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First Things to Teach a New Puppy

By Jason Wright

February 16, 2022

How to Build a Solid Foundation for Your Puppy

You just got a new puppy, and you are wondering what you should be teaching them. We’ve got you covered. You should see this as just a simple guide and dive deeper into our site to get a better idea for each of the different elements. In a best-case scenario, you will enlist your new puppy for obedience training to help him/her become the best companion they can be.

You should know that your training can start right away and that the training sessions can and should extend throughout the day. Everything you are doing with your puppy is building habits. So, pay attention to what you are doing and how it is affecting your puppy. Every interaction counts. You’ll want to be repetitive and ensure that you are engraining the commands / new behaviours across multiple environments (different rooms, backyard, on walks). Make sure that the whole family is on board and don’t allow anyone to break from the structure that you are setting. Be patient with your puppy and work to create a strong bond. If you get frustrated, take a brake. You acting out in anyway will only make things worse.

High Value Rewards

This is less about what you need to teach your puppy and more about you learning what they like and how to use it to your advantage. High value rewards are anything that your dog finds highly desirable. They can be food based, toy based, or praise based. What your puppy should be taught, in relation to this topic, is that they only get this reward, whatever it may be, when they have done something right. We’ve gone into more detail here on how to use high value rewards for dog training.


Now that you have established how you will reward your puppy you should start with some basic commands. These will lay the foundation for everything you do moving forward. You will use them to take control of your dog in stressful situations, bring their attention to you when they are misbehaving or simply to stimulate them mentally.

  • Their Name
  • Sit
  • Come
  • Down
  • No


There are many tools out there that can help you with your training. We won’t go into every one of them, but the ones listed below are essential and each play a role in setting your dog up for success as an adult.

Their Crate

This should become their safe spot. It needs to be engrained that it is a place they can go to relax and that it is a positive place. Do not put them there as punishment. The benefits of crate training cannot be overstated. A simple and effective way of getting them to love their crate is to do their feedings in it.

Their Collar

Whichever collar you choose, make sure that they are introduced to it slowly. Don’t be afraid to use treats as you introduce it to them. Collars need to be taught to dogs so they understand what it means.

Their Leash / Long Line

This one will most likely come about on its own, but they should learn to love their leash or long line. Let them get close to it and investigate before you attach it. Don’t let them mouth or gnaw on it though. As you continue to take your puppy for walks or outdoor adventures, they will most likely learn positive association with their leash / long line.

Habits / Behaviours

Don’t be confused, all the above and everything you do with your puppy will, in its simplest form, be a habit or behaviour that you root into their training through repetition. However, for the sake of this post, we have broken down the elements you need to teach your puppy into sections. The habits / behaviours below represent elements that will become ingrained and do not, necessarily, need a command.

Potty Training

It is important to establish a routine with your puppy in the earlier weeks / months. They may need to go every hour (possibly more) at the beginning and will slowly start to be able to hold their business for longer as they age. Potty training your puppy is a more specific post which can help you achieve the best results.


At this point your puppy has become acquainted with its leash and collar. Now you’ll need to get them comfortable walking. In the beginning, keep your walks short and ensure you follow this proper leash training guide.


Contrary to common belief, Socializing is having your dog calm and relaxed around other dogs without the need to interact or display any type of negative behaviour. Generally, new puppy owners are most interested in how to properly socialize your dog with other dogs. Socialization is a key element in ensuring your dog isn’t prone to behavioural issues as he/she grows.

The iTK9 Way

At iTK9 we have programs that focus on puppies and help them learn the basics as well as learn and socialize in multiple environments. Each puppy is different and as such, each program is tailored to their needs.

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