Now that the holidays and cold winter weather are behind us, we can look toward spring with our new puppy. Puppies can be a great addition to a family, however, there are certain challenges that most owners are not prepared for. What is a new puppy owner to do when their new family member starts mouthing their pant legs, chasing their feet, barking, soiling the house and not listening to a word they say? The answer is: train your puppy. The key is to use simple, fair and effective techniques that you can implement and your puppy can understand.

Here are three simple tips to follow:

Quick Housebreaking—I always encourage puppy owners to get their dog housebroken as quickly as possible. There are not many other things that frustrate owners more than a dog that soils in the house. That’s why I have a specific housebreaking protocol that is clear and concise for new dog owners to follow. It all starts with setting you and your puppy on a predictable schedule.  Start with small intervals for letting your dog outside to the bathroom and gradually increase from there. Once the housebreaking issues are behind you, then you can begin truly enjoying your puppy without the worry and hassle of frequent accidents.

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Clear Rules and Structure—Dog’s thrive on structure and routine. By setting clear rules, boundaries and structure, we are able to establish great habits for our dog that will last a lifetime.  Consider having your puppy sit before entering and exiting the doorway of the home. Maybe you don’t want your new puppy jumping on furniture or guests, and make sure not to reinforce begging at the table during meal times. These are just a few items to consider.

Begin Training NOW—There is no reason to put off training your puppy on the basics. You can begin teaching your puppy obedience commands, how to come when called, and how to walk nicely on a leash. It is not unrealistic to have a well-trained puppy before they reach six months old when using a safe, fair and effective training system. 

The sooner you begin implementing these three simple tips, the sooner you will be able to fully enjoy your new family member.

Steve Reid is a certified dog trainer and owner of S.R. Dog Training in Somers. For more information about S. R. Dog Training, visit or call 914-774-7654.