What to Teach Your New Puppy

At 8 weeks old, your puppy should begin learning...

· His home and schedule. Where his water dish is. Where his food dish is. What time he eats. Where his bed is. What time he goes to bed. What time he gets up. Where he goes to the bathroom. When he will be taken out to the bathroom. What time he goes for a walk. Where his toys are kept.

Puppies love routines. They feel reassured and safe when they know where everything is and when they\'re on a predictable schedule. Routines reassure your puppy that, regardless of the unfamiliarity of his new world, everything is predictable. Routines reassure him that he knows what comes next, that his world is the same as it was yesterday, and that it will be the same tomorrow. Routines reassure him that YOU are dependable, that he can count on you to say and do the same things.

· What "No" means. To stop what he\'s doing when you say "No!" or "Ah-ah!" or "Stop that."

· Housebreaking. An 8 week old puppy is still an infant. You can start introducing him to his bathroom spot and commit yourself to taking him out every couple of hours, but it will be several months before his internal organs are developed enough for reliability. Smaller breeds are especially slow to housebreak, with many toy breeds not being reliable until eight months of age.

· Cratetraining. To go willingly into his crate and stay there quietly.

· Being handled. Standing patiently (more or less!) while you brush his coat, sitting quietly while you clip his nails, opening his mouth while you brush his teeth.

· Gentleness. To take things gently from your hand, and to release things on your request. No grabbing or biting or clinging grimly to anything.

At 3-4 months old, your puppy should begin learning...

· To sit. And to STAY sitting. Yes, even when you walk away from him. Yes, even when distractions tempt him to move.

· To lie down.

· To look directly at you when you say his name.

· To come when called. Always.

· To never run away from you.

· To walk politely on the leash.

· To drop whatever is in his mouth when you tell him to.

· To stop barking when you tell him to.

· To get along with people and other animals.

At 4-6 months old, your puppy should begin learning...

· To listen attentively when spoken to.

· To wait inside your door or gate. Even when it opens. Even when there are distractions tempting him outside.

· To play fetch -- to bring his ball or toy back to you after you throw it.

· To stay lying down for a half-hour while you do normal household chores.

· To greet guests politely.

· To do tricks! Shake hands. Speak. Play dead. Roll over. Dance. Circle.

· To recognize the individual names of all the members of your family -- and to search for someone who is hiding. Also known as Hide \'n Seek!


Owners, your puppy will turn out well if you...

· Respond appropriately if your puppy ignores the word "No"

· Use the right tones of voice and facial expressions when talking to your puppy

· Respond appropriately if you call your puppy and he doesn\'t come

· Socialize your puppy carefully with other animals and with strangers

· Respond appropriately if your puppy acts aggressively or fearfully toward other dogs or strangers

· Give your puppy just the right amount of petting and cuddling

· Respond appropriately if your puppy darts away from you when you\'re trying to catch him.

· Say and do the right things whenever you have to leave your puppy home alone

· Talk to your puppy in ways that HE understands

· Respond appropriately if your puppy fusses or protests while being groomed

· Use the right collar and leash for training

· Teach your puppy to calm down when you decide playtime is over

· Choose the right sleeping place for your puppy

· Housebreak your puppy slowly and carefully

· Clean up accidents with the right cleaner so