"Bringing Your Puppy Home"

The information in this section will prepare your home and family for life with your new dog.

1The Supplies You Will Need
Before you bring your puppy home, be sure you have the following supplies:

1. Premium pet food to get your new dog off to a good start

2. Stainless steel, non-tip food and water bowls

3. Identification tags with your dog's name and your name, phone number and your veterinarian's name and phone number. A collar and a leather or nylon 6-foot leash that's ½ - ¾ inches wide (consider using a "breakaway" collar with plastic clips that will unsnap in case your dog gets hung up on something

4. A home and travel crate that's airline approved and will accommodate your dog's adult size - this crate will serve as your dog's new "den" at home, when traveling or riding to the veterinarian's office. His scent in the crate will provide comfort and a sense of security during these stressful times

5. Stain remover for accidental soilings 6. Brushes and combs suited to your dog's coat; ask your veterinarian or breeder about an appropriate brush or comb for your dog

7. Dog shampoo, toothbrush and paste

8. High-quality, safe chew toys to ease teething

9. Flea, tick and parasite controls

10. Nail clippers

11. Treats for your new dog

Helpful hints:

- Use stainless steel, non-tip food bowls which won't break or absorb odors

- Toys with parts that squeak or whistle can be dangerous if swallowed

-For a comfortable collar fit, allow for two fingers of space between the collar and your dog's neck; consider using an adjustable collar
2Making A Safe Home
To make your home safe for your new dog, eliminate potential hazards around the house, and pay attention to the following items:

- Keep breakable objects out of reach

- Deny access to electrical cords by hiding or covering them; make outlets safe with plastic outlet plugs

- Safely store household chemicals

- Keep the following house and garden plants out of reach: poinsettias, azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb cane, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy among others

- In the garage, be sure engine lubricants and other poisonous chemicals (especially antifreeze) are safely stored

- If you own a pool or hot tub, check the cover or the surrounding fence to be sure they're in good condition

- If you provide your dog with an outdoor kennel, place it in an area that provides sun and shelter in the pen; be sure the kennel is large enough to comfortably accommodate your dog's adult size
3Fencing Options
Keeping your dog safe in your yard requires good fencing. There are several options to choose from, and the one you should pick will depend on your dog's personality, your property and your budget. Here are some of the options you should consider:

- Privacy fencing. Privacy fences have no openings and provide excellent containment; six-foot-tall panels cost about $4 to$6 per foot.

- Chain link. Inexpensive chain link works well and is durable; 6-foot-tall, 50-foot rolls cost about $60 each

- Underground fencing. These electronic systems can't be seen, jumped or dug under. Wire is buried, configured and connected to a transmitter. (The cost runs anywhere from $99 to $1500.) The dog wears a special collar that emits warning tones and issues a mild shock as he nears the buried wire.

- A covered kennel run, especially one with a concrete floor, will keep your dog from digging, climbing or jumping out. Ask your veterinarian or breeder to recommend an appropriate size. (Expect to spend more than $100 for a small, high-quality kennel.)
4Choosing A Name
Though you may already have a name for your new dog, here are some tips:

- Names should be short. A two syllable name is preferable because it's brief but won't be confused with one-syllable commands such as "No" or "Sit."

- Be consistent. All family members should use the same name-don't use confusing nicknames or variations.

- Reward your dog's attention/name recognition with lots of praise and play.
5The First Days At Home
The ideal time to bring home a new dog is when the house is quiet. Discourage friends from stopping by and don't allow overnight guests.

First establish a daily routine and follow these steps:

Step 1: Before bringing him in the house, take him to the area in your yard that will serve as his "bathroom" and spend a few minutes there. If he goes, praise him. If not, proceed into the house but be sure to take him to this spot each time he needs to use the bathroom.

Step 2: Take him to the room that accommodates your crate-this restricted area will serve as his new "den" for several days. Put bedding and chew toys in the crate, leave the door open and line the area outside of the crate with newspaper, in case of an accident. Let him investigate the crate and the room. If he chews or urinates on his bedding, permanently remove it from the crate.

Step 3: Observe and interact with your dog while he's acclimating to his new den. This will help forge a sense of pack and establish you as the pack leader.
6Special Puppy Concerns
Don't treat a puppy as young as 6 to 12 weeks old like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would your own infant: with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to his socialization.

Use these tips:

- Don't bring home a puppy while you're on vacation so you can spend a lot of time with him. Instead, acclimate him to your normal, daily routine.

- Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.

-Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately.

- A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours.

- Never punish an accident-never push his nose in the waste or scold him. He won't understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you're out of site.

- Praise your puppy every time he goes to the bathroom outside. Feed your puppy a formula for puppies. Like a baby, he needs nutritious, highly digestible food.
7Children And Pets
Ideally, your kids should help you choose your new dog. When you bring him home, don't let them play with him constantly. Puppies in particular need a lot of rest just like a growing child. Limit puppy-children play sessions to 15-30 minute periods 2-3 times a day.

- Young children may be tempted to shout at a dog if they think he's doing something wrong. Be sure they understand that puppies and dogs can be easily upset and startled by loud noises.

- No teasing. Keeping a toy just out of reach will reinforce bad habits such as jumping up and excessive barking.

- Wagging tails, nails and play biting can be too rough for some young children. Supervise interaction and separate them if the play is too rough.

- Teach kids to care for a dog by showing them how to feed and groom him.

8Meeting Resident Pets
Keep resident pets separated from your new dog for a few days. After your new dog is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your dog in his crate. Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days. After that, give the resident pet access to the den area with your new dog out of his crate. Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.

Training Your Dog

The tips and information in this section show you how to train your dog, acclimate him to his new home and teach him some basic commands.

1Housebreaking Using A Crate
The goal of crate training is to teach your puppy or adult dog to go to the bathroom outside, so being training the moment you bring him home. (A crate will also give your new dog a comfortable, controlled area in which to sleep when you're not able to supervise or interact with him and will minimize destructive behavior.)

Dogs avoid going to the bathroom near their eating and sleeping spots, and a large crate may give him the space to go in a corner away from his sleeping or eating area. To avoid this, choose a crate that can be partitioned so you can limit his space. Look for this feature when choosing a crate. (Economically, it's also a good idea to choose a crate that will accommodate your puppy's adult size.) Allow your dog enough space to comfortably lay down and stretch out.

Use the instructions in the "Bringing Your Dog Home" section to introduce your dog to your house and then use the following method to begin crate training:

- Be sure chew toys and bedding are in the crate. After your dog has investigated his new den area and goes in the crate on his own, praise him lavishly. When he leaves the crate, stop praising him. Let him go in (with lots of praise) and out of the crate at will. Then give a command such as "kennel up" in a firm voice and entice him into his crate with a treat. A puppy won't understand this command at first, but with repetition over time, he'll come to learn that "kennel up" means it's time to go into his crate.

- Praise him once he's inside, leave the door open and remain in view. Once he's comfortable going inside the crate and remains there for a few minutes at a time, close the door for several minutes while remaining in view.

- Repeat this action several times a day, allowing for plenty of play between "kennel up" commands. Gradually increase the time your dog is in the crate and move out of sight. If he becomes upset when he can't see you, give him a moment to settle down. Don't let him out of the crate if he starts to fuss. Wait until he's calm. Otherwise, he'll start to associate making a fuss with getting out, and he may never learn to calm himself in the crate.

- With consistent, repetitious commands and praise, the crate will quickly become your dog's new den.

Crating tips:

- Covered crates naturally create a den-like space, but for wire crates, drape a blanket over the crate to create an artificial den in which to sleep.

- Place an article of clothing with your scent on it to provide your new puppy with a comforting item.

- Your new puppy is like a baby, so he'll need to go to the bathroom frequently. Start a strict feeding and bathroom routine-at least, he should go out every three hours. Take him out the same door and to the same spot every time.

- Young puppies need constant supervision just like an infant. Make up a responsibility schedule for each member of your family and assign each person time to supervise and play with your new puppy.

- Be patient. You may have to spend 10 minutes outside waiting for him to go. When he does, give lots of praise.

- Learn to recognize your puppy's body language. Watch for circling and sniffing as well as restlessness, whining or approaching the door.

- During the night, if possible, place the crate in or near your bedroom. He'll feel more secure with you close by.

- Puppies under 3 to 4 months will need to go at least once during the night, so try to establish a schedule by setting your alarm and taking him outside the same time each night. Be patient. If he doesn't go in 10 minutes, take him back to his crate, wait 10 minutes and take him out to try again.

- Progressively set your alarm 15 minutes later each week to train your puppy to "hold it" for longer and longer periods of time.

- Confine your puppy's mobility to the room his crate is in. As time passes, his bowel movements will become more predictable, which will allow you to grant him more freedom and access to other rooms in the house.
2Going To The Bathroom On Command
To avoid spending a lot of time waiting for your puppy to get the job done, you may want to teach him to go to the bathroom on command. While he's going to the bathroom, simply repeat a unique command, such as "hurry up" or "go potty" in an upbeat tone of voice. After a few weeks, your puppy will begin sniffing and circling and then go shortly after you give the command. Give him lots of praise when he responds.

Handling Accidents

If you have a very young puppy (from 3 to 12 weeks old), accept the fact that he's going to have accidents. He simply doesn't yet have adequate bladder control. Consistent praise along with the "go potty" command will promote proper bathroom behavior.

In the early stages of housebreaking, it's important to be able to catch your dog in the act of going to the bathroom if he's inside. When this happens, give a short, firm "No," pick him up and take him outside to his bathroom area to finish. When he's done, praise him to reinforce the idea that going to the bathroom outside is what he's supposed to do.

When your dog has an accident, use these steps to clean up the mess:

Step 1: To clean up urine and/or stool, soak up the urine and remove the stool with a plastic baggie or a paper towel.

Step 2: Apply a mild detergent solution or carpet cleaner that doesn't contain ammonia. Don't over saturate the area. If you do, you'll drive the substance deeper into the carpet backing and spread the stain.

Step 3: Don't rub the soiled spot. Gently blot the carpet to retain the look of the fiber and the pile.

Step 4: Work from the outside in to better contain the stain.

Step 5: If odor remains, use a commercial cleaner made to neutralize odors.

Points to remember

Don't rub your dog's nose in his stool. This won't help. Instead, it will make him afraid of you, and he'll start going to the bathroom only when he is sure you're away or out of sight.

Don't scold. Say "No" during the accident, then pick him up and take him outdoors so that he can finish in the appropriate area. When he's done, give him lots of praise.

If possible, block off the area where the accident occurred or keep your dog out of this room permanently. He may return to this spot because of the scent he left behind.

There are usually two reasons why a puppy has an accident: - He wasn't being watched closely

- He wasn't in his crate where he would rather not go to the bathroom
3Praise, Play, Rewards
The importance of these three techniques cannot be stressed enough when it comes to crate training, commands and bonding with your dog. The old fashioned use of punishment is counter-productive to any type of training. Never push your dog's nose into his own waste, shout at him or strike him. Positive reinforcement will promote good behavior. Punishment and/or scolding will only teach your dog to fear you or repeat a bad behavior when you're out of sight. Whenever you do catch your dog in the act of an inappropriate behavior such as chewing on your shoes, quietly and firmly tell him "No" and then lead him to an appropriate behavior-for example, give him a toy to chew and praise him for his preferred behavior.


An appropriate amount of exercise is also critical to promoting good behavior and successful training. A dog that can only expend his energy while you're trying to teach a command will not be very focused on training. Talk to your veterinarian about the daily exercise requirement of your breed. Some dogs are naturally high-energy pets and will need more exercise, interaction and mental stimulation than other breeds. Set up a schedule with family members to exercise your dog throughout the day.
4Teaching A Dog To Sit
The time it takes for your dog to master this command will vary with his personality. Practice with him twice a day trying three repetitions of the command each time. As soon as his attention begins to falter, stop and try again later. Begin on-leash indoors in a controlled environment free of distractions.

Step 1: Speak your dog's name to get his attention and hold a treat in one hand. With the lash in your other hand, position your dog so he's standing in front of you and you have his full attention.

Step 2: Slowly raise your treat hand above your dog's head. With his attention focused there, he will naturally sit down to keep an eye on :your hand. The moment you see your dog start to go into the sitting position, speak the word "sit" in a firm voice. Repeat this scenario several times. If your dog refuses to sit down using the hand-above-the-head technique, you may have to coax him by kneeling beside him and tucking your hand under his hindquarters or applying pressure to his rear as you raise the treat over his head. Give the command as you do this, and then reward him.

Step 3: Praise your dog by petting and stroking him. Over the next few days, gradually reduce the number of treats used as rewards and instead give him a lot of verbal and physical praise. In time, he'll learn to respond to your command and only expect praise.

Helpful hint - Start a training session when your dog is hungry-his attention will be focused on you, his provider.
5Teaching A Dog To Stay
Once you and your dog have mastered the "sit" command, you can move on to the "stay" command. Begin by practicing this command with your dog twice each day trying three repetitions of the command each time. When his attention falters, stop and try again later. Begin teaching this command on-leash indoors in a controlled environment that's relatively free of distractions.

Step 1: Stand only one to two feet in front of your dog. Give a "sit" command and praise him.

Step 2: Tell him to stay and at the same time extend your arm with your palm face up to within three or four inches of his face. (The arm motion is like the one a police officer uses when extending an arm to stop traffic.) This will represent a physical boundary to your dog. At the moment your arm stops extending, give the command "stay" in a clear, relaxed but firm voice, and cut the sound off sharply at the end. The choppy sound and sharp movement of your hand will grab your dog's attention. Have your dog stay for five seconds, then "release him" by saying "OK" and giving him lots of praise or a treat. The time it takes for your dog to master this step may take many days. Be patient and consistent and reward him with praise and treats each time he does it right.

Step 3: Once Step 2 has been mastered, you can move on to this step. Give the sit command, and as soon as your dog is looking straight at you, take one or two steps to the right and move back to center. The goal is to hold your dog's attention even during a distraction. If you see him starting to look elsewhere, make a sudden sound or movement to regain his attention. Each time he returns his attention and looks at you , give him lots of praise and a treat.

Step 4: After you can keep his attention for 15 to 30 seconds as you move to one side, move to the other. After that, increase the distances and vary the speed of your movement. If he gets up and begins to move, make a sharp, choppy sound that gets his attention and gently tighten the leash.

Step 5: When he sits back down, praise him and start again. Begin with 15 to 30 second "stays" and increase by 15 second increments. A reasonable goal is to "sit-stay" for 1.5 minutes.

Helpful hint..... If your dog gets up at any point during steps 1-5, gently but firmly put him back to the exact spot he was in and repeat the "stay" command. Hold his leash taut to help keep him in place for 5 seconds.
6Teaching Your Dog To Come
After your dog understands the "sit" and "stay" commands, teach him how to "come". Begin training sessions indoors using a long leash. Start out in the house when it's quiet and practice the command for short periods several times each day.

Step 1: Give your dog the "sit" and then the "stay" command. Move 10 to 12 feet away from him. Pause and then in a clear but firm voice, call him by his name and say "come".

Step 2: If your dog does not respond, repeat his name and the command and gently bring him toward you by slowly pulling on the leash. Give him lots of praise as he is moving toward you.

Step 3: Once you dog understands the command and can reliably do it indoors on-leash without your assistance and prompting, remove the leash and practice the command indoors a few more days.

Step 4: When your dog has mastered the command indoors off his leash, take him to a quiet, contained outdoor space such as your back yard and continue to practice the "come" command. Gradually increase the distance between you, and over time take him to areas that contain more and more distractions such as other people or dogs.

Helpful hint... Keep the "come" command sacred. A commons mistake many owners make is scolding or punishing their dog for not coming immediately or soon enough. If it takes a moment or two for your dog to come to you don't scold him- give him lots of praise and petting or a treat to provide positive reinforcement.