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What Rules to Teach a Puppy First? – 6 Ideas

This post is about what I planned to teach my puppy Remy right away. Of course, nothing ever goes as smoothly as I hope but this is at least an outline.

Weimaraners are known to be clumsy, nosy, high-energy dogs that generally like to be with their humans. Like, right on their humans!

They are smart but they can also get needy, bored and destructive. I hear they can be barkers and somewhat protective. Oh, and they have a high prey drive.

Why did I sign up for this again?

6 rules to teach a puppy or new dog

I wanted a running buddy? Seemed like a good idea at the time! 🙂

I already wrote about tips for raising the perfect puppy. Here are 6 basic rules and behavioral concepts to begin teaching a puppy right away, in no particular order.

(This is just my list. It wouldn’t necessarily be the best list for your puppy.)

6 Rules to Teach a Puppy or New Dog

1. Being alone is no big deal.

Remy needed to learn to be comfortable waiting in his crate for a few hours while home alone.

Since Josh and I work from home, we still had to make sure to leave for at least 45 minutes every day while Remy was in his crate. That way he realized we leave from time to time and it’s no big deal. This has to start right away.

I also put him in his crate for an hour or two and ignored him while I was home a few times per day. I’m still trying to teach him my life doesn’t revolve around him (but let’s be honest, it pretty much does).

If you don’t use crates/kennels, it’s still important to get the dog used to being alone in the yard or in a bedroom or wherever you plan to leave him regularly. One option is a baby gate blocking the pup in a kitchen or bathroom.

See my post: How to prevent separation anxiety in dogs.

2. Not whining for attention.

My older dog Ace will whine whenever he wants something. This is frustrating, and I know I’ve made the problem worse by acknowledging him for whining.

I tend to pet him or … scold him, but either one is attention as far as Ace is concerned! It’s best to just ignore.

I need to work on this big time with Remy so I don’t end up with two “whiners.” I already told Ace I don’t want two “puppies”! I’ve done a good job not acknowledging Remy when he cries so far. He’s learning that throwing a tantrum results in nothing.

3. Not jumping on people.

Some dog owners allow their dogs to jump on people. I find this completely unacceptable and will be trying my best to put a stop to Remy’s jumping before he grows up.

Right now we mostly ignore him when he jumps and we keep him on a leash when we need to manage him easier. I’m also using treats and rewarding him for sitting for one second.

Now that he’s 50 pounds+, I have to be firm with him, walking into his space if he jumps and using a firm “NO.”

See my posts:

How to stop a dog from jumping

Stop a puppy from biting.

4. Potty training outside.

Obviously the potty training was top priority the first few weeks in addition to socialization and learning the basics like his own name, sit and come.

My skipped the indoor pee pads or newspapers and took Remy directly outside every hour (when he wasn’t in his kennel) and then after a week or two it was every 2 hours.

I see no reason for puppy pee pads or newspapers. The do not help teach the dog to “hold it.”

5. Doing something new every single day.

It’s important to get the puppy used to as many situations as possible. It’s helpful to list out everything you want your adult dog to be comfortable with and start doing those things right away.

This could be meeting new types of people and dogs, visiting new places like the vet or groomer, riding in the car, seeing skateboarders and bikers or hearing loud noises like trains, thunder or guns.

It also means getting him used to having his feet, ears, nails and tail touched, having a bath, getting brushed, being held and cradled, etc.

A couple of new things Remy tackled his first week with us:

  • Car ride
  • Riding in the elevator
  • Going up stairs
  • Standing on scary tiled floors
  • Walking on busy sidewalks with loud traffic
  • Adapting to life in an apartment with us, Ace & the cats!

See my post: Socialization tips for dogs and puppies

6. Taking things away and rewarding.

I don’t want my puppy to bite anyone who goes near his food, including other dogs.

From day one I planned to do some hand feeding, and I also wanted to make sure to approach Remy’s bowl, touch his food, remove it, add extra yummy goodies, etc., so it’s no big deal that others approach.

With highly valued chews and toys, I also made sure to them away and then give them right back or to take them away and give something even better.

My dog Ace snarls and snaps at other animals that approach his food or bones (thankfully, not at people), so I want to do all I can to prevent Remy from developing the same behavior.

See my post: How to prevent a dog’s possessiveness

What else should be on this list?

Let me know in the comments!

A few other things I find most important are:

– Teaching beginning obedience commands like sit, stay and come.

– Teaching the puppy not to barge through doorways. I should be able to leave my front door open momentarily and dogs should respect that boundary.

Sandy Weinstein

Saturday 23rd of April 2016

what a cutie pie. enjoy! good list for new dog owners and even older ones getting a new dog/pet..


Monday 18th of April 2016

Good list. We never master the jumping thing because Mom wants to be jumped on so she lets it slide, but as we get older, we kind of figure out others don't like it like she does!

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 18th of April 2016

Haha! Yep, you pick your battles.


Monday 18th of April 2016

The jumping can take awhile. Remy might learn pretty quickly he isn't supposed to jump, but the impulse control might be slower. It was always so funny yet sad to watch my dog's thought process - "I'm so excited, but I KNOW good puppies keep all four paws on the ground, but someone's home and it's a party and I just have to jump! ...oops." She picked up on the meaning of "four paws" quickly but the impulse control and follow through came later. Thank goodness she didn't greet visitors like that!

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 18th of April 2016

Seems so hard for some (most) dogs not to jump! Ace was never a jumper. His body is too "top heavy." Ha.


Sunday 17th of April 2016

I just about fainted when my new puppy first barked at me when I didn't give him a treat fast enough. Excuse me?! Who do you think you're barking at, mister?! He's also quite a whiner so we're working very hard on #2. I definitely never scold him for whining because every time I've scolded him for anything (mostly chewing on my blankets/rugs) he just runs over tail wagging happily like, "NO BAD DOG" means, "let's play"! I also haven't gotten brave enough to go from hourly potty breaks to every-2-hour potty breaks yet, and he's 3 months old now. He does sleep through the night now, though, which is wonderful.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 18th of April 2016


Julia at Home on 129 Acres

Sunday 17th of April 2016

Taking things away and rewarding is on my list. When we give Bax a bone to chew, we sometimes have trouble taking it away from him. I'm working on taking it and giving it right back, but there were still some grumbles that I didn't like this weekend, so it made me think of you and Remy. Glad to hear you're already working on this.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 17th of April 2016

Oh Bax! Lots of dogs seem to do the same.