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What to Teach Your New Puppy in the First Few Months

Now that you’ve gotten your first puppy, brought them home, and acclimated them to their new environment and new parents (that is, you), it’s time to get to work. The first few months of puppy ownership are crucial. This is where your dog will learn what is acceptable behavior, how to get along with other dogs and other humans, and how to cope without his littermates with just you around. It’s super important to instill the correct behavior before your puppy learns bad behaviors, which are more difficult to undo once instilled.

New Market Animal Hospital is here to help. We’ve been serving the New Market area for over 30 years, offering up the best in pet care services, including grooming and boarding services. Whether you are concerned that your pet is losing weight, you just need a check-up, or you need an emergency vet, New Market Animal Hospital can help. Our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate veterinary staff can answer all of your questions and concerns. Keep reading to discover what you need to teach your new puppy in their first few months, and then contact us today for your next pet exam!



Potty Training

Potty training is one of the first things you need to teach your puppy. Not only is dog urine hard to clean up, but dog urine is incredibly hard to clean up out of carpets, it can ruin your hardwood floors, and it leaves your home smelling very unpleasant. New Market Animal Hospital recognizes that the key to puppy training is to take your puppy out frequently and praise them for when they use the restroom outside. Puppies have small bladders as well as poor bladder control when young, which is why it is so important to make sure your puppy can go outside regularly.

New Market Animal Hospital, your local vet clinic, recommends using a crate, which can be absolutely helpful when potty training — the reason being is that dogs naturally do not want to soil their dens, or beds. Thus, when they are in their crates, which they associate as their den, they are less likely to have an accident. If you puppy takes a nap, take them out as soon as they wake up. Praise your puppy and reward them with treats when they use the restroom outdoors. If you puppy does have an accident in the house, never hit your dog. Instead, take them outside immediately, and keep trying. Your puppy will pick up on your feelings of displeasure.


The next thing you need to teach your puppy is social skills. Remember, your puppy is one step removed from being a wolf. Animals, by nature, fear humans, fear the unknown, and fear other animals. It is absolutely critical that you teach your puppy that humans are not to be feared, that the world won’t harm them, and that other animals are not to be harmed.

New Market Animal Hospital, a veterinary hospital, recommends that you do this by taking your puppy with you everywhere and exposing them to as many new and different situations as possible. However, you want to make sure your puppy is having a good time. Hence, taking your puppy to a loud concert may not be the best thing — or even crowded streets. Taking your puppy to your child’s soccer game at your local park is a great way to have them exposed to people and other dogs. Take your puppy shopping with you in pet-friendly stores. Let your puppy meet as many people and dogs as possible to alleviate any fears. Men can be scary for most puppies as well as those that wear hats. This happens if your puppy was raised by a female breeder, or if you are a female. Puppies just naturally trust females more in this case.


Having a puppy is a lot of fun; however, puppies naturally chew, and coming home to find your new couch chewed up or your drywall is not a pleasant experience. Puppies chew because they are teething, and chewing makes their teeth feel better. Dogs chew as a way to explore the world around them. It also keeps their jaws strong, their teeth clean, and it can relieve boredom and anxiety. Thus, it is very important to teach your puppy early on what is acceptable to chew on.

New Market Animal Hospital recommends that you purchase chew toys for your puppy to chew on. You also can puppy-proof your home, which is similar to child-proofing your home. Put up all belongings you don’t want chewed, from your shoes to your kids’ favorite stuffed animals. For your furniture, you can invest in anti-chew spray, which is a spray you can use on objects that you do not want your dog to chew on, such as furniture or other household items. It is foul-tasting to your dog, but perfectly safe for them, and is a great deterrent while teaching your puppy what to chew on.

Basic Obedience Commands

Having a well-behaved dog just makes your life easier. Being able to walk your dog without them pulling you, being able to take your dog out and not have to worry about them barking for jumping up on people, and just having a dog that will lay down when need be can eliminate a lot of frustrations with your dog.

New Market Animal Hospital, an animal hospital, recommends that you enroll your new puppy in basic obedience classes as soon as their first round of shots are complete. Almost all obedience classes and instructors believe in positive reinforcement methods, which is usually either treats or praise from you to train your dog. Not only will your puppy learn the basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, come, and “drop it,” but this will be another opportunity for your puppy to socialize with dogs and humans. You will also learn how to teach your puppy to walk on a lease, which is not something natural to dogs. Positive reinforcement obedience training is absolutely necessary in today’s world if you want to be able to take your puppy out and about with you.

Sense of Touch

One of the most important things you can do for your puppy is to teach them that it’s okay to be touched everywhere. This is vitally important as your puppy ages and will need to go to the vet. This is relatively easy to teach. All you have to do is touch your puppy’s paws, belly, and ears frequently. You may need to reinforce this with treats if your puppy resists it. Most pet owners do this naturally because they shower their puppy with love.

Leave Your Puppy Alone

Separation anxiety is becoming more common with dogs who are now left routinely for eight to ten hours a day as their owners work. Dogs are social creatures, and since the moment of birth, have had a pack all around them. It can be very scary when their packmates suddenly disappear and then you — the puppy’s new pack — disappears as well.

New Market Animal Hospital recommends that you put your puppy in their crate, and then slowly distance yourself from your puppy and slowly increase the time they are alone as well. If done properly, your puppy will gradually get used to your schedule and will know that you will return and didn’t just disappear for good. 


While getting a new puppy is exciting and rewarding, there is a lot of work and responsibility involved in owning a puppy. After all, you are bringing an animal into your world, so you need to teach it how to behave in your world. Many pet owners unfortunately do not take the time to properly train their dogs, and they let their dogs get away with bad behaviors, such as jumping up on people and nipping at their feet. While this may be cute then they are 12 weeks old, it’s not cute when they are full grown.

New Market Animal Hospital is a local vet clinic that supports puppy owners by offering the best puppy care. When you make your first puppy appointment with us, we’ll go over everything you need to know, from what puppy vaccinations are needed and what food to feed your puppy, as well as what to look for in puppy development and when to spay or neuter your puppy. We offer emergency vet services for when your puppy accidentally ingests something it should not, and we offer diagnostic services in case your puppy is not developing as they should be. Our pet clinic team will answer all of your questions and get you and your puppy on the road to a wonderful friendship and companionship for life. Call us today to schedule your new puppy appointment!