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5 First Things To Teach Your Puppy

Updated: Jul 1

Brown and white puppy lying in the grass

Your new little bundle of joy has arrived and settled in, but what are the first things that you should teach your puppy?

It may not be what you think.

Top tip! It's not sit, down and stay!

Here are 5 of the top things you want to be teaching your puppy from day one.

Getting Things Right From The Start

Have a think about how you would like life to look when your pup is fully grown.

Do you want them on the sofa with you?

Would you like them to travel in the boot of the car?

Would you prefer them not to jump up on people?

Make these decisions as early as possible so that you can start teaching your puppy from day one. Puppies learn very quickly and key experiences are stored and remembered. If they consistently get lots of attention when they jump up at people because they are small and cute, they won't know to stop this behaviour when they get bigger.

Keeping boundaries consistent and helping your puppy learn how to fit in with your family from early on will help them, but will also help your training later on.


It is never too early to gently expose your puppy to as much of the world as possible. You can carry them around outside or have people come to your house before their first vaccinations.

Remember socialisation is not about playing with every dog and person. Good socialisation is exposing your puppy to the world in a way that feels positive to them and will help them navigate the world with you as their support.

Where to....

Brown and white french bulldog puppy

....where to toilet

....where to sleep

....where to eat

....where to settle

Your puppy does not come with pre-programmed instructions when it comes to living in your house. They don't know what is for chewing, where is off limits and, sometimes even how to fall asleep when needed.

Puppies need lots of guidance and help to get things right. Telling them off will not teach them what they need to know and may harm their relationship with you. Use management to prevents things going wrong and then guide your puppy to show them how to get things right.

Being Close To You Is Amazing

The foundation of so much of your future training is about building a positive association with being around you and interacting with you. If you have a dog that values being near you, you are half way there to nice walking on the lead and recalls.

You are also building a strong bond with your puppy of trust, confidence and clear communication.

You can do this by playing appropriate games, basic reward-based training and fuss and cuddles but you can also do this by truly listening to your puppy and being a place of safety and security.

It's Okay To Be Alone

We've just talked about building up the value of being close to you, but it is also important to teach your puppy that is okay to be alone.

It is important to take this at your puppy's pace. It may be as simple as practicing being on the other side of a stair gate or walking around the room whilst they are in their pen.

Be conscious to safely leave your puppy often so that they build their confidence in being left, even if this is something you won't need to do much when they are older.

Good Life Skills

Patience Frustration Tolerance Confidence Impulse Control...

...these are just some of the skills that our puppies may need help learning and practising. Teaching good life skills at an early age will help prepare them for what life may throw at them as they grow up.

Fun training exercises can help with these e.g. a leave it exercise can help with frustration. A puzzle toy and enrichment can help with patience and problem solving.

Set your puppy up for success by working on the skills that they may seem to lack rather than the ones they are already good at.


So when your puppy arrives, don't worry too much about teaching them to sit or to wait for their food. Concentrate on building a strong bond with your puppy. Take time to really settle them into human life. Work on building the skills they need to become well-rounded dogs.

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