Welcoming a new puppy into your home is an exciting and joyful experience, but it also comes with its set of challenges. From potty accidents to chewed-up shoes, puppyhood is a time of exploration and learning. However, with the right training techniques and a little patience, you can set your puppy up for success and build a strong bond that will last a lifetime. In this comprehensive guide to puppy training, we'll cover everything you need to know to raise a well-behaved and happy canine companion.

Positive Reinforcement: The Power of Rewards

Positive reinforcement is the cornerstone of effective puppy training. Instead of focusing on punishment or coercion, positive reinforcement involves rewarding your puppy for desirable behaviours. Whether it's a tasty treat, a favourite toy, or lavish praise, positive reinforcement creates a positive association with good behaviour and strengthens the bond between you and your puppy. Remember to reward your puppy immediately after they perform the desired behaviour to reinforce the connection between the action and the reward. They are more likely to repeat behaviours that have had a positive outcome in the past and eradicates the possibility of them being fearful in certain situations due to a negative association - ‘Raise a dog that can confidently make the odd mistake rather than a dog that is scared of making a decision’

Socialisation: Building Confidence and Friendliness

Socialisation is essential for puppies to develop into well-adjusted and confident adult dogs. During the critical socialisation period, which typically occurs between 3 and 16 weeks of age, expose your puppy to a variety of people, animals, sounds, and environments. Take your puppy on outings to the park, introduce them to friendly dogs, and invite visitors to your home. Positive experiences during socialisation help your puppy develop important social skills and prevent fear or aggression towards unfamiliar stimuli. It really is quality over quantity though. Be sure to manipulate your environment to set you dog up for success- meeting dogs and other animals you know are friendly, people that know how to greet dogs properly, start walking outside at times you know are going to be less busy, choose a quiet time to take them to the city centre, a little trip on a bus/tram for a couple of stops, a positive encounter with the vets early on in life etc

Crate Training: Creating a Safe Haven

When your dog is successfully crate trained, it will become an invaluable asset during puppy times and later on into adulthood. Whether on public transport, a trip to vets, or being kept out the way of the cleaner, temporarily staying at a not so dog friendly house, this is a great tool to have at your disposal. Crate training provides your puppy with a secure and comfortable den-like space where they can rest and relax. Introduce your puppy to their crate gradually, making it a positive and rewarding experience with treats, toys, and praise. Start by leaving the crate door open and enticing your puppy to explore the crate on their own. Once your puppy is comfortable with the crate, gradually increase the duration of time they spend inside, starting with short intervals and gradually working up to longer periods. Crate training can help prevent destructive behaviours, reduce separation anxiety, and facilitate house training. Personally, I recommend putting your crate in a pen for the first year - 18 months until your dog has fully matured. This will keep them out of harms way and forever comfortable in these smaller spaces.

House Training: Establishing Good Bathroom Habits

House training, also known as potty training, is one of the first skills you'll need to teach your puppy. Start by establishing a consistent schedule for feeding, bathroom breaks, and playtime. Take your puppy outside to the designated potty area frequently, especially after meals, naps, and play sessions. Use verbal cues such as "go pee" to encourage elimination and praise your puppy lavishly when they do their business outside. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successful house training. It’s unbelievable how quickly they start to learn at an early age when they receive a tasty treat after they successfully go in the desired place. Don’t ever punish them for going in the wrong place, this will only cause them to get confused and be scared to ‘go pee’ in front of you in the future - which is a big problem when it comes to getting them to go in the right place - Simply ignore and clean the area with a specialist odour remover, make a note of the estimated time of the incident and be sure to take them out to the desired potty location earlier next time.

Separation Anxiety: Coping with Alone Time

Separation anxiety is a common issue among puppies and can manifest as excessive barking, whining, pacing, or destructive behaviours when left alone. To prevent separation anxiety, gradually accustom your puppy to being alone by practicing short absences and gradually increasing the duration over time. Provide your puppy with toys, puzzles, and interactive feeders to keep them entertained while you're away. Avoid making a big fuss when leaving or returning home, as this can exacerbate anxiety. With patience and consistency, most puppies can learn to cope with being alone and develop confidence in your absence. Although it can be quite obvious if your puppy has had a rough time in your absence, I recommend investing in a doggy camera so you can keep an eye on them whilst you’re away - In my experience, a lot of the anxiety can come from the human side as well as from the pups and so this can help to eliminates this.

Teething Period: Managing Chewy Behaviours

Puppies go through a teething period between 3 and 6 months of age, during which they'll instinctively chew on objects to relieve discomfort and help loosen their baby teeth. To prevent destructive chewing, provide your puppy with a variety of chew toys- I find Coffee Wood works really well- and rotate them regularly to keep things interesting. Freeze toys and dog food,  and offer chilled teething rings to soothe sore gums and supervise your puppy closely to redirect chewing onto acceptable items. Avoid punishing your puppy for chewing, as this can lead to fear or anxiety and understand that it’s a natural behaviour for a puppy and you won’t be able to stop it all together- Help your dog understand what they are allowed to chew on by praising the desired action. Introducing a crate and/or pen as previously mentioned so they only have access to things they are allowed to chew on can be a real help.

Basic Obedience: Setting the Foundation

Basic obedience training lays the groundwork for good manners and polite behaviour in your puppy. Start with simple commands such as "sit," "down," "stay," and "come" using positive reinforcement techniques. Keep training sessions short, fun, and engaging to maintain your puppy's attention and enthusiasm. Practice obedience commands in different environments and gradually increase the level of distraction to reinforce reliability. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are essential for teaching your puppy basic obedience skills. Consider the 4 D’s when increasing the level of your puppies learning; Duration, Distractions, Distance and Difficulty. Build each one slowly and never advance to the next level if your puppy has been unsuccessful, simply go back a step and keep your puppy winning and build confidence.

Loose Lead Walking: Enjoying Stress-Free Walks

Teaching your puppy to walk politely on a leash is essential for enjoyable walks and maintaining control in public spaces. Start by introducing your puppy to their collar or harness and leash indoors, allowing them to become accustomed to wearing them before venturing outside. Encourage your puppy to walk by your side using treats or toys as incentives and stop walking if they pull on the leash, only resuming once they return to your side. When your puppy is walking nicely by your side and engages with you (makes eye contact), mark this desired behaviour with a treat and cue ‘heal’ or ‘close’. Every time this behaviour is repeated, mark with a treat and cue. Over time they will learn that being close and looking at you is a rewarding place and will repeat this over and over again. With consistent practice and positive reinforcement, your puppy will learn to walk politely on a loose leash and that pulling gets them nowhere so they can enjoy stress-free walks with you.

Recall: Coming When Called

A reliable recall is essential for your puppy's safety and freedom during off-leash adventures. Start by teaching your puppy to associate their name with positive experiences such as treats, toys, or playtime. Practice recall in a controlled environment with minimal distractions, gradually increasing the level of difficulty as your puppy becomes more proficient. Always reward your puppy generously when they come when called, reinforcing the behaviour and strengthening the bond between you. Again, take into account the 4 D’s when you puppy is learning recall, set them up for success by starting in the house, then in the garden etc, have them reliably succeeding at each level before increasing any of the D’s. A long lead (5-10m) is recommended when starting to increase the distance and try and pick quiet times in the local park initially when increasing distractions.


Raising a well-behaved and happy puppy requires time, patience, and dedication, but the rewards are immeasurable. By incorporating positive reinforcement, socialisation, house training, crate training, managing separation anxiety, addressing the teething period, teaching basic obedience, loose lead walking, and recall into your puppy's training regime, you can set them up for a lifetime of success and companionship. Remember to be patient, consistent, and always reward your puppy for their efforts. With love and guidance, your puppy will grow into a well-behaved and cherished member of your family. Concentrate on praising what they do right rather than punishing what they do wrong.

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