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Did you recently adopt a puppy? Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! You have so much to teach your new best friend to ensure a happy home for everyone. Luckily, the student at the end of the leash is eager to please, so the best time to start training is now. Begin with the basics—crating and potty training. Here are some useful tips for succeeding at each one.

Crate Training

Teaching your puppy to love the dog crate makes life easier for everyone. Here’s how to get started:

  • Set up the crate properly: Choose a crate that’s large enough for your dog to comfortably stand and turn around in once they’re fully grown. Then, place the crate in a common area so your dog doesn’t end up banished to the basement or garage while crated.
  • Use treats: Leaving the door wide open, place treats inside the crate for your puppy to find. Continue this introductory phase until your puppy enters the crate without hesitation.
  • Serve meals and offer playtime: Help your dog learn that fun things happen in the crate!
  • Gradually increase crating time: Start by giving your dog a busy toy in the crate and shutting the door for 15 minutes. Stay close by at first. Then, gradually increase to longer crating periods and leaving the room while the crate door is shut.
  • Don’t over-crate: Avoid crating your pet for hours on end, especially when they’re still young. After all, a 10-week-old puppy needs potty breaks every two hours.

Potty Training

Helping your dog learn to potty outside requires patience, supervision, and good timing. Keep in mind that it can take up to six months to fully housetrain a puppy. Start the process with these tips:

  • Establish a routine: Make a habit of taking your dog outside after every meal, nap, and play session, as well as before and after crating.
  • Supervise: Keep your pup crated when you can’t provide supervision, and set up gates to prevent them from wandering around and having accidents.
  • Learn your puppy’s tells: Is your dog scratching at the door or acting distracted? Recognizing these early “got to go” signals can help prevent accidents.
  • Use treats: Once outside, lead your dog to a familiar spot, wait for them to do their business, and offer an immediate reward. Don’t wait until you’re back inside, or the treat loses its meaning.
  • Never punish your puppy for accidents: Successful puppy training teaches your dog what they should do, not what they shouldn’t

Along with praise-filled training sessions, give your pup the healthiest start possible by signing up for a puppy care package at Reed Animal Hospital. This includes two wellness exams, all vaccinations, expert nutritional advice, 10 percent off spay/neuter services, and more! For questions about our puppy care packages, please call us in Campbell, CA at 408-369-1788 or in Saratoga, CA at 408-647-2906. You can also reach out to us online.