Raising a Puppy that is Easy to Live With

Mar 26, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Contributors, Pets

by Tara Wilson

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time! They are so cute and kissable that it is hard to imagine them growing up to be a rowdy, ill-behaved adult. However, if you fail to properly train and socialize those darling little puppies, many will indeed grow up to be unpleasant to be around.

There are books written about how to raise puppies, but I wanted to share a few ideas that I have learned from years of raising puppies as well as from teaching countless puppies in my training classes. Just doing a few simple things with your puppy can help him to become a much better companion.

When you first bring your puppy home, spend some time thinking about the places you would like to be able to take him when he is an adult. Make a list of the main places you will be taking him. These could include dog parks, the beach, camping, the veterinarian, the groomer, pet supply stores, hotels, and in the car. Not all dogs will travel with their owners, but at the very least many dogs will go to the veterinarian and ride in the car. It’s important to have as complete a list as you can come up with so that you can work towards getting your puppy used to those situations.

Getting your puppy used to riding in the car can take some time. Start with putting your pup in the car, feeding him a treat, and then taking him out. Next take your puppy for short drives, such as around the block. Make sure you keep the drive short enough that he does not get nervous. Praise and reward him for being calm in the car. Extend the time that he spends riding in the car, and be sure to continue the praises and rewards. Also, on some of the drives take him someplace he enjoys, such as to a park. In no time he will be excited to get into the car because he knows it means fun for him.

Behaving nicely at the veterinarian is a skill that all puppies should learn. Most veterinarians are glad to assist in this process. Ask if it is okay to just bring the pup in to say hello to the office staff. Ask them to give your puppy treats and pet him. On future visits, ask one of the office staff to walk your puppy to the back briefly and give him treats. This will help your puppy to learn that good things happen at the vet. It is much better to have your dog pulling on the leash in excitement to get to the vet’s rather than pulling away.

If you plan to travel with your dog, there are several things you can do to help make that process smoother. First, teach your dog how to sleep in a crate. The crate can be a familiar place for him when you are in a hotel. It will keep your dog safe in new surroundings, and will also prevent him from damaging the room. Also, accustom your puppy to going up and down stairs. You can use a treat or toy to encourage him to walk up and down the stairs. Keep him on a leash at first so that he does not injure himself by going too quickly or jumping off. Also, walk the puppy across many types of flooring. Some dogs are very frightened of slick surfaces, such as linoleum, and need to be taught how to walk on them. Quietly encourage your dog to walk with you, and use a treat to lure him if you need to. Be sure to offer plenty of praise when your dog does walk across new types of floors.

Make sure your puppy meets plenty of new people and dogs. Have people he meets give him treats and pet him. Be sure that he meets plenty of children of varying ages as well. It is wonderful when dogs look at new people as friends rather than someone to be suspicious of. Introduce him to plenty of friendly dogs. Praise him if he greets the dogs nicely. Make meeting new dogs and people a fun experience for him!

Tara with her dog Kiki

Lastly, be sure to take your puppy to a basic manners class when he is still young. It is important for him to learn basic commands as well as learn to listen to you around distractions. A good obedience class can help you with this, and is also a lot of fun for both you and your dog. If you have children, get them involved in helping to train the puppy. Children are often naturals at training dogs and it’s fun for both of them.

Hopefully this has given you some new ideas for raising a puppy that is fun to live with. Putting in extra work with your puppy when he is still young pays off a lot when he is older. Having a dog that is easy to take places and enjoys meeting people is a joy to live with!

Tara Wilson is an ongoing contributor to our Pet Perspective section, providing Pet Tips and more with insight gained from co-owning
K-9 Action Dog Training and Boarding.


  1. Wonderful article Tara!!! Very informative and educational!!!

  2. Great article, I really like the idea about the vet, hadn’t thought of that before. Would be nice to get them used to it early on as not being scary. Kiana definitely will be involved in training our next pup, she is already trying to talk me into getting a Yorkie puppy for her to train Agility to 🙂


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