Welcome to How to Love Your Dog!

Puppy Basics
Understanding your Puppy
Start Now!
Puppy's First Year
Socializing your Dog
Lesson of the Day
New puppy coming home.

Your Puppy's
First Year

Remembering that puppies are babies, will help you to understand your dog.

A young puppy is just like a baby.

This is easy to remember when your dog is little, but when he grows to be 75 pounds and is only 6 months old, this may be harder to believe. But dogs are really babies until they are about a year old. This doesn't mean they should get away with things. Dogs need routine and rules to follow to grow up right.

Golden puppy chewing on a bone.
Dogs should learn good manners and some obedience while they are puppies. Teaching them will always be easier while they're young.

A collie pup play-biting a young boy.

It is VERY NORMAL for a young pup to chew, but he shouldn't chew on you!

He will be chewing because he is getting new teeth, just like a human baby. When he tries to chew on you, give him toys and very large bones to chew on instead. A wet towel put in the freezer and frozen is good for your dog to chew on, if you supervise him. It helps your pup's gums feel better.

When he 'bites' you, don't get mad, just have a bone or toy ready for him. Put it in his mouth and say, "Good boy!". This is very important. Too much discipline or harsh words at this age is not good. Click for more info on Chewing


The first year is the hardest year
for dogs and for owners.

The first year is the best time to start obedience training and teach your dog tricks, too. Dogs are like teenagers. They like to be very busy. They want to be adults, but aren't sure how. They might try adult things when they are too young to handle them.

A collie puppy with behavior problems.
Teach your dog everything you can think of. Your dog is probably very smart and needs things to do. Take him for lots of walks and play Games. Spend as much time as you have learning how to train your dog. Your dog is ready to learn from the first day you get him.


Who's the Boss?
As your puppy grows up, he will need to know who is in charge. Who is making the rules? A pup will make up his own rules if no one is telling him what the rules are. Check out Who's the Boss for more information on teaching your dog the rules of the house.


What to do NOW:
Here are some very important things you should do
with your dog from a very young age.

Check markBathe your dog.
Check markBrush your dog.
Check markTrim his toenails.

Check markStart socializing your pup as soon as he's had his shots.

Check markPut a leash on him.
Check markBrush his teeth (video).

Check markLeave your pup alone for short periods of time (video).

Check markWhile your young pup is eating, take away his food bowl, and then give it back.

Click on the ball to understand more about giving your dog
a head start in good behavior! red ball


Puppies who play together learn to be comfortable around other dogs.

Your dog is ready to learn when he is very young. Even puppies who are 10 or 12 weeks old can learn to sit and shake hands. At this age your teaching should be gentle and fun.

Many trainers offer puppy classes for pups who are as young as 10 weeks old. This is great socialization where pups learn to play well with all kinds of other dogs.


Your puppy can start learning very early. But by 3-4 months old, you should plan on teaching him some fun commands and tricks.

Make it fun! Don't be negative and discipline him too much. Your puppy will learn more if he enjoys the lessons. If you get frustrated, stop and play a game.

Teach him tricks and fun things. Take him lots of places and introduce him to lots of people.

Boy training puppy dog to stay.



Drawing of a girl and her dog
Artwork by Leena, age 16

Click here to understand your puppy.



Here is a general guide to when you should start teaching your dog:

Chihuahua with toy
Remember, this is not formal training. These are fun learning activities for your puppy.

1-5 Months Old:
These manners should be taught before your pup is 5 months old. Start as early as you can with these commands:

watch me , come here,
wait, walk on a leash,
better go now
, sit, don't touch

These are some tricks that are good to teach when your pup is very young:
shake hands, speak

Before you go out in public, make sure your puppy is vaccinated. Until that happens, your friends can bring their dogs over to your house if they have had their shots. That way, your dog is not exposed to any illness.

It's important for your dog to meet lots of people and other dogs while he's very young, whether at your house or out in public. As soon as your puppy has had his shots, take him everywhere you can to introduce him to the world. Socializing is very important for your dog.

5-8 Months Old:
These manners should be taught before your pup is 8 months old. Start whenever you can:

lay down, off, stay, stand
Continue practicing all manners.

Formal obedience classes should be started now. Five to six months is the perfect age to start.

These are some tricks that are good to teach by the time your dog is 8 months old:
kiss, beg, roll over
Great Dane Puppy

jack russell terrier
8-12 Months Old:
Start formal obedience training if you haven't already. The later you start, the harder it will be.
Continue practicing all manners.

These are some tricks that are good to teach before your dog is a year old:
turn around, crawl, play dead



  Rusty's Ridiculous Riddles
Where do dogs stay when they go camping?

in a pup tent


cool dog iconOut and About

When your dog has had all of his shots, he will be ready
to start getting out in the world. Now he is protected against diseases.

Just as you go on field trips at school to learn about the world,
your puppy needs to go out to learn about things as well.
There are experiences you will want to share with your dog
so he becomes comfortable with strange
people, places, sounds, and things.
Click here!
Red Ball


Remember! Puppies are just like babies! 



Here are our favorite training books and videos written for kids:



For the little ones:


A lot to remember? Try this!

flashing star
Lesson of the Day!

Puppy Basics
Understanding your Puppy
Start Now!
Puppy's First Year
Socializing your Dog
Lesson of the Day


to Basic Training
to A New Dog

Cody's Tour
Kelly's Tour
Trouper's Tour
Your New Dog
Well-Behaved Dog
Special Topics
A New Dog
Your Best Friend
Too Many Dogs
I'll Love You Forever
Training Basics
Following the Rules
What Dogs Cost
Obedience Lessons
Keeping Safe
What Dogs Need
Behavior Problems
Older Dogs
Puppy Basics
Learning Tricks
Losing Your Dog

Ready for a Dog?
Your Stories
When I Grow Up
Your Dogs
Birthday Page
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Quiz Yourself
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How To Love Your Dog...A Kid's Guide to Dog Care
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