Getting your dog well behaved and trained enough to enjoy them is work, especially if the dog is a puppy. 

The first skill is potty training. Whether your dog is outside trained or even inside trained with potty pads, you need to know what their schedule is. Making social plans or just getting on with your lifestyle requires knowing when your dog needs to potty.  

Having a puppy temporarily changes your schedule, so the faster you learn theirs, the easier it is for you. 

The same is true for travel. Is your dog predictable enough to be invited to go places with you? Keep a written record of when your dog potties based upon the activity your dog just did; playing, sleeping, walking, eating, drinking, etc. 

Puppyhood is like having a new baby. Did you prepare for that? The energy of the dog, not just in puppyhood but when they are adult, is a good question to ask BEFORE you choose a dog! 

If you are sedentary, did you choose a dog that is appropriate? If you are active, did you get one that can participate with your exercise and play? Is size important? 

Do you have kids? Not all breeds are good with kids, plus you have to instruct your kids in appropriate behavior to avoid issues. All dogs need supervision around children. You cannot expect a puppy to know what to do so instruct the humans.

Puppy or dog proof your home with baby gates, exercise pen, and crate. Remove anything the puppy can get into or block them so they can’t access it. Temporarily remove rugs and anything reachable from low surfaces. 

Socialize the dog by bringing him to public places, introducing him to all kinds of situations, environments and people. Bring him to puppy playtimes, not dog parks if they are too young. 

Have family members attend obedience and behavior classes.  Owners and dogs bond through training. Sit, Come, Lie down, leash walking, leaving items alone, good manners and more are imprinted at a young age. Families need to learn these basic skills and behaviors to train the dog to be enjoyable and well adjusted.  

You might think the dog is behaving abnormally when actually she is acting out age-appropriate behaviors. Jumping, chewing and nipping are normal in pups, but can persist with dogs due to lack of training – or are breed related. 

Everyone in the family needs to know how to redirect those the right way.

Walk and exercise the dog enough to allow him to explore and get tired. Make time to play at what the dog enjoys: ball, running, chasing, tugging and other human play. 

Does your dog like to sniff and smell or hunt or swim? Find puppy or dog games which allow your pet use those instincts. Supervise all child play.

If you can handle this, then you will enjoy your dog for a long time and they will be blessed to have you as owners.

Abby Bird is owner of Alphadog Training Academy.