Before picking your puppy up, you need to sit down with your family to get everyone on the same page. I understand Santa may be bringing the puppy, but even Santa Clause is prepared. Every family member should understand the household rules for your new puppy and their personal responsibilities.
You need to crate train this puppy from day 1, and there is no discussion. It’s not a jail for the puppy, and it’s normal for them to whine, make sure you aren’t humanizing your dogs behavior, this can be detrimental. Don’t coddle or encourage this behavior. Your puppy needs to end up sleeping 16-18 hours a day for normal development, and should spend their time sleeping in the crate, creating a clear understanding, and a good association within the dog crib. Crate them at night, for meals that aren’t hand fed, naps throughout the day, and times where you can’t keep your eye on them.
Teach your kids how to properly interact with the dog. How to pet, feed treats, not pull on their ears etc. We also need to teach our children that when dogs are sleeping, we don’t go up to them and pet them. We don’t fuss with the dog as soon as we come home, and we never put our fingers into the dogs bowl, or crate.. Also, don’t let your puppy use your kids as a giant toy. Teach important relationship games like fetch, tug, and training instead.
Get your dog comfortable on a leash, and use it not only outside, but inside too! Remember the leash is not an outside tool, its a communication tool.
Feeding time is a very intimate time, and use it to your advantage. Hand feed your puppies kibble during training sessions. Condition your dog to a verbal reward marker, (clicker or yes) teach them sit, down, crate, place, at a young age. Using their meal will create a dog who is food motivated, and wants to work to get payed.
Puppy proof your house. The easiest way to teach your puppy not to chew your shoes, is to not leave the shoe down in the first place.
Use baby gates to isolate the puppy in the same room with you at all times. Puppies that are out of your sight, are doing something wrong, every damn time!
Socialize and Expose your puppy to all different types of people, locations, scents, surroundings, dogs, and so on. This should be top on your priority list!
Take your dog for car rides and get them accustomed to going places with good associations. Get your puppy in the car in the driveway, just creating existence with the car.
Practice grooming your dog. Trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, brushing their hair and teeth etc. get them used to being touched and handled.
Find a good veterinarian in your area. This is a place where, hopefully, you will only have to go a handful of times throughout your dogs life. Make sure you are comfortable with them, and they are a good fit for you.
Call Say It Once Dog Training if you’re in Pittsburgh or Wilmington. Do a virtual session if you’re around the world.
Take your puppy out to the bathroom every time they wake up from a nap, after they eat, drink water, get done playing with you, or breathe. When they potty outside, reward immediately. This means you need to have the treats with you when you go outside.
Do not give your dog full run of the fenced in yard right away. Limit their freedoms, and reward them with more freedom as they mature. It’s easier than giving them everything and then getting pissed when they don’t listen.
Jumping and biting aren’t cute when your puppy is a giant ass dog. Don’t encourage the behavior at a young age.
Teach waiting at thresholds early. Waiting to come out of their crate until calm (2 seconds to start) walking out a door, getting their food.
Avoid the dog park. You know my thoughts on this.
PRACTICE HEALTHY SEPARATION! You should not spend all day next to your dog, that will create a terribly unhealthy relationship down the road. This is where separation anxiety starts.
Have fun, and understand you just made a commitment for 15 years. If you put in enough work the first year, it will make the next 14 seem like a cake walk. This animal coming into your house will change your life, will save you on the days where you don’t feel like moving, make you laugh when you are ready to cry, bring joy and happiness into every simple moment. Love them like a family member, and be a responsible dog owner, not just a dog lover.