So you have picked a breed, found a vet, and likely bought every pet supply available. It’s time to bring home your new puppy!

When you get a puppy, she will likely know absolutely no English. What your puppy will understand is body language and rewards.Every moment you spend with your dog is training her, and you will both benefit from consistency. Choose words for commands and always use the same word. For example, don’t say “down” for when you want your dog to lay down and for when you want your dog to stop jumping on you.

Puppies need preventative care. They need vaccines, heartworm medication, and tick prevention. If they have not been already, it is a good idea to spay or neuter your pets. It can reduce a number of unwanted behaviors related to hormones. It may seem like a high cost up front, but paying $50 for heart worm medication is far cheaper than removal, which starts at about $500, depending on the infestation level and vet. Similarly, flea and tick medication is far cheaper than paying to shampoo your carpets or treat canine lyme disease.

Puppies have several needs that only you can provide for them. Like human infants, they begin to shed their puppy teeth and incessantly need to chew to alleviate the discomfort. This generally happens when the pup is around 4-5 months old, and usually they have all of their adult teeth by 7 months. Provide plenty of chew toys, and if the dog begins chewing on something she is not supposed to, promptly scold her then replace it with a chew toy, praising her when she begins to use the toy. Try to avoid toys that look like important objects. If you let your dog chew on an old wallet, it will not differentiate between that and a brand new one. You can also use specially formulated dog toothpaste to keep her new adult teeth clean and healthy.

A new owner’s first training priority should be to house break the puppy. First, your dog needs a method for telling you she has to go outside. Bells or wind chimes can be hung on the door for this. Whenever you take your dog outside, gently lift her paw and use it to ring the bells. After a few times, your puppy will associate the bells with going outside. This is also convenient because it can be heard regardless of where you are in the house.

One of the best ways to learn how to raise a puppy is to talk to other people who have done so. Friends, family members, and pet forums are great sources for the do’s and don’ts of puppy rearing.