As we near the end of the year, many families will purchase puppies or dogs or adopt the same. By far the largest number will be puppies.

Holidays are a popular time to do this since families may be home and can dedicate time for potty training and bonding.

There are two behaviors that should be begun as soon as possible when one gets a new puppy. One is potty training and the other is nipping and biting. These are both age-related and timing is critical to get the pup started down the correct path.

Potty training takes months to do, instilling the correct timing with the humans and those same months to make sure the pup is being guided down the right developmental path. Potty training usually takes until a pup is about 7 to 8 months old, but should be getting constantly better after about 5 months of age.

This is only true if the owners are doing scheduling properly. Keeping a time chart along with an activity spreadsheet will help the owner avoid common errors through this process.

Crate training and knowing the right way to use it is still the best possible method to insure success.

What are we looking for? Anything and everything that creates pee or poop. Food is the primary agent for pooping, along with walking, but literally everything else creates pee! Napping, sleeping, walking, drinking, playing by themselves, playing with people and playing with dogs. This is why pups may pee 10 to 15 times a day but only poop two to five times.

Setting up that chart will help the owner to realize just how often the pup really needs to be going outside. It is much more often than you think. Even setting a timer or Alexa can help to avoid common timing issues.

The next biggie is definitely nipping and biting humans as part of play and seeking attention. It is the natural way dogs play with both other dogs and people.

Dogs will tend to correct other dogs but it is up to us to teach a pup it is not appropriate to put their razor-sharp teeth on human flesh! A verbal correction cue, redirection with appropriate chewing toys and other mild correctives such as sound, water spray and bad tasting deterrents can assist quite a bit at an early age.

Consistency in the family is also important, especially with children! Pups and kids should never be unsupervised. It is a recipe for only bad things when the dog is not really being bad, just a normal puppy. Children can aggravate the situation by how they play and their voice pitch and quick movements, which only serve to stimulate nipping behavior.

Start your puppies off right and they will be such an important part of your family unit. If possible, ask a dog trainer for guidance early on.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.