Behavioral Wellness Handouts for Puppies

You just brought your puppy home and now you have a million questions. You know you need to get good habits going from day 1 and you don’t want to do anything wrong. We’ve got your back!

Here are handouts on the most common puppy topics we get questions about to start you off on the right paw. We recommend reading through them all, but they are separated by topic to give you bite-sized information for your most burning questions.

Need more help? Feel free to check out our Private Day Training options or schedule a free 15 minute phone call to chat about which training option is right for you.

Socialization Handout

This handout goes over why socialization is important, how to do it right, and when to do it– spoiler alert, start socialization as soon as you get your puppy!

Puppy Socialization Tips

This handout provides more detailed tips on how to safely socialize your puppy before they are fully vaccinated. It’s so important we have two handouts about it! If you only do one thing with your puppy, we recommend that it is to emphasize proper socialization. It’s the number one thing you can do to ensure your puppy becomes a well-adjusted and happy adult dog.

Puppy Shopping List

You can print out this quick list and take it with you to the store (or online) while you purchase all the things you’ll need for your new puppy. It’s best to plan ahead of time, so get these items before you bring your new puppy home. If you already have your new puppy, then you can round out your supplies with this list. *Quick tip: since puppies tend to chew, we recommend purchasing less expensive bedding until they reliably leave their things intact.

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The Two Ways Dogs Learn

There is a lot of misinformation out there about how to train your puppy. In this handout, we break down how dogs learn and why we recommend using strictly positive reinforcement, force-free training methods with real life examples. It will also help you problem solve when you are up against challenging puppy behavior!

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Debunking Dominance

Learn where dominance theory/alpha theory came from, why it isn’t a helpful viewpoint for training your puppy and ways you can raise a well-behaved dog without relying on these outdated views.

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House Training Your Puppy

This is one of the most requested puppy raising topics– “How do I teach my puppy to go potty outside?”. This handout will take you through all you need to know about house training (AKA potty training), along with commons mistakes to avoid. This is also where you’ll find confinement and crate training tips (these are essential to house training and chew training success).

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Play Biting

Darn those puppy teeth can hurt! Though it can be one of the most annoying puppy habits, play biting is a vital part of a puppy’s development. And it doesn’t mean your puppy is aggressive; it means they are normal! This handout covers why you should let your puppy play bite (at first), and how to gradually teach them not to bite/mouth people (even in play).

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Chew Training

We all know that puppies love to chew, but many times it’s on items we are not happy to lose (goodbye my favorite pair of shoes!). Learn how to set your puppy up for success, figure out which appropriate chews your puppy loves, and teach them to only chew their things.

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Sit is a great behavior for puppies to learn first. It’s easy to teach and is a great way to teach your puppy to ask for things politely. Check out this handout for a quick guide on how to train a sit and when to use it to create good habits. It also has a troubleshooting section if this behavior is tough for your puppy!

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Say Please

Want to raise a puppy that is polite and will perform known behaviors in a variety of situations (not just in your kitchen for a treat)? This handout lays out how to use real-life rewards to strengthen behaviors your puppy already knows and teach your puppy how to “Say Please” for things they want.

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It may not be a problem now, but if you don’t work on polite greetings from the start, your small puppy will grow into a larger adult who loves to jump on guests or family members to say hi. Depending on how big your puppy gets, this can be a nuisance or downright dangerous. Teach your puppy to greet people with four on the floor from day 1 using tips from this handout!

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Loose Leash Walking

Enjoying a lovely, calm walk with your pup is a great goal most owners have, but since walking loosely on a leash is not a natural behavior for dogs, it’s something you must work on consistently from the start. This handout gives you tips on how to teach your puppy not to pull on leash. Remember, your puppy is changing every day as they grow– be patient and consistent with this challenging skill.

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Come When Called (Recall)

Coming when called (also known as recall), is a vital safety skill for every puppy, but also just makes daily life easier. Don’t take it for granted if your puppy currently comes every time you move or say their name– reward it! As they grow, this skill tends to fall apart. Use this handout to teach your puppy a rock solid recall and avoid common mistakes.

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