Managing and Training Your Puppy

Congratulations on your new puppy! This is a joyous and exhausting time. Here are some trainer's tips:

Potty Training

Take your puppy outside to potty within 20 minutes of eating, drinking, playing, and waking up. Set a timer! Puppies should be able to “hold it” for a number of hours equal to their age in months plus 1. So a 2 month old dog may be able to “hold it” for up to 3 hours. They can often “hold it” overnight well before they are house-trained.


Use a toy to engage your puppy in play. This, along with plenty of exercise, can help decrease nipping. If your puppy does nip, as soon as you feel teeth on your skin, immediately leave the room and close the door. Leave your puppy alone for 10 seconds and resume playing. Repeat as necessary up to a 30-second time-out.


Puppies need to chew, it’s a self-soothing behavior. Put away anything tempting for the time being. Have a variety of puppy chew toys available.  Nylabones covered with a thin layer of peanut butter or yogurt are a great way to satisfy your puppy’s need to chew. Freeze the covered nylabones to keep them engaged longer!

Tiring Your Puppy Out

Mental stimulation can tire your puppy out faster than physical exercise!  Ditch the food bowl and feed your puppy out of stuffed frozen food puzzles. Practice training games, giving your puppy a working breakfast or dinner. Instead of going to dog parks, make puppy playdates with other healthy dogs you know. Look for puppy socials.  We host puppy socials!

We hope these tips help get you started. Check out our shopping list for books, toys, and food puzzles! We highly recommend reading Life Skills for Puppies by Helen Zurich and Daniel Mills.

Please reach out to us with your puppy questions! We are a small, local, women-owned business providing group classes, in-home private lessons, along with an in-home puppy socialization and training program called Teacher’s Pet. 301-244-9808