Puppies, similar to human children, do a great deal of figuring out how to do things during their initial months, particularly when it comes to exploring their new environment and taking on good habits. Making their puppy feel safe, house training, and learning to stay are some of the most important tasks a new owner must take on when they acquire a furry friend.

As pet parents, we’ve all dealt with the task of teaching our dogs to help them adapt to our ways of living, it can be a time-consuming task to take on your own, especially if you´re not an expert. That’s why we’ve gathered a group of professional dog trainers to help you with the most common questions new pet parents have, from potty training to puppy nutrition.

Training tips

When should dog training start? 

The short answer to the above question is simple.  Training starts as soon as you bring a new dog into your life.  This is true when you bring a brand-new puppy or an adult dog or even a senior pooch into your home.

Puppy training can commence when the pup is around eight weeks old. At this age, they can start to learn basic skills.  Puppies begin their learning process as soon as they are born.

Puppies have short attention spans, so training periods should be kept to thirty seconds to five minutes at each interval.

When we speak about “training,” what we are talking about is any experience likely to teach the dog something.  For example, when the dog goes to the bathroom in your backyard, and you praise the dog, that’s a learning experience and “training.” So is encouraging and rewarding your puppy when they chew on one of their toys and not your shoe.

Training can continue throughout their lives.  At 12 to 16 weeks, they can start puppy training programs which is sometimes called puppy kindergarten or Puppy K.

Puppy K is mostly about socialization and the start of a slightly more formal approach to teaching your dog to learn basic commands (AKA Cues).   Most pet parents quickly learn that training classes or private lessons with a dog trainer are as much about training them as teaching the puppy.

We are often asked if it’s possible to train older dogs.  Can an old dog learn new tricks?  The answer is a resounding yes, and in fact my pet parents report amazing experiences taking an older dog to obedience classes even when the dog is already trained.  Obedience training not only teaches new skills to dogs who have never learned how to listen to humans, but also act as refresher training for dogs who know the ropes.

The best way to train your dog is to start by learning how to train them yourself.  You can do this by taking dog training classes and working with a professional dog trainer.   An interesting thing happens to some folks who train their dogs.  Many find it rewarding and some like it so much they wonder if it is possible to train professionally and if yes, how they would go about learning to become a professional dog trainer.

At Animal Behavior College, you can learn how to train your dog, and get certified in dog training, which can help you to enjoy a variety of animal career options.  You could even volunteer to help train dogs at animal shelters, which may help them get adopted faster. This program also includes training and certification in pet CPR and first aid, which is also something a new dog parent should know.

-Jeanne Wells from Animal Behavior College

On average, how long does it take to train a puppy? 

That would depend on the breed of puppy, its temperament, and what you plan to do with the puppy. Large breed active dogs might need training for the first few years of life. Most young dogs need plenty of exercise. Active dogs love having a job. Continued training keeps the dogs sharp and interested. I think of training as more of a lifestyle than something that ends.

I have Giant Schnauzers. They are very smart, active, and will take charge if the owner does not. I compete in obedience, conformation, and a few other sports. So my dogs are trained from 3 weeks old on. I have dogs that are several years old that are continuing their training up the levels.  

-Deer Creek Animal Hospital

How long does it take to potty train a puppy?

It depends on your puppy – and you. How dedicated are you to being with your puppy round the clock? What is your strategy? With a solid crate training and watching regimen, you have the greatest chance of success. If you two are working together consistently and staying in a relatively confined space, your likelihood of efficient, successful training increases. In a crate, a dog can hold its bladder and bowels for its age in months + one (so, if your dog is three months old, it will likely – if well trained – be able to “make it” for four hours). With dedication and patience, the average puppy will likely be trained in 7-10 months.

Philly Unleashed

What’s the easiest way to crate train a puppy?

Crate training can do a lot to teach young puppies their boundaries. It’s an essential part of housebreaking and taps into a canine’s instincts. Dogs prefer to have cozy “safe spaces” that they can retreat to when things get stressful. Because no animal wants to turn their relaxation spot into a den of filth, they will do their best to avoid accidents and destructive behavior.
The key to proper crate training is to make it as comfortable and inviting as possible. Get creative and go all out! Add a nice bed, some cozy blankets, and fun toys. Anything that entices your dog to get inside is a big plus.

After gently introducing your pup, coax them in with some treats and positive language. Let them investigate on their own and encourage them to climb in when they see fit. You don’t want to force anything or dive head-first into hours of confinement. Build up to it!
Let your puppy spend some time in there with the door wide open. Then, try providing some meals and play toys with the door closed. Start with small 10-minute sessions alone before gradually increasing their crate time. Before long, your puppy should have no problem staying in a crate for several hours while you’re away.

The most important part of crate training is to keep it positive! Don’t turn the crate into a punishment zone. Otherwise, your canine companion will never want to get in! Keep things light and introduce some verbal commands as they meander inside. You want to use positive reinforcement to ensure that your puppy feels good about entering and staying.

Daily Dog Stuff

Does having another trained dog at home help training a puppy? 

So as long as your older dog has been well-trained and has a solid bond with you, it can make training a puppy that much easier. Dogs are pack animals that instinctively pick up behaviors from other dogs in their pack, so a new puppy will learn a lot from the actions of your older dog. In this sense though, it can help to assess the current behaviors of your older dog thoroughly and address any necessary changes ahead of time. Just like older siblings teach younger children both good and bad habits, so too can dogs.

As well as the puppy naturally observing and mimicking your older dog in general, you can also proactively use your already trained dog to demonstrate behaviors and responses that you wish to teach your pup. When they see another dog being rewarded for positive behaviors it can only increase their desire to follow suit.

It is also helpful to consider picking complementary breeds though. Matching a tiny, snappy dog with a large rambunctious dog and expecting harmony is a tall order, and whilst they may form a firm friendship, in the end, the likelihood of injury is high. It also typically helps to go for the opposite sex when bringing a new puppy into the mix.

That said, your new dog will have its own personality and unique temperament, so it’s important not to expect to identically clone the responses of your older dog into the new addition. Give them time and consistent teaching and otherwise let them be themselves!

Our Fit Pets

How should you house train a puppy?

Clever humans house train puppies remembering that they are dogs, and they are babies. House training is a human requirement, and not a dog’s natural behavior. A new puppy needs help knowing where is “good to go” and where isn’t! So, we decide on their toilet place, use positive reinforcement and give them plenty of opportunities to visit that designated toilet area, wait with them whilst they go in the right place then party with them (including great snacks) when they do. Every two hours,  plus after sleeping, drinking,  playing, and eating are all good times to take them out – if they toilet indoors YOU are getting it wrong and you need to be better! Clever humans don’t punish puppies, after all, we were in nappies for ages before we learned and if we consider that, even the slowest learning puppy is way quicker than we were. 

 –Canine Principles 

Best age to start leash training a puppy?

The first thing to know about leash training a puppy is patience. You may be asking yourself how soon you can leash train your puppy. I’m a dog trainer, not a veterinarian so be sure to run health questions by your vet. From my experience, you can train an 8-week old puppy leash but you must start off with the proper first step, this is crucial. This is because most puppies will protest the new and strange feeling of the collar on their neck. To make it no biggie to the pup you need to teach leash pressure. This simply means conditioning the puppy that when it feels slight pressure to go with it not against it. If this foundational training isn’t done you will get a puppy that puts the brakes on when it walks, alligator rolls at the end of the leash or hops up and down.

Most new puppy owners stop the leash pressure drill once the pup protests but this is where the patience comes in. Relax, take a deep breath, bend down, sound inviting to the pup, and give a treat once the dog comes towards you. 

World of Dog Training 

What different kinds of training are there for puppies? 

There are a few different kinds of training you’ll want to do with your new puppy. The first, and by far the most important, is socializing! Puppies’ brains are like sponges, and they are learning all about their world. They are learning what is safe, and what is unsafe. To ensure that our puppies grow up to be confident and joyful adults, we want our puppies to learn that people of all shapes and sizes are good news. Expose your puppy—carefully and with a lot of food rewards—to as many people as you can. You’ll also want your pup to learn that the sounds and sights of their new home and city are safe and predict threats.  

 You’ll also need to house-train your puppy. Take them outside every few hours to start, giving them time to go. When they do, reward them with a nice treat to say “thanks for making the right call!”. When you’re inside, have your puppy either under your direct supervision, or contained in a puppy-proof space to prevent inside messes.

 And finally, you’ll want your puppy to start to develop good chew-toy habits. Prevent access to anything that isn’t a chew toy using either supervision or a puppy-proof pen in your home, and give them a nice supply of different chew toys to experiment with. Once you see what your pup likes, stock up! We want to develop good, strong chew toy habits before we start allowing our puppies more access to our homes.

Kristi Benson Dog Training 

When you is the best time to start potty training?

Puppies younger than 12 weeks don’t have good control over their bladder and bowels. In fact, for the first few weeks, the mother licks her puppies to stimulate them to go to the bathroom.

However, once your puppy is between 12 -16 weeks, they’re ready for housetraining, and you should start as soon as possible. Allowing puppies to become comfortable with eliminating in a cage/house will make potty training challenging.

Dog Vills

How to train a puppy not to bite?

Puppies bite for many reasons. One is too much pent-up energy. Puppies need lots of exercise. Make sure your puppy gets the proper amount of physical and mental exercise.

-Tether Tug 

Does the breed of a puppy affect training?

If you had to look at dog breeds and their effect on training, on the whole, the simple answer would be no. Puppy training methods have been crafted for dogs in general, regardless of size, breed, or temperament. However, with that being said, different breeds have varying tendencies which make some dogs easier to train than others so it’s important to keep this in mind. Luckily, training aids like The Door Buddy can make this journey easier for both you and your dog by assisting and creating boundaries. 

-The Door Buddy

What is the first thing you should train your puppy on?

So it’s day 1 it’s just you and your puppy’s first day in your home. The first thing you should teach your pup is all good things come from his new human family members! These good things are food and praise! So make sure you feed them from your hands and not the bowl! Make sure you show them love in your tone of voice, pleasant petting, and touching!

Now you’re off to a great start!


How can I train a blind dog?

A blind dog is very trainable. There are definitely more challenges when senses are impaired but a blind dog’s smell and hearing are going to be key to training. Dogs need consistency and repetition to understand. 

I personally would use treats or a clicker for reward, voice commands (very clear simple words), and physical touch to show him/her the desired action. I would always use a leash when in public and steer clear of the electronic collar until the dog understands the commands you are training. Once the dog understands the commands I would then capitalize on the use of the e collar and use vibrate and tone. 

-Pheasant Bonanza

How to potty train a puppy when you work full time? 

When I’m home and available, I set my timer and I take my dog to the correct potty spot on a regular schedule to ensure that she is in the right place when the need presents itself. I want to be present for as close to 100% as possible of all potties that occur so that I can praise and reward my dog for going in the right place. This way she will learn that it’s safe and rewarding to potty in front of me and won’t feel a need to sneak off and go in my closet when I’m not looking.

If you work out of the house all day and can’t be home every few hours to take your pup potty, there are options. One option is to hire a dog walker who can stop by 2-3 times per day to take your dog for a brief potty walk. Maybe a retired neighbor would be interested in walking your pup mid-day. Doggie daycares are great options for many dogs, especially those who are naturally social and enjoy spending time with other dogs.

If these options aren’t available to you, or at least not options for every day, then this is my favorite solution. It includes creating a space in the house that provides the dog a safe space to rest and play, have access to water and toys, and also an acceptable area on which the dog can potty without undermining the overall potty-training process. Easy, right?

After a week or so, you’ll find that your dog chooses an area far from the bed as their go-to potty spot in this confined area. After a week or so, you can make a little space (about 6 inches) between the bed and the nearest potty pad, so now there are about 6 inches of the floor exposed. Every few days as the dog shows consistency, you can expose a little more floor between the bed and the potty pads until you’re down to just 2 pads at the far side of the ex-pen.

-The Academy of Pet Careers

How can I train a deaf dog? 

First and foremost, recognize that your deaf puppy or dog is a very capable learner. The obvious difference is that you have to get your dog’s attention, i.e., get them to look at you in other ways as you cannot just throw your voice around.

With that in mind, as with hearing abled dogs, teaching basic obedience such as sit, down, stand, stay and come with visual cues (aka, hand signals) is a good place to start.  With your awareness of what your dog is willing to work for and an understanding and use of non-confrontational body language, training your deaf dog flows from there! 

-The Cooperative Dog

How difficult can it be to train dogs with disabilities?

Surprisingly, it is not difficult to train dogs with disabilities. Dogs are excellent at adapting to situations and appear not to be bothered by their disabilities.
The difficulty arises in being able to “think outside the box” about how to train these dogs.
A blind dog still has its sense of smell and sound as well as touch. You can use traditional training methods to teach commands, but using unique aromas can work to help this dog with its environment. By placing a few drops of essence, you can “show” the dog the difference between the front door and back door, what rooms it can and cannot go into, as well as where its toys are all can improve the dog’s life.

Very seldom are blind dogs taught to be off-leash since they have a diminished reaction time.
A deaf dog can learn hand signals for commands and feel you stomp on the floor to get its attention.
I have found it much easier to train deaf dogs since they seldom react to distractions around them, allowing them to concentrate more on training than on their environment.
Many times deaf dogs are trained using a stimulation collar and a morse code type signal for commands, including recall. Here again, these dogs should not be allowed outside independently due to reaction time to dangerous situations.

Knowing what the dog’s disabilities are will determine what training method to use to teach them. Then modifying how you go about training them provides them with a communication line toward achieving the results wanted.

Laura Pakis, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Cynologist at Acme Canine

How much water should a puppy drink during potty training?

A puppy should drink the same amount of water during potty training as during any other time in their life: however much they want.

Puppies, like all life forms, need water to survive and be healthy and they are very good at knowing how much water they need to drink. However, if you are using a crate to potty train your pup, which is by far the easiest way, then you should keep track of how much water your pup drinks and when, as well as how much your pup pees and when. If your pup drinks a great deal of water right before they go into their crate, and it’s been some time since your pup has gone pee, they will need a trip to their potty sooner than if they haven’t had much water lately or recently went pee.

-Dunbar Academy

What breeds are better to train for elderly people?

When finding the best fit for an older client, we take many things into consideration. A calmer German Shepherd can be an excellent companion, along with Golden retrievers, labradors, Standard poodles, Saint Bernards- just time name a few. 

-Taylor Made Working Dogs

Is every breed capable of training to be around small children or some are better than others?

There are many stereotypes when it comes to breeds in general.  Many of these stereotypes do not apply to the individual dog’s personality and temperament.  The considerations that may apply to breed are the size of the dog when fully grown and the typical energy level of that breed. What was that dog bred to do? There are some things we cannot/should not expect to change when it comes to genetics: For example, Herding dogs are likely to herd the children.  There are many breeds to consider in a home with children.  All dogs are capable of training but some breeds are more likely to do well.  Within those breeds, each dog should be considered as an individual.  I caution parents when choosing a dog based on breed alone.

-Animal Manners

Is it better to set a specific time to train my dog or does any moment of the day works?

No specific time is necessary. It can be at any moment of the day or broken up throughout the day. Short and fun sessions are the best! It is best to incorporate behaviors learned into everyday life to get your dog to generalize the behaviors.

-PetSuites of America

Is it better to train a puppy alone or with other dogs? 

The best environment in which to train your puppy depends a lot on his or her temperament. Group classes can be a valuable piece of your pup’s socialization process but how much actual training can you expect to be done? Very shy puppies often get overwhelmed and can go into shut-down mode while overly gregarious and rambunctious types may become over-excited and have difficulty controlling their impulses. Training your puppy individually has the advantage of allowing her to work in an environment without too many distractions that could sabotage your results and cause both of you to feel frustrated. You also get the added benefit of the trainer’s undivided attention.

Whichever route you choose it’s very important to know that behaviorists and modern trainers believe that proper socialization (meaning appropriate for your puppy’s personality – one size does not fit all) and establishing a relationship based on trust and love (as opposed to force and dominance) are the top priorities for very young puppies between the ages of 8-16 weeks to reach their potential as well-adjusted adult dogs. Of course, we want to teach them basic obedience commands but always remember that there’s a reason it’s called puppy kindergarten and not puppy college.

-The Trained Canine

How should I leave my puppy at home alone while training?

Training a puppy to occupy themselves and teaching them to be happy alone is a very important piece of advice that is often easily forgotten in the excitement of bringing home a puppy. Because of this, leaving your puppy behind can be a stressful experience for both owner and new furry friend. Here are some things to remember when leaving your pup at home for an afternoon:

  • Crate Your Puppy – Puppies are curious, putting your puppy in their crate while you are gone will ensure they don’t get into any mischief.
  • Provide Acceptable Bedding – Puppies like to chew! Make sure the bedding in their crate isn’t able to be destroyed or eaten!
  • Leave Safe Toys – Benebones, Kongs and other durable toys make great treats and distractions for your puppy while they are in their crate! Make sure they are size appropriate and cannot be swallowed.
  • Turn on the TV/Radio – Background noise can help keep your puppy calm!

As long as you take them out for a final bathroom break before you leave, following these steps should ensure you return home to a safe, happy, and energetic puppy!

Robert Thomas from Marvelous Dogs

What are the benefits of enrolling your puppy in training programs?

Puppy training classes are a great way for both you and your pup to pick up some essential skills. Your fur baby will learn a few basic commands, such as sit and stay, while you’ll develop the confidence needed to be an effective pack leader; someone your dog can trust and follow.

Puppy training classes are also beneficial because they will help socialize your new puppy. Simply being around other dogs and other people will help your fur baby feel comfortable around others. This will come in handy when you want to begin taking them to the doggie park or doggie daycare or have people over to your house.

And finally, enrolling your puppy in a training class will help strengthen the bond between you two. You will be working together as a team, growing and developing your own skills side by side. Spending so much time together will connect you in a very special way.

Jenna Bruce from Pet Insurance Review

How do I establish a consistent routine for feeding, potty breaks, and exercise?

“Routines should be created around someone’s work schedule/availability with a plan to feed and walk a dog at least twice daily if not more. Puppies should be fed three times a day. The best way to establish a routine is to use behavior management tools like gates, playpens, and crates where a dog guardian can confine their dog when they can’t supervise them. Generally, it’s ideal to feed a dog before a walk since feeding will stimulate them to relieve themselves.”

Alexandra Bassett from Dog Savvy Los Angeles

Security tips

Security is an important consideration when welcoming a new puppy into your home. It ensures the safety of your furry by preventing access to potential hazards, such as stairs or harmful substances. Beyond safety, security measures like cameras and alarms allow you to monitor your puppy’s behavior, aiding in effective training and behavior correction. Knowing that your puppy is in a secure environment provides peace of mind, reducing anxiety and enabling you to build a strong, trusting bond with your newest family member.

How do I prepare my house for a puppy?

Puppy proof your house by removing all tempting chew objects such as wires, shoes, and paper objects from reachable areas, as well as any dangerous objects such as glass or metal. Also, having an appropriate-sized kennel can provide a great foundation for potty training, preventing bad behaviors, and providing a comfortable safe place for your puppy to relax and stay under control. Start good habits early!

-KC Dawgz

How can I be better prepared for those inevitable puppy mishaps and accidents? 

Deciding to welcome a puppy into your home is filled with lots of emotions and you probably have already quickly fallen in love. No doubt you are doing all the great things pet parents should be doing to take care of your pet like providing a warm bed, training, lots of snuggles, and let’s not forget spoiling them with treats. But have you thought about how to handle a situation if your pup takes a tumble off the couch that results in more than just hurt emotions? Or what about that random sock that looks so yummy to your pup? You may find yourself unexpectedly at your local vet trying to decide how to best care for your pup and pay for the surprise vet bill. With more advances in vet health care procedures, thanks to advances in human health care, it’s common that a vet bill can be $1,500 or more.

Do yourself a favor and be prepared now by signing up for pet health insurance so you don’t have to make that hard financial decision in an emergency situation. TrustedPals makes it easy for you to pick plan options to fit your budget. Look to also enroll in a wellness option to take care of routine visits, such as what TrustedPals offers, which can cover things like spaying/neutering, preventative dental, and prescribed dog food.

Kelly Law, TrustedPals pet insurance

Patience is one of the most important things you must have when dog training. Be mindful of their effort and be consistent with them to make sure they learn the right way. It might take some time but it will be worth it in the end, both you and your pet will feel a lot more comfortable at home.

Mastering Obedience: Dog Training Tips and the Power of Apps

Training your furry friend is a rewarding journey that strengthens the bond between you and your canine companion. Fortunately, modern technology has made this process even more accessible and enjoyable through the use of dog training apps.

  1. Consistency is Key: Consistency is fundamental in dog training. Establish clear rules and expectations, and be consistent in enforcing them. Dogs thrive on routine, so make sure everyone in the household is on the same page regarding commands, rewards, and consequences.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool in dog training. Rewarding your dog with treats, praise, or playtime when they exhibit desired behavior encourages them to repeat it. This method helps create a positive association with the training process and strengthens the bond between you and your pet.
  3. Patience and Understanding: Training takes time, and every dog learns at its own pace. Be patient and understanding, and avoid punishment-based techniques. Consistent, positive interactions build trust, making the learning process enjoyable for both you and your dog.
  4. Clear Communication: Dogs are excellent at reading body language and tone of voice. Use clear, simple commands and gestures to communicate effectively with your pet. Consistency in your cues helps your dog associate the command with the desired behavior.
  5. Socialization: Expose your dog to various environments, people, and other animals from an early age. Socialization is crucial for a well-rounded, well-behaved dog. It helps prevent behavioral issues and fosters a confident, friendly demeanor.
  6. Exercise and Mental Stimulation: A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Regular exercise and mental stimulation are essential for keeping your dog engaged and happy. Incorporate interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and activities that challenge their mind and body.

The Role of Dog Training Apps:

With the rise of technology, dog training apps have become valuable tools for pet owners. These apps offer a range of features, including:

  1. Training Plans and Guides: Many apps provide structured training plans and step-by-step guides for teaching basic commands, tricks, and addressing specific behavior issues.
  2. Progress Tracking: Apps allow you to track your dog’s progress over time. This helps you identify areas that may need additional focus and celebrate your pet’s achievements.
  3. Video Demonstrations: Visual learning is often effective, and many apps include video demonstrations of training techniques. This can be particularly helpful for understanding the correct way to execute commands and gestures.
  4. Community Support: Some apps offer a community feature where users can share experiences, seek advice, and connect with other dog owners. This sense of community can be a valuable resource for getting through challenges and celebrating successes.

In conclusion, successful dog training involves a combination of time, patience, and positive reinforcement. By incorporating the tips mentioned above and leveraging the benefits of dog training apps, you can enhance the training experience and foster a strong, lasting bond with your canine companion.