Preparing Your Puppy for Training Success the First Week

Mikki Hogan, dog trainer and publisher of is an avid dog lover to the extreme. She works actively in animal rescue, fostering special needs dogs as well as whole families and enjoys filling all her time with animal activities. When she's not busy with her dogs Mikki enjoys spending time with her family, writing for the net and socializing on FaceBook.
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Perhaps the most important aspect in training your puppy occurs during the first week at your house. It’s a new environment, new family, new everything and your puppy will observe his surroundings to see how things are done. Everything your puppy is allowed to do during this first week outlines acceptable behavior in your house. That’s why it’s the best opportunity for starting your puppy out right in regards to good behavior.

Preparation is key when it comes to that first week, both physically and mentally for the entire family. There are steps you need to take before you bring your puppy home to ensure your rules are set and obeyed.

Before you bring him home

Bringing home a new puppy is a very exciting time, especially if you have children that are anticipating his arrival. But keep in mind the first week at home your new puppy is learning the rules, meaning if you let him jump all over you, run free in the house and come running every time he whines then that is what he will come to expect indefinitely.

It’s important to understand that it’s much easier to prevent a problem behavior than to change one after it becomes a habit. Prevention of unwanted behaviors is the primary goal of this first week.

To help make sure this first week teaches the boundaries and expectations you want there are a few things you should do before you bring your new puppy home:

  1. Sit down as a family and discuss the rules. Decide whether or not your dog will be allowed on furniture, what rooms he can be in, when he will eat and so on. Outline everything you can think of.
  2. Decide how you’re going to enforce these rules. Will you utilize dog obedience training online or attend puppy classes?
  3. Decide where your new puppy will sleep and prepare his space before you bring him home.
  4. Be sure to have a variety of chew toys that you can rotate on a daily basis.
  5. Have plenty of treats on hand for important training opportunities like walking on leash and socializing in a public setting.

Once your boundaries are set including how you plan to enforce them it’s time to set up the puppy area in preparation for bringing your new puppy home.

Setting up Your Puppy Area

The goal of the puppy area is to help set boundaries, establish rules and make housetraining simple. For this reason it needs to be a confined area using either an exercise pen, oversized wire crate or gating off the end of a hallway. Whatever you use it needs to be located in the middle of the family action, where your puppy can see and hear all the normal routines.

During the first week this puppy space should be the only

space your puppy is allowed while in the house so you want to make sure it has enough room for him to play.  Inside your puppy area you want a soft blanket or dog bed to lie on, a designated area for food dishes and two or three toys.

But preparation isn’t the end of starting off right. Puppies have definite needs with socialization and human interaction and there are effective, simple ways you can begin training your pup without him even knowing it!

First always remember that EVERY interaction is a training opportunity for the young puppy and therefore should always be planned for. Second, consider the following tips on making your training sessions a natural part of every interaction.

Interacting with Your Puppy the First Week

During the first week every interaction imprints an expectation on your new puppy’s brain and therefore sets the ground rules for acceptable behavior. This first week is your prime opportunity for eliminating dozens of bad behaviors BEFORE they ever happen. To begin look at your puppy from the perspective that he is already grown up and big and decide on what behaviors would be unappealing in an adult dog. To suggest a few:

  • Jumping – 99% of the people who meet your dog won’t like this
  • Barking and whining – while they are young many new owners cater to their whining and barking for attention. At 2yrs old those same behaviors are loud and distracting, often resulting in frustration and negative interactions.
  • Running in the House – While small this is often overlooked and “cute” but imagine that 30 pound dog charging through your living room and knocking over lamps!
  • Darting out Doors – Very few puppy owners think to prevent their puppies from darting out the doors, especially since they are housetraining but the reality is they are learning acceptable behavior and you don’t want your grown dog running out a door and taking off just because it’s opened.
  • Biting your hands – Sometimes those tiny puppy bites are ignored because they are not rough or painful. Always remember they will grow up and bite harder.
  • Rough Play with Kids – Children LOVE to get on the floor and let puppies jump on them and kiss their faces. It’s a game both child and pup enjoy, but it’s a HUGE no, no.
  • Tugging on the Leash – At a tiny size you may not mind this behavior, but take a second to see your puppy all grown up. Pulling on the leash is a learned behavior just like everything else and is easier to prevent than teach them to stop.

When deciding what to include in your list of rules always think of it in terms of an adult dog, not a puppy. Puppies are cute, fun and exciting, all traits whose charm dissipates in older dogs. If you decide on rules, plan every interaction and take advantage of resources such as private dog training you’ll have fun with a puppy that won’t grow into a terror. 


  1. Twitter:
    I have found that by taking some time off that first week to work with your new puppy it pays big dividends down the road.
    Peaches recently posted..Ear Infections in DogsMy Profile

  2. Twitter:
    Training Puppies is a rewarding and fun task. As a new pet owner read lots articles and learn how to train it will pay off in the end.
    Peaches recently posted..Basic Tips to Help Train Your PuppyMy Profile

  3. Twitter:
    Thanks for this great article, Mikki! I wish there were more people who realized that you have to establish and enforce the “big dog” rules as soon as your puppy comes home. So many people let their puppies get away with murder just because they are so cute and this always turns into a big problem down the road. The more responsible dog owners will then call a trainer for help to fix the problem. But there are also people who jus put the blame on the dog and give him up. So many dogs have to pay with their lives for their owners lack of understanding.

  4. Twitter:
    Hey mikki,
    Thanks for sharing these tips with us. I am thinking to buy a puppy and these tips really help me to make good relation with them. A good training is really important.
    Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Under 12000 In IndiaMy Profile

  5. Twitter:
    Often times i have seen parnets teach dogs good behaviors only to have them ruined by kids who don’t work with the dog this is why its important for the whole family to understand how to train a dog
    Peaches recently posted..Ear Infections in DogsMy Profile

  6. Twitter:
    That true the dog doesn’t know if the kid is the boss or the parent and all family member must be consistant in their training
    Peaches recently posted..Ear Infections in DogsMy Profile

  7. Twitter:
    The training in the first week sets the tone for the rest of the dogs training
    Peaches recently posted..Importance of Deworming Puppies and DogsMy Profile

  8. Twitter:
    Its funny as i look back on when i first bought my dog and realized the same thing.
    Peaches recently posted..Tips For Grooming Your DogMy Profile

  9. Twitter:
    Puppy learn every moment of the day and that is why its important to focus on training them the first week as they gain understanding each waking moment.
    Peaches recently posted..Dog Proofing Your HomeMy Profile

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