A young woman training a chocolate lab puppy to shake hands at a park.

Bringing a New Pet Home: Basic Training

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I’m Jacques Bonéy, owner of Allegiance Canine near Memphis, Tennessee. Huge thanks to Hollywood Feed for this opportunity. Today, let’s discuss bringing a new dog home, covering do’s, don’ts, and tips. It’s crucial to start training from day one.

Cropped view of a woman holding up a dog treat and giving a hand signal to her English Springer Spaniel to stay in the sitting position.

Basic Training Techniques and Tips

Dogs don’t understand language like humans, so keep commands clear and concise. Treats, affection, and food can be used as rewards for desired behavior. Dogs view relationships as a give-and-take, so earning rewards fosters respect and prevents unwanted behaviors. Training should begin with using the dog’s name and marker words like “yes” and “good.” Avoid overusing commands until the dog fully understands them. It’s about building understanding and consistency for effective training.

The key points to remember are:

1. Naming Commands: Only name a command once your dog understands it, achieved through shaping or luring techniques, and consistency is crucial.
2. Establishing a Schedule: Consistency in house and potty training relies on a structured schedule, teaching dogs when and where it’s appropriate to relieve themselves.
3. Feeding and Water Schedule: Set specific feeding and watering times, adjusting the amounts based on your dog’s size, age, and energy level.
4. Using Food for Training: Incorporate your dog’s food into training sessions for reinforcement, ensuring a healthy balance in their diet.
5. Choosing the Right Food: Consider factors like breed, size, and activity level when selecting food, and consult experts at pet stores for guidance.

Young woman playing with her dog at the public park - Sunset time. Caucasian ethnicity. The pet owner is sitting on the grass.

Kennel Training

Use the kennel as a tool for teaching boundaries and providing a safe space for your dog, essential for house training and preventing separation anxiety or destructive behavior

1. Safety and Supervision: Utilize the kennel for safety when you can’t supervise your dog, ensuring they have a secure and confined area when necessary.
2. Kennel Placement: It’s important to place the kennel in a quiet area of the house to promote independence and reduce anxiety.
3. Behavior Management: Avoid letting the dog out of the kennel when they exhibit anxious behaviors like whining or barking, to prevent reinforcing these behaviors.
4. Structured Release: Teach the dog to wait for permission to come out of the kennel, using positive reinforcement techniques.
5. Exercise Guidelines: Follow age-appropriate exercise guidelines for puppies to avoid overexertion and potential harm to their growth and development.
6. Socialization: Focus on environmental exposure rather than physical interaction with strangers, to help the dog adapt to different environments and stimuli.

Overall, the emphasis is on creating a structured environment that promotes positive behaviors and healthy development for the dog.

A cute young Yellow Labrador puppy sleeping in a wire dog crate with the door open, a puppy's safe place. The crate is sitting on hardwood floor inside a home with a white baseboard and blue wall in the background


The importance of proper socialization for dogs is to build confidence and prevent fear of new environments. I advise against dog parks due to potential risks and suggest controlled play sessions with well-behaved dogs instead. I emphasize the need for the owner-dog bond and discourage excessive attention from strangers, as it can lead to leash reactivity. Overall, the goal is to set dogs up for success by establishing good habits early on.


Ensuring a smooth transition for a new dog into your home involves a combination of structured training, kennel usage, exercise management, and proper socialization. Clear communication, consistent schedules, and positive reinforcement techniques are essential elements in fostering desirable behaviors and preventing issues like separation anxiety or destructive behavior. By prioritizing the dog’s well-being and establishing a strong owner-dog bond, we can set our furry companions up for a lifetime of confidence, adaptability, and happiness. Many thanks to Hollywood Feed for facilitating this important discussion, and here’s to fostering healthy relationships between humans and their canine companions.

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