How to train a puppy

How should I start training my puppy?

Everyone has their own methods when it comes to raising a dog.

Some people never use kennels and their dogs never have accidents and never chew anything. Some people carry their dogs around everywhere, and the dogs never develop separation anxiety. I’d rather not risk it.

Below are my suggestions for raising a calm, well-adjusted, confident dog from the very beginning.

Feel free to add suggestions of your own on how to train a puppy.

1. Should I let my puppy on the furniture?

No, unless you are OK with your soon-to-be adult dog on the furniture. Start setting rules for your puppy from day one. Do not allow your puppy to pull on the leash unless you want your adult dog to pull on the leash. Do not allow your puppy to sleep in your bed unless you want your adult dog to sleep in your bed. Do not allow your puppy to jump on people unless you want your adult dog jumping on people.

I suggest allowing your puppy on the couch or your bed only after you give permission with a command like “OK” or “Up.” Use the couch as a reward, not a right. If your puppy jumps onto the couch without your permission, just push her off and make her wait until you give her the OK. It’s much easier to teach your puppy to stay off the couch from the beginning than it is to break this habit later when you have a 70-pound, smelly, drooling mutt like mine.

2. Use everything as a training opportunity for your puppy.

Whenever your puppy wants something, use it as an opportunity to teach a command such as sit or down. Make her sit or lie down before she gets food or a toy. Start teaching her to sit before heading out the door or putting on her leash. Start teaching her words for “water” and “walk” and “car.”

3. How to kennel train my puppy.

Yes, kennel training is an important aid during potty training because most puppies do not want to pee in their “dens.” A kennel will also keep your puppy safe (and out of trouble!) when you leave the house.

The most important key to kennel training a puppy is to ignore all crying and barking. Never go to your puppy when she is making noise. If you do, you are rewarding her for crying. Even negative attention like yelling is good attention as far as she is concerned.

Return to your puppy only after she has been quiet for at least 20 seconds but ideally a few minutes. If your puppy needs to be let out to go to the bathroom at night, then wait and do so once she is quiet. It’s better to wake her up and take her out than to wait for her to bark.

If you believe “caging” a puppy is wrong, think of the kennel as a tool for future freedom. Dogs that are kennel trained learn to be calm when left alone. Once my dog was about 18 months old, I started leaving him loose in my house because he had learned to just chill out and be calm when I left.

For more information on kennel training, see my post on how to kennel train a dog and how to stop my dog from crying.

4. Leave your puppy alone so she doesn’t develop separation anxiety.

Karli the long haired German shepherd puppy playing with snow on her facePeople like to carry their puppies around all the time, talking to them like they are babies. This is nice until the dog develops an unhealthy attachment to her owner and freaks out whenever they are apart. To prevent separation anxiety, make sure to start leaving your puppy alone for at least 20 minutes here and there every single day. Puppies need to learn that it’s OK when you leave. You will always return.

Give your puppy a treat like a Kong toy filled with peanut butter, and put her in her kennel to be alone for a few minutes even if you are in another room. You want her to learn to accept this down time and maybe even look forward to it.

Remember not to make a big event out of returning to your puppy. This just reinforces that being apart is bad. And remember to return only when she’s quiet.

For more information, check out my post on dog separation anxiety.

5. Stick to a routine.

Puppies need a routine in order to learn what is expected of them in their new environment. It’s important to establish a routine right away because it prevents bad habits from forming and helps your puppy feel secure.

What do I mean by a routine? I mean take your puppy outside at the same times every day. Feed her at approximately the same times. Walk her at the same times. Play with her every day. Train her every day. Kennel her at the same times every day. Have her sleep in the same place every night.

For more info, see my post on setting a routine for your dog.

6. How often should I feed my puppy?

Puppies grow a lot, and they need a lot of food, so it’s OK to feed them three or four meals per day. Just make sure to feed at specific meal times and to put the food away after five minutes.

Do not leave food available to your puppy at all times. Food is a reward, and you want your puppy to see you as a source for food. If your puppy chooses not to eat, don’t add treats or other goodies to the food. Just throw the food away or set it aside until the next meal. She will be hungry by then. Use her meals as an opportunity to teach the puppy her name and commands like come, sit, stay and down.

Check out my post on my dog won’t eat.

7. How to train my puppy to walk on a leash.

Remember not to allow anything from a puppy that you wouldn’t want an adult dog to do. That means no pulling. So, ditch the Flexi, retractable leash until your dog has learned to walk nicely on a leash. Retractable leashes reward a dog for pulling. Instead, use a 6-foot leather leash and stop moving the second your dog reaches the end of the leash. Once the leash is loose, reward your puppy by moving forward. Teach her that if she pulls, you go nowhere.

For more information, see my posts on reasons not to buy a retractable leash and how to teach my dog to heel.

Sammi the brown and white pitbull jack Russell mix puppy sleeping on blanket

8. How do I teach my puppy to go potty outside?

You start right away! The basic concept is to ignore any “accidents” and to reward the puppy when she does go outside. This means you need to take her to the same spot outside very often. Take her out at least every 45 minutes until you learn how often she needs to go. And always take her out every time she wakes up and right after she eats or drinks.

This is where a kennel can help you out with potty training. If you know your puppy has to go but she gets distracted, just put her in her kennel for five minutes. Then, take her outside again. Repeat as necessary. This eliminates the possibility of your puppy peeing on your rug. Once she’s gone potty outside, let her run around and play in the house for a bit.

Do not use puppy pads, indoor grass for dogs or newspapers. This adds an extra, unneccessary step and teaches the dog to pee indoors. For more information, see my posts on how to potty train a puppy and reasons not to buy potty pads for dogs.

9. Introduce your puppy to everyone.

You want your dog to be well socialized, so help her associate positive experiences with everyone she meets. Allow her to be around adults, kids of all ages, babies, old people in wheelchairs, students wearing backpacks and people in hats. Introduce her to strollers, other dogs of all sizes and ages, cats, rollerbladers and bikes. Ask different people to give her treats and attention.

Basically, introduce your puppy to any kind of person she might meet during her life. Make sure to check with your vet to see if she needs any shots before interacting with other animals for her safety and the safety of other pets.

Check out my post on how to socialize my dog.

10. Introduce your puppy to many different environments and experiences.

It’s never too early to start introducing your puppy to places such as the vet, a grooming shop, dog daycare, car rides or boat rides. So take her to as many places as possible! Reward her for being calm. Leave her at a friend’s house for an hour so she gets used to being away from you.

You also want to get her used to nail trims, baths, wearing a coat or boots, having her teeth cleaned, etc. So make sure to touch your puppy’s feet, ears, tail and mouth every day so she gets used to being handled.

11. Should I take my puppy to obedience classes?

Yes! Even if you “know everything” about training a puppy, you should still enroll in an obedience class to get a head start on socializing your dog. I consider Ace a well-trained dog, but we still take obedience classes every now and then as an excuse to train. Puppy obedience classes are a great resource for practicing obedience commands and swapping dog advice while getting your puppy out and about in a new environment.

An obedience trainer will also help you with all the basics like how to teach your puppy to sit, come, stay and lie down.

If you live in Fargo, I recommend Red River North Dog Obedience Club for puppy training and dog obedience.

12. Do not pick your puppy up every time she is scared.

It’s natural for humans to comfort our “babies,” but dogs are not babies. Coddling a puppy only creates an insecure dog. Dogs need to learn how to deal with their surroundings. If your shy puppy cowers behind you, the best thing you can do for her is walk away.

If you pick your puppy up every time she cries and wants to be held, you are rewarding the behavior and creating a very needy and annoying dog. Instead, completely ignore your puppy if she cries and pick her up only when she is quiet and calm. Teach her that she gets affection from you only when she is sitting or lying down quietly and patiently.

13. How far can I walk my puppy?

You don’t have to worry about walking your puppy too far. It will be very obvious when a young puppy is too tired. She will sit or lie down. But once your puppy is four months old or so, she will start to be in that endless energy stage. You will never be able to walk her too far! Make sure you are providing her with enough exercise to help drain that energy. Plan on walking her for at least a half-hour twice per day. This will help her settle down in her kennel, and it will give her something productive to do with her energy rather than create her own “jobs” such as chewing your couch.

14. Provide your puppy with the right chew toys.

Puppies start to lose their puppy teeth at about four months old. This is when they will need appropriate chew toys more than ever. But, even adult dogs love to chew. It’s fun for them, it relieves stress and it helps keep their teeth clean. Make sure to provide your puppy with toys and bones to chew so she doesn’t find her own “toys.” To keep her interested in toys, rotate which toys she has access to, and only keep two or three out at a time. I recommend Nylabones, Kongs, raw bones and rope toys.

You can also teach your puppy not to bite or nip at you by completely ignoring the unwanted behavior and re-directing her to chew on her toys instead. Teach her that she gets no attention from you if she’s going to bite.

Follow these puppy training tips and you will be well on your way to raising a confident and well-mannered dog.

What puppy training tips do you have?

Related posts:

How to introduce my dog to a new puppy

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48 thoughts on “How to train a puppy”

  1. Great post Lindsay! You covered it all from feeding to socializing to training to housbreaking and exercise. Very thorough and much needed information for a lot of dog owners. Consistency is also an important part of any training. By consistency I mean always using the same word for a command, don’t allow something one time but not another, such as sleeping in bed, either allow it or don’t allow it. Again, great post!

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yep, being consistent is SO important. Don’t say “down” to mean “stop jumping” and “lie down” for example. Say “off” if you don’t want your pup to jump.

  3. Lindsay,
    Very informative post here full of good info. I think one of the most important parts of training a puppy is to use a kennel. It just makes everything else you must teach easier. A kennel is almost an essential tool in my opinion. I would add that a calm demeanor, patience and consistancy are also critical. (for the human, ha.)

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I can’t even imagine having a puppy without a kennel. Everything would be chewed on. It would pee everywhere …

  4. Great advice and yes, consistency and a structured routine are so important for a puppy. I’ve been lucky and had really great dogs but they still do so much better when the people are consistent.

  5. Awesome post, and such great timing now that I have four-month-old Cooper! I think we’re doing okay so far… I’m taking him everywhere to make sure he gets really socialized, we’re starting a puppy class on Thursday, and he’s made strides in his potty training. The only problem is with the crate training. Whooo, boy. He HATES the crate. My guess is that since Emmett and Lucas are roaming free, doing whatever, he feels like he’s missing out? When I’m gone, I can’t decide if it’s better for him to be in his crate in a room with the door closed or in his crate where the boys are. Either way, he has a FIT every time he goes in, to the point where he loses his voice every couple of days. 🙁 But, you know… other than that we’re doing great! 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ugh. Kennel training can be tough. I would think he’d rather be in his kennel in a room near the other dogs. I’m sure you know all the usual kennel training tricks … so … good luck!! 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      So many of them end up there because they have separation anxiety or too much energy or they were never socialized properly.

  6. In Alaska, we just had about 150 dogs seized from a “Breeder” with neglect. There are now people coming out saying that their puppies were sick when they first got them. I think something else you should add is finding a good vet right away and making your puppy feel comfortable going there at any time!

    My fiance got his dog DOG as a puppy and after he chewed through the first crate, he went everywhere with him for the first year. If my fiance couldn’t take DOG with him, he had a friend who could who had a dog of a similar age. Now we are starting to leave DOG and our new dog Belle at home and thankfully no damage yet!!!

    Thanks for the blog Lindsey!

  7. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yep, getting the dog used to the vet is important. Ace doesn’t particularly like the vet, but he’s a good boy there. I’ve had previous dogs that were complete freaks at the vet. And one of my cats is very aggressive at the vet. For dogs and cats, it’s important to get them used to these normal occurrences when they are little.

  8. I’m having a problem potty training that you may see slot of where you live.Emily is a4 month old boxer-bull mastiff. She is not a very hairy dog and, like most teenagers she is skinny. Problem she gets cold easily and I think it makes it hard for her to potty. I got her a little coat, switched her to a higher quality food which I hope will help her pack on a few pounds, is there anything I can do to make her more cold tolerant? Supplements etc?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      My neighbors bought a dachshund puppy last January. They had to potty train her when it was 20 below zero outside! I’m not sure where you live or if you are in a house or an apartment. For my neighbors, they used going back inside immediately as the dog’s reward for going potty outside. They had a nice setup, though, where they could take her right out their back door. She would lift her paws up, cry, look up at them begging to go in, sigh, pee and then run inside as her reward, plus a treat. It worked well. That dog was potty trained quickly!

      There’s not much you can do for your dog. You could get some boots for her paws, but honestly that will probably distract her even more. Most dogs also hate wearing coats, but if you get a high-quality coat for sporting breeds, it might actually keep her warm vs. just look cute. You can find some pretty warm dog vests at sporting goods stores that carry other products for hunting dogs like e-collars and dog whistles and training dummys.

      The higher-quality food should help, too. And use a highly valued treat as a reward for going potty outside – pieces of chicken, steak, hotdogs or whatever it is she loves best.

  9. I just got a puppy yesterday. He is only 6 weeks old and I think he is way too young to be away from his mommy. I contacted the people I got him from to see if they would consider keeping him until he is 8 weeks but they wont. I am just wondering if I do things the same when he is so young? He cried all night last night. Is he too young to start potty training? I feel bad and want to hold him all the time because he crys. I am probably doing everything wrong. LOL

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Ideally, dogs should stay with their mom until they are eight weeks old for socialization purposes, but what’s done is done. Your pup will be OK. Yes, start training right away. Don’t feel bad for your pup. Doing so will not help him.

  10. I’m in similar shoes as Tannie! We’ve just got a 5 week old Border Collie puppy, we’ve separated off an area and put her crate inside as the bed area. We’ve decided to leave her in there until she is at least 8 weeks old (Of course, occasionally taking her places to socialise with other people and vaccinated family pets.) We play with her, stroke her etc all inside that area, unless we’re holding her. When she cries, we completely ignore her, we only approach her when she’s quiet.

    However, I feel so bad for leaving her alone! >_< Am I doing everything right? If I let her out of that area to rome the house she just pees and poos everywhere! I just hope we can train her quickly so she can have her freedom!

    P.S. She's crying now, and jumping/scratching at the fence – I would love to know if we're doing the right thing, I feel so cruel! <3

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Don’t rush anything, Lollops. Just assume you will have to keep her in the restricted area when she is unsupervised for at least a year. If you can do that, she will get to enjoy a lot more freedom for the rest of her life because she will learn good habits. If you give a dog too much freedom, you are setting the dog up for failure early on. Bad habits are hard to break. It’s much easier to prevent them to begin with.

    So hang in there!

    1. Thanks, I just feel so bad! She’s crying so loud and jumping around – she won’t shut up!

      It’s normal for them to do this for long periods of time constantly throughout the day and night? Basically, whenever she’s awake! Is there nothing we could do to make her tone it down a little? <3

  12. HELP!! we have just been given a 5 week old staffie, i dont mind the weeing and pooing ive been taking him out after food, waking up and on the hour kinda thing….however he wont shut up at night, cries so loudly! i ended up sleeping on sofa with him last night. I dunno what else to do, i have to leave him in the mornings and afternoons for the school runs but he just cries and its really loud!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Unfortunately you have to completely ignore your puppy when he cries. If you go to him and allow him to sleep with you, you are encouraging him to cry. So get some ear plugs and just let him bark. It will stop after a few nights, I promise.

      Here are some posts I’ve written on separation anxiety. I don’t think your dog has separation anxiety. I think he’s just getting used to being away from his mom and adjusting to life at your house. So just be patient. But you can still use some of the tips in these posts about ignoring your dog in order to set him up for success at a young age.

      http://www.thatmutt.com/2008/06/10/stop-your-dog-from-crying-all-day/

      http://www.thatmutt.com/2010/05/08/dog-separation-anxiety-2/

      http://www.thatmutt.com/2011/02/02/how-to-prevent-separation-anxiety-in-dogs/

  13. I just got an 8 week old Havapoo on Monday night who is 2 pounds. The breeder told us she would be potty trained to go outside and that is not the case. She has been paper trained and occassionally misses the paper. The breeder also told us that since she was so little she couldn’t be outside for more than 5 minutes (even with the sweater I have on her each time.) That’s just not working. I keep bringing her outside after her naps and after she eats with pieces of paper to the same spot each time and she just won’t go. We live in Buffalo and it is cold so she just shakes and tries to hide between my legs. I move my feet so she can’t hide by me and try not to watch her so that might prompt her to go outside but nothing. I’ve even tried picking her up and putting her on the paper and telling her “go the bathroom” in a stern voice when we go outside and still nothing. Any suggestions to help me get her to transition from going to the bathroom in the house to outside?

    1. Be patient. I understand it’s hard for little puppies to relax and focus enough to go to the bathroom outside when they are so cold. My neighbors (in Fargo ND) got a mini dachshund puppy last January. She was also very cold outside and had trouble going potty in the yard. They used going back inside as the reward for going potty outside. They used treats, too. So just keep bringing your puppy out, waiting a few minutes and rewarding her immediately with a treat when she does go. If you know she has to go and she won’t, then go back inside to warm up, but then head outside again very soon. Eventually, she should catch on. Try not to get upset with her if she is slow to go potty outside or if she has accidents in the house, even though it’s frustrating! Also, I like your idea of bringing the paper outside for now. That will give her something to stand on other than the snow and ice or cold ground. But if you haven’t already, I recommend you stop using the paper inside 100 percent. Always try to get her to go outside.

  14. Hi there,

    Just wanted to thank you for your posts. We got a 7 week old rottweiler puppy 2 days ago, we had already decided how to train her before we got her (i.e. ignoring her when she cries and howls and not making a fuss of her when we get home) and are implementing structure and slowly getting her used to being on her own too.

    We did find it extremely hard to justify ignoring her when she cries like she is in agony especially through the night – it has been comforting to read your posts and get confirmation that what we are doing IS right (sometimes it can feel otherwise) – I am now finding it easier to sleep at night 🙂

    It was also comforting to check on her at 2am last night and find her snuggled in her bed sleeping soundly (even though she did wake up at 4am and scream the house down lol).

    Keep with it everyone – it will work I’m certain! After just 2 days Cleo is getting used to making her own fun with her toys and settling herself down to sleep.

    So thanks for your advice and comfort-please keep posting.

    Zoe (& Cleo)

  15. Hi everyone

    My toy poodle puppy is 5 months now (we got him at 8 weeks) but I just wanted to share my potty training method -hope someone fiinds it helpful. He is in his playpen from 7:30 am till I arrive at 11:30 am to relieve him. He has potty pads in his pen area but he is averse to soiling his area.

    What I did was tie a bell to a long ribbon which hangs from the back door. For the next 3 days any time he touched the bell causing it to ring I would immediately use my clicker to let him know he was correct and immediately open the back door and step outside with him. Consistency was key to this excercise along with a lot of ” atta boy”
    We used a clicker and treats whenever he went potty outside.If he touched the bell but did not cause it to ring I did not open the door. I spent those 3 days leading him to the backdoor encouraging him to to ring the bell.

    You might think this the most tedious 3 day ever and I have to agree there,I was a glorified doorman but he no longer has accidents inside and my home does not smell like a urinal. We live in Seattle and on those very gray cold wet days the ringing of the bell is like music to my ears.

    At night he sleeps in his crate which in our bedroom and I have his crate as close to the door which leads from our room dirctly to the back yard and although he still wakes up nightly whimpering to go potty I walk him quickly to the door and when he bumps or touches the bell open the door out. I make minimal comversation and do not turn on lights and most nights I place him back in his crate with little more than a whimper or 3
    Now if I could only get him to stop chewing EVERYTHING.

    Hope someone finds this helpfull

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I see that this has worked well for you. Although it is not a method I see myself using, I see how it is appealing to some people. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Hi!!:) loved the info. I have a mixed dog (chihuahua/ Chorkie) and she is now 7 months old.. And she is my baby.. Who loves to sleep in the bed :/ but with a baby on the way my fiancé does not want her in the bed it’s reasonable but I have no idea how to properly train her because I’m too attach to her an don’t want to hurt her feelings… What would be the best method to train her??

    1. Wendy,im not Lindsey but i might be able to help a little yes,dogs have feelings but you said you are attached to your dog meaning your dog is probly attached to you as well so then that creates sepration anxitey whitch is not healthy for you or your puppy i would do what lindsey said buy a kennel or crate and leave for 20 minutes and come back when the dog is calm and not barking then come back and well let them know u are coming back.

  17. Hi Lindsay,
    I wish I found your website much sooner. I am a first time owner of a house dog and I live in an apartment. That means, I don’t have a garden that I can let my pup go to when it is time for him to relieve himself. He has a toilet which I can say, specifically for my pup to use.

    Anyway, my problem is that I had my pup back home with me for 10 days before I had to send him away to boarding for another 11 days. So, that didn’t give us much time to bond or reinforce a proper training. When i took him back home, he forgot his potty manners and created a huge mess around the house. Also, he was barking in the wee hours of the morning (which he never did before I send him for boarding) so much so I just realize (after reading your posts) I made a big mistake by bringing him into the room with me. Now, he spends his nights with me on the floor- which to me is very uncomfortable because I do not know when he will go. Yesterday it was his third night sleeping with me in the room and he hasn’t let go in the room (probably because he knows that’s his sleeping area). But he still soil himself everywhere in house, except the room I sleep in.

    Do u think it is too late for me to re-train him to use the kennel? He also tend to relieve himself in the kennel even after I place him in the bathroom to wee and poo before putting him back into the cage to sleep. Plus, he whines and barks more often that before. I know I’ve done most of the things wrong but after reading your articles, do you think he can change? Is it too late to retrain him to use the kennel? I plan to give all your tips a try as I am desperate to house train my pup. He’s now 6 months old. Please help.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Start from square one and be patient. Take him outside every hour for a bathroom break when you are home and leave him in a kennel when you are not home or when you can’t supervise. As he goes longer and longer without accidents, you can slowly wait longer between outdoor bathroom breaks.

  18. Great article and covers most of what I personally would have written. I would, however, also add:
    Limit access to toys:
    If you leave toys strewn around the house, then (a) they lose their value to the pup, and (b) play becomes less valuable as the pup can amuse himself much of the time. I leave just one toy out, and rotate it each day so he doesn’t get bored. However, you have to make up for the lack of toys with regular good quality training sessions and play.
    Reward calmness:
    I see so many people inadvertently reward their pup when he is in a state of excitement, and so he learns, over time, the way to get reward is to be excited. Make sure you reward your pup when he is just laying down and sitting down, particularly if he offers you eye-contact too.
    Regulate interaction with other dogs:
    I am very lucky in that I regularly board dogs in my home and so I can regulate how my pup interacts with other dogs. If you can’t regulate how your puppy interacts with other dogs, then I would argue that the interaction shouldn’t take place. The last thing you want is a puppy that learns to play with every dog it sees. Good luck getting a recall once you allow that to happen!
    If in doubt, just walk your puppy along streets where he or she will pass other dogs so that your pup learns to walk past and around other dogs. That is, after all, what most people need from their adult dog.
    Sorry, I didn’t see you had covered the toys in point 14.

  19. Hey Lindsay,
    I find your information very helpful, I appreciate all the time you have dedicated into your posts! I have always been around a family dog growing up and I’m now living on my own and found myself missing having a dog…my parents wouldn’t let me steal theirs ;o) the training at their house has always been a little lax, so I want to be sure to start off on a good note with my new little black lab retriever. He’s 8 1/2 weeks old and unfortunately didn’t have his first set of shots before picking him up a couple of days ago, so he’s behind in that regard but I took care of that today. Thankfully, he was kept outdoors in a pen area so is transitioning to a pen/kennel extremely well and does not have any accidents in his pen or kennel. He is in just the kennel at night and has access to it in his pen during the day while I’m at work so he can go in and out as he pleases which seems comforting to him. When I am home and watching him I am leaving the pen open and keeping a watchful eye on him, he has only had two accidents which I think is great, and it was probably more my fault than his. He is great at going outside, but here is my concern: I do live on the third floor of an apartment (which I don’t really mind going up and down to take him out) but I am having to go pretty out of the way to find a spot that I can only hope is not been contaminated by other dogs (I’m super paranoid about exposing him to parvo but don’t want to regress him to puppy pads since he already goes so well outside!) I do have a porch too but it has slats with small cracks in between and I don’t want him to think its ok going there but at the same time I am contemplating a fake grass pad for the porch to reduce his chances of parvo…any helpful tips in this regard? Also, I know his shots are supposed to be 4 weeks apart, would it be possible to do his second set in 3 weeks instead of 4? a family vacation is complicating the timing. One last question, I have heard both 12 and 16 weeks for when he is safe to be around spots other dogs have been; is it really 16 after all shots or is 12 reasonable? Thank you so much for taking the time!!

  20. Hi 🙂 I got my 11 week old frenchie yest, iv have stupidly let him on sofa, iv stuck to all other advice, when he’s tierd falling asleep should I put him in his crete??

    1. I think you should use the kennel but also as a safe haven i put mine in her kennel and then put a treat in it every once and a while and she has learned kennel is also associated whith good behavior. Hope i helped 🙂

  21. I Have gotten a german sheperd mixed whith lab and a little wolf in her she’s 5 weeks old and since you have dogs i was wondering if you could tell me,Should i give my 5 week year old puppy a de-worming shot even know she dosent have worms and also do you know how big they might get. Thanks.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I would talk to the vet about deworming. I am not sure what the proper procedure is. I assume most vets recommend a deworming just because worms are fairly common in puppies.

      I think your dog will end up being a good 80 pounds or more.

  22. Thanks so much for the terrific advice! You have helped me a lot! You put it in an easy to understand format too! I just got a 5 mo old toy poodle, she is a delight!

  23. I just found out that my Bella is a red pit and jack mix. How big can I expect her to get? Someone please give me any idea of measurements and pounds. Her markings are pure jack russell, but her she has a broad muscle span like the red pit. Her paws are small. She loves to burrow, like the jacks. I just have no idea.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      American pit bull terriers are around 50 pounds and Jack Russells are around 12, so probably anywhere in between that. If the dog has any other mix in there, that could also make a difference on the dog’s size.

  24. We bought an 8 week old springer spaniel yesterday and he is lovely but is already getting very anxious whenever he knows we are out of sight. This is making bedtime very difficult. We will hopefully start crate training him today but his whining is a big problem. This is not because we feel sorry for him, we’d love to be able to ignore him but we live in a terraced town house with neighbours who have kids on both sides. Basically, we can’t just let him howl on and on in the night if we want to stay welcome in the neighbourhood (we only moved in a month ago). At present we have opted for him sleeping in his bed in our room and getting up to put him out to potty every two hours. Hopefully some proper crate training will also work and we will talk to the neighbours about the issue. Any other advice though? Seriously, anything?! 🙂

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I agree, that is a challenge! I think if you work really hard to ignore the whining now, you can get it under control within a few days or weeks. The puppy will learn not to whine/cry if he is not acknowledge, as difficult as that is for the human at times.

      I would definitely speak with your neighbors and tell them you are working on the problem.

      Have you seen these posts?

      http://www.thatmutt.com/2013/03/13/how-to-stop-a-puppy-from-crying/

      http://www.thatmutt.com/2012/01/29/how-to-stop-a-dog-from-barking-in-the-morning/

  25. Thanks Lindsay. Yes, I had read those posts and, to be honest, I think it was just a bad first night. He is now making great progress. He loves his crate and slept fairly happily until 7a.m. today. We have started taking him into the garden at intervals of 2 hours during the night and I think that has really helped. He’s a quick learner so I am hoping we will be able to increase those intervals pretty soon. I spoke to the neighbours and apparently they haven’t even heard him!

  26. Just found your site and really hoping you still see these comments! I have to say this site has been incredibly helpful, so thank you! My husband and I just brought our new German Shepard mix puppy home yesterday. I am keeping him in a “play pen” and hoping he learns to sleep in there too. Last night he peed his little bed outside of the pen, but I blame myself for not checking up as often (as in barely once). I moved him to the play pen after the accident and woke up to some droppings. We immediately took him to his pee crate and he went, treated after as a reward. Question: we live in an apartment and because of his shots schedule we can’t have him outside where other dogs relieve themselves. I’ve been walking him to the pee crate also inside our apartment- with what I would say is 50% success. Is it ok to have his bed in the play pen area (I want him to have space to move since he doesn’t go outside) as long as I continue to do my best to catch accidents and encourage going? Sometimes I take him and he doesn’t go and he whines so I put him back in play pen. I don’t want him to view the pee pen as “punishment” if he doesn’t go every time… Thank you so much and I will be reading all archived blog posts!

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