come out. Most pups
eliminate within an hour after a meal. This makes
it easy to get the pup within an hour after a meal.
This makes it easy to get the pup outside to the
potty area at the appropriate time. Remember to
praise on the spot with "good potty" or "Good
Take the pup out to potty area frequently. Go out the same door to the same
spot every time. Bring pup back inside when mission has been accomplished. Gradually
extend times between outings. Always take pup out just before and immediately
after confinement. Lavish verbal praise whenever pup eliminates in the right
If pup starts to eliminate in an inappropriate spot, make a startling loud noise
(pots and pans work well), to interrupt his behavior, and make a negative association,
verbally reprimand pup and "shoo" him outside. Take him to a previous
elimination, show it to him and praise.
Do not allow pup to watch you clean up accidents and be sure to odor-neutralize
the spot (vinegar and club soda work well.)
Prevent and avoid works best here. Supervise and confine.
Provide good chewables: nylon bones or hard rubber toys that cannot be chewed
Praise dog whenever he is chewing on the correct object, i.e., "good bone."
If pup starts to chew on something he shouldn't, tell him "No, leave it,"
then make a loud sound to interrupt the behavior. Praise him for stopping, ("Good
leave it"), then direct him to the appropriate chewable and praise.
Don't allow your pup to watch you dig in the yard or repair holes. Supervise
when he is in the yard, so you can reprimand if he begins to dig, i.e., "No,
leave it." Make a loud sound, if necessary, and praise him for stopping.
Do not leave young dogs unsupervised in yard. Crate or confine dog in house
when you are gone.
It is unrealistic to expect dogs never to bark. It is realistic to expect to
have verbal control over the barking. When the dog barks inappropriately, make
a loud noise to interrupt barking then verbally reprimand with "No, be
quiet." While the dog is still quiet, immediately praise with "good
5. Mouthing or Playful Biting of Hands
Stop it now, or it may become serious biting as pup grows older It is a two
Step One: Whenever pup puts his teeth on your hands, gruffly reprimand
with a guttural "ouch," fold your arms and turn away from pup. Do
this for 24-48 hours. He'll soon get the idea that you do not appreciate this
Step Two: Condition out the negative behavior. Whenever you are petting
the pup and he begins to mouth your hands, reprimand sternly at once with, "No,"
and take your hands off the puppy. Start to pet the pup again; praise if he
does not mouth. Repeat the procedure each time, until there are no more attempts
to mouth you. Do not roughhouse or play tug-of-war with your dog until all mouthing
has been conditioned out.
6. Fears (loud noises, fireworks, thunder, etc.).
Any unusual sound or object may frighten your dog. If you attempt to calm, sooth,
or sympathize, you will be rewarding and encouraging the negative behavior,
and it will get worse! Whenever dog shows fear, you must set the appropriate
example (monkey see, monkey do), and make a positive association with whatever
upset the dog.
Example: Firecrackers go off-dog shows fear. Immediately say in a happy voice
something like, "Oh boy, it's the fourth of July." Get silly and give
the dog a treat, or play his favorite game. Very soon the pup will associate
these noises with positive
action, and will grow into a stable, confident animal.
7. Car Sickness
Car sickness is normal with a lot of pups, as with children. Most will outgrow
this if you do not make a big deal of it.
Don't feed dog just before a car ride.
Act happy yourself; don't sympathize.
Take pup on short rides with happy endings. Go to the park or beach, not just
to the vet or groomer. Motion sickness pills may be used to prevent car sickness
while pup overcomes fear of riding.