New Puppy Tips

"Let us out! We're sorry. How were we supposed to know that was a new couch?"

"Let us out! We're sorry. How were we supposed to know that was a new couch?"

Bringing a New Puppy Into Your Home

Bringing a new puppy into your home is never easy (…unless you buy a trained puppy from Smiling Dog!). Keep in mind that a puppy is puppy until they are at least a year old. Don’t be in a big hurry to give your new puppy complete run of the house until he’s earned it. If you run into a situation where your new puppy poops in the house or chews a hole in your new leather couch, here’s what you do. Grab the nearest newspaper you can find and roll it up nice and tight. Once it’s nice and tight and shaped like a club, take that newspaper and hit yourself in the head over and over again. Hopefully, this will teach you to pay closer attention to your new puppy and not give him as much freedom as you have. Puppies can only get into trouble if we let them. The following are some general tips you should think about when your new puppy arrives.

Embrace the crate.
The crate is your best friend. The crate is a safe place for your puppy when you can’t keep a close eye on him or her. While it may be tempting to have a cute puppy sleep on your bed, don’t do it. Get them used to sleeping in their crate from the first night on. You may have to sleep with a pillow over your head the first night or two, but do it. It will be well worth it in the long run. The crate isn’t a forever type of thing. Use it until your puppy can be trusted.

Freedom should be earned.
Let your puppy earn his place in the pack. Letting a new puppy on your furniture, your bed or have free run of the house is a big mistake. Bad habits are formed when you are on the phone, watching TV or otherwise not paying attention. At Smiling Dog, for most of the first month our puppies are either in their crate or on a leash when they are in the house. This teaches them that when they are inside the house, they need to be calm and under control. Once you can trust your puppy not to use your house as a toilet or your new leather chair as a chew toy, you can start to gradually give them more and more freedom.

Be the Leader of the Pack.
Dogs are pack animals. The most important thing for a dog is to know his place in the pack. They don’t care where in the pack they are; they just want to know where they are. It is important to recognize the signs of dominance and to correct them when your pup is trying to be dominant over you or anyone in your family.

Use positive reinforcement.

To a puppy, positive reinforcement can be many things. It can be a tasty treat. It can be a scratch on the head or a simple sweet voice saying, “Good Puppy.” When your puppy is being good, give them all the positive reinforcement you want. Be careful not to give positive reinforcement when your puppy is exhibiting unstable or nervous behavior. A perfect example of this is an owner trying to calm their puppy when it is scared or nervous. By giving positive reinforcement to a scared or nervous puppy, you are actually telling the puppy its OK for them to be scared or nervous. What you should really do is to totally ignore them while they are in this state.

Challenge bad behavior.
Jumping, nipping and running around the house with your underwear in their mouth is cute when it’s a puppy doing it. Not so cute when it’s a full-grown dog. The sooner you let your dog know the Pack Leader doesn’t approve of that behavior the sooner it will end.


Puppies aren’t perfect and neither are puppy owners. Having a new puppy in the house is an experience the whole family should enjoy. If you find your experience more closely resembles a CIA water boarding, then I suggest you call a professional trainer to help turn your experience into a  positive one. The good news is, when given the proper reinforcement all puppies are trainable. The bad news is, not all puppy owners are. If you have any questions about your new puppy, contact us at

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