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Your New Puppy

Your New Puppy

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

By now, you are either really excited about your new puppy and having a great time, or you are wondering: "What have I done to my life!?" In my business I've heard mostly these two extremes when people call for puppy classes or behavior work.

Having a new puppy is a lot of work!!  For me, it's fun, rewarding and educational.   There is always more to learn about puppies, no matter how long you have been involved with them. But if you don't know what you're doing, having a puppy can be very overwhelming. What makes things even more difficult and confusing, is that you seem to get advice from everyone who has ever had a puppy before.  The value of that advice can range from completely inhumane to absolutely excellent!

Although all puppies have their unique characteristics, they all learn the same way. I want to help you to enjoy your puppy to your fullest potential. I hope to help you prevent problems, too.   This can all be done in a a gentle, respectful way. It's PAWSible!'s training method uses positive reinforcement, but positive does not mean permissive. You'll understand this more as you read on and start applying these ideas to your new puppy.

Prevention of  problems is so much easier than fixing problem behaviors. In my classes, I stress prevention where ever possible. I call this being proactive rather than reactive. Being proactive about anything in life is always better than being reactive. 

Before I brought up my own puppies, I had a series of shelter dogs. These dogs all came with some unwanted behaviors. Some problems were easy to fix, like housebreaking, and some dogs had problems that were more difficult to fix, like aggression.

When I made the decision to get a puppy, I knew which behaviors I never wanted to see in them. So my goal was building what I wanted and PREVENTION of what characteristics I didn't want.

First, before you even bring your puppy home, be prepared. There are some things you should have on hand:

  • At least one, but better yet, two crates. You might want to have a crate in your bedroom if that's where you want your puppy to sleep, and one in the busiest room in the house.

  • Two or three dog dishes (stainless steel is best)

  • Whatever dog food you are going to feed 

  • Collars and a leash

  • Some good chew toys 

  • A squeaky toy or two

  • One or two dog beds or crate mats

  • Training treats or puppy biscuits

You should also have a family meeting so everyone is on the same page about what will be allowed and what your goals are for your new family pet . Remember, your new puppy will become a full grown adult dog and will hopefully be around for the next 10 to 15 years!  Starting good training and boundary setting now will go a long way into your dog's life.

Pick a name that depicts a pleasurable pet. I see so many puppies live up to their name. I named one of my dogs Treasure before I even took him home, and he was just a total pleasure to be with at all times. He lived up to his name!

Most important, have a training plan set.  I hope you will select a training program at It's PAWSible!  I love what I do and I've been doing it for over 25 years.  Not only have I had lots of personal experiences and professional ones, but my trainers, Pam and Sheila  are also excellent.  Each of them have been with me for more than 10 years so between the 3 of us there are years of experience for you to learn from.

We hope to see you very soon in class.  


Sign up for a Puppy Class by clicking here.