Dog, Tips

Tips For A New Puppy

Happy hump day friends! In the comments on Monday, Tracy asked me for tips on a new puppy since she just got an 8 week old pup. After typing out a long email (sorry girl!) I thought I’d compile my tips into a blog post as well. In an attempt to keep it short, I’m using bullet points and have it sorted based on categories. If you get a puppy or are thinking about it I hope these tips can help you out!

Before we jump in though, please keep in mind that I’m not an animal expert. This is just from the experience we’ve had with Bailey so far. When we picked her up, she was 14 weeks and is just shy of 6 months. Technically she’s still a puppy but we’ve gotten past some major hurdles that happen when puppies are really young.

Potty Training


  • Make them go outside from the start. Dogs get used to the texture in a place they pee so if you use potty training pads, then your puppy may have a hard time going outside.
  • Give LOTS of praise and a treat when they go outside. Alex and I have had success with Crazy Dog brand of treats and there’s a few flavors.
  • If they go inside, yell “NO” and clap to startle the puppy before bringing them outside immediately.
  • To clean up accidents, I find stains don’t occur if you blot them with a rag (if on carpet), spray Resolve pet stain remover and after sitting for a few minutes blot with a rag to remove the scent and any residual liquid. For tile or wood, wiping up the pee is sufficient.

Crate Training

Bailey With Lamb

  • Due to space constrictions, Bailey has always slept near us in the bedroom in her crate. We always leave one toy with her at night just in case she wakes up. Aside from waking us up the first night to go to the bathroom, she never cried at night which was just dumb luck for us.
  • Train them to go into the crate as their safe space. Never put them in the crate as punishment as they will associate the crate with something bad.
  • Use treats to get the puppy walking into the crate on their own from the beginning. We tell Bailey to go to bed and would put a treat in there until she learned what “go to bed” meant and doesn’t need a treat.
  • The first few times Alex worked from home, he put her in the crate to make calls so he didn’t have to worry about accidents. Bailey would whine a bit and try to get his attention. Instead of giving in and letting her out, we let her cry it out and would occasionally “go to the bathroom” so she would see that we were there but she had to get used to being in bed.

Basic Commands


  • Give them time to adjust! It’s a new home, new people and new schedule to learn. Don’t start training right away. Except for going to the bathroom. Definitely start right away with that.
  • Instead of long sessions daily, Bailey responded best to short intervals (5-10) minutes that we would do twice a day every 3 times a week. Alex read multiple articles as well as Youtube videos that included studies to show how dogs respond best to this.
  • Start with the basics! Sit, stay and lie down are great commands to know.
  • When the command is followed give praise and a treat so the puppy knows that it’s a good thing. Positive reinforcement is the name of the game!
  • Use hand signals for the commands. Alex and I had a lot of success with this. Determine what hand signals will be for which command and stick with it. The hand signals helped her listen to my family giving commands when we visited them.



  • When you leave, give your dog some toys to keep in their crate. We give Bailey 2 toys when we go to work. Sometimes I will give her 3 when I go for runs in the afternoon if I feel particularly guilty about leaving her again haha.
  • Determine ahead of time if you want to dog to be on your furniture. For example, we don’t have an expensive couch or anything right now nor do we feel attached to it. We know that in a few years, we’ll be buying a nicer one which we don’t want Bailey to ruin so she isn’t allowed on the couch unless once of us has a weak moment and picks her up.
  • Be consistent! We feed Bailey first thing in the morning and at 4 pm. After a week or so, she figured out to expect food then since her body had become accustomed. Even when we were traveling to my parents for Memorial Day her schedule was the same.


If you’re getting a puppy and want more in depth tips or to know more about our experience, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Question of the day: If you have a dog, what’s one of your best tips for a puppy?

12 thoughts on “Tips For A New Puppy”

  1. Great tips! I used those puppy pads for my first dog Rhett eons ago and it was a big mistake. Needless to say we did not use them for Makena.
    You got so lucky on her sleeping– Makena woke up in the middle of the night to go out for 4 MONTHS!!!


    1. I originally wanted to use the pads but Alex/articles/videos convinced me not to and I’m so glad we didn’t! I would rather clean up some accidents.

      We got so lucky with Bailey and sleeping. Even Alex’s parents who have had 4 dogs were shocked she only woke us up once. I’m pretty sure at one point they thought we were lying about it lol.


  2. consistency is key. just like with children. you need to learn to use the same words and tone every time you give the command as well. One more tip I have for “potty training” take them out first thing in the morning, right after each feeding, before bed and before you leave to go anywhere in the beginning. Praise them let them sniff around for a bit and then have them come back in. If they get distracted by playing, especially very young pups, they will forget that this is the place I go the bathroom and think of it as the place to play. Use the same door to go out and use a specific word each time. My dogs are trained to go “outs”.


    1. I can totally see how a puppy is like a young child now. Granted I don’t have kids but even from babysitting. If I would use a different word/phrase than the parents it would confuse the child. That’s exactly what we do for potty training her! Depending on how long we’re gone, we take her out right when we get home as well. Thanks for sharing your input 🙂 I appreciate it since Bailey is still a puppy so there’s more work to do.


  3. Excellent advice and routines are important!!!! For potty training, we were outside almost every 20-30 minutes. We always went right before and after naps as well as meals. We socialized Shelbie pretty early on with familiar dogs or dogs with either good manners or ones who would tolerate a little pup.


  4. Great tips!! Speaking of a schedule, I thought I’d share my experience as a warning. When our dog was still a puppy, we started to train for a marathon in the morning and get up at 5 AM, take the dog out, feed her, then head to the gym. 3 years later and she still wakes up at 5 AM to eat breakfast!! Luckily, my husband gets up for work that early but their schedule when they are pups will stick!! Be warned.


    1. We both get up around 5:30 for work so it works out that Bailey eats around 6. She’s still in a crate so even if she tries to wake up early on weekends, she can’t wake us up. But good to know! We may have to start pushing her feeding time back a bit for when she’s not in a crate.


  5. Great tips, Maureen! I’m sure this will be really helpful for new puppy owners. We always leave toys in the crate with Kona as well and I think it helps her behave better.


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