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Puppy Prep

Puppy Prep

What Am I Getting Myself Into?
Helpful Tips
  • Take the first few days slowly and spend time getting to know your new puppy.  

    • You both need some time to settle in.

  • Make sure you keep track of your puppies vaccination and worming records.

  • Keep in mind your puppy is a baby.  

  • Puppies need to potty when they wake up, before they sleep, after they play and after they eat.

  • Be sure to give your puppy lots of toys. 

  • Your puppy will need fresh water and food 2 to 3 times a day.  

    • If your puppy does not eat or drink enough you need to consult your vet.

  • Use a small space to house train your puppy. 

    • If you do it in a large space your puppy may become confused.

  • If you decide to crate-train your puppy, make sure that you are nearby.  Do not remove the puppy until whining has stopped.

  • It's a good idea to make a "potty-spot" and to tell your puppy to "go potty" so that your puppy can learn how to go potty on demand.

  • Praise your puppy for good behavior.


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well-mannered puppy, including positive dog training lessons on basic obedience,

behavior modification for puppies, and how to correct and prevent common

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language, and how to use your understanding of those when training your puppy.

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Puppies Rule of 12


Make sure all experiences are safe and positive for the puppy. Each encounter should include treats and lots of praise. Slow down and add distance if your puppy is scared!


By the time a puppy is 12 weeks old, it should have:

(If your puppy is over 12 weeks start right away with this socialization guide.)

Experienced 12 different surfaces: wood, woodchips, carpet, tile, cement, linoleum, grass, wet grass, dirt, mud, puddles, deep pea gravel, grates, uneven surfaces, on a table, on a chair, etc.

Played with 12 different objects: fuzzy toys, big & small balls, hard toys, funny sounding toys, wooden items, paper or cardboard items, milk jugs, metal items, car keys, etc.

Experienced 12 different locations: front yard (daily), other people’s homes, school yard, lake, pond, river, boat, basement, elevator, car, moving car, garage, laundry room, kennel, veterinarian hospital (just to say hi & visit, lots of cookies, no vaccinations), grooming salon (just to say hi), etc.

Met and played with 12 new people (outside of family): include children, adults (mostly men), elderly adults, people in wheelchairs, walkers, people with canes, crutches, hats, sunglasses, etc.

Exposed to 12 different noises (ALWAYS keep positive and watch puppy’s comfort level – we don’t want the puppy scared): garage door opening, doorbell, children playing, babies screaming, big trucks, Harley motorcycles, skateboards, washing machine, shopping carts rolling, power boat, clapping, loud singing, pan dropping, horses neighing, vacuums lawnmowers, birthday party, etc.

Exposed to 12 fast moving objects (don’t allow to chase): skateboards, roller-skates, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, people running, cats running, scooters, vacuums, children running, children playing soccer, squirrels, cats, horses running, cows running, etc.

Experienced 12 different challenges: climb on, in, off and around a box, go through a cardboard tunnel, climb up and down steps, climb over obstacles, play hide & seek, go in and out a doorway with a step up or down, exposed to an electric sliding door, umbrella, balloons, walk on a wobbly table (plank of wood with a small rock underneath), jump over a broom, climb over a log, bathtub (and bath) etc.

Handled by owner (& family) 12 times a week: hold under arm (like a football), hold to chest, hold on floor near owner, hold in-between owner’s legs, hold head, look in ears, mouth, in-between toes, hold and take temperature (ask veterinarian), hold like a baby, trim toe nails, hold in lap, etc.

Eaten from 12 different shaped containers: wobbly bowl, metal, cardboard box, paper, coffee cup, china, pie plate, plastic, frying pan, Kong, Treatball, Bustercube, spoon fed, paper bag, etc.

Eaten in 12 different locations: back yard, front yard, crate, kitchen, basement, laundry room, bathroom, friend’s house, car, school yard, bathtub, up high (on work bench), under umbrella, etc.

Played with 12 different puppies (or safe adult dogs) as much as possible.

Left alone safely, away from family & other animals (5-45 minutes) 12 times a week.

Experienced a leash and collar 12 different times in 12 different locations


These websites have additional information about bringing your puppy home.


These websites have valuable information about training your puppy.
Remember that patience is the most important thing! 



Our Thoughts on Potty Training


Rule of thumb is that a puppy’s age in months plus 1 hour equals the crate time limit.  


A 2 month old puppy can “hold it” for up to 3 hours, 3 month old puppy, 4 hours and so on.  The exception is nighttime when the puppy can sleep through the night (see below).  


To be successful you must understand the following  basics :


  • Schedule:  Food and water, exercise and sleep 

  • Confinement:  Crate or small safe area in the house

  • Words:  See the command words below

  • Praise/Treat: After every successful “Get Busy” (potty)

  • Consistency:  Do the same thing and expect the same results. 


Only offer water three times a day, with both meals and midday.  Once potty training is fully established your puppy can have unlimited access to water until 7 or 8 PM at night.  


My routine goes like this:

Out of crate, outside to potty. Always go with the puppy even if you have a doggy door. I carry young puppies to the bell or toy, push it with their paw and say “outside” in a happy voice and take the puppy to the potty area. We want the pup to associate the word “outside” with the need to “get busy”.  Use a harness or collar and leash and always go to the same potty area, use words of encouragement like “get busy”. If the puppy hasn’t performed within 5 minutes, get them moving, it helps speed things along. Praise, “good get busy” and give a small treat immediately after the success. Then go “inside” for playtime, the puppy can follow you inside the house (you should always go in the door first as pack leader).  



This should always be supervised whether outside in the yard or inside in a confined area or one “safe” room like a kitchen or other easy to clean floor. While playing, watch for sniffing or quick little potty circles and take the puppy to their outdoor spot to eliminate time. As you can trust the puppy for longer periods of time, it can earn the right for more rooms to play. Playtime is ideally 30-60 minutes then back to the crate for 2 1/2-3 hours. Remember you are conditioning the puppy to strengthen his bladder as well as sticking to your schedule for potty success.


Crate Time: 

Always have the crate in the area with the family activities when they are confined. Leave the crate door open during playtime and they may retire when they get tired. Toss a towel over the front of the crate to reduce stimuli and live your lives as usual, noise and all. Don't make the mistake of being quiet when the pup is in its crate.  


Setting a Timer:

This can serve to remind you when it's time for the next outside trip or when play ends. Once you have the routine down, don’t use the timer but rely instead on your sense of routine.


Keeping a Daily Puppy Time Sheet:

This helps you see the patterns you have developed and builds success. Increases in both crate time and playtime occur with success and when accidents or slips happen and are noted, then go back a step.



With good vigorous play before bed and a final potty, your puppy should be able to sleep through the night. Have the crate by your bed.  If the puppy whines, say "quiet" or "shh" and tap the top of the crate. If they don’t settle down or start scratching at the crate, say quiet again and once they are still for 10 seconds or so, take them outside. You don’t want to reinforce whining rather reinforce his “Good Quiet”. 

No playing, just get busy, praise and back to bed.  


Leaving the House:

This should be a non-event, no kisses or treats. When you leave the house put the pup in its crate, start by going for short periods and returning with NO attention to the pup in the crate until the next scheduled outside time. Gradually lengthen these times so that they won't pay any attention to your comings and goings. Your puppy should learn to entertain itself or sleep in its crate without your presence. When you return home, never rush to the crate to let them out. Instead, do your own thing for 5-10 minutes totally ignoring them and then when crate time is up or the timer goes off, take them outside as usual. I save my special treats or new marrow bones for times I expect to be gone longer than usual. Frozen bones with goodies inside work great as well. Puppies enjoy treat-dispensing toys too. Then the dogs actually look forward to your leaving home and getting their treats. 




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How to Raise a Puppy
Puppy Training Schedule.jpg
Puppy Time Sheet.jpg
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