10 tips for new puppy owners

With an office full of dog owners and dog lovers, we’re constantly asking our Head Vet Sean for dog advice, which he’s always happy to give over a cup of tea. A few of the team have recently become first-time dog owners and soon discovered that it’s not always a walk in the park, especially if the new puppy is naughtier than initially expected.

There’s nothing like having a best friend to share everything with, whether it’s an adventure or just a cuddle in front of the TV, but there’s work to be done too. Here are some tips from Sean to help you and your new puppy settle in together:

Prepare for how much time you’ll need

Training a puppy takes a lot of time, effort and patience. They’ve just joined their new human family after leaving their mother and siblings and there’s a lot to see and explore in this new world. The more time and effort you invest in training, the sooner you’ll have a well-trained puppy on your hands.

Set out some ground rules

Just because your puppy is cute, it doesn’t mean you can make exceptions for naughtiness. If you want your puppy to learn to be well behaved and obedient, consistency is key. Start as you mean to go on with house rules and make sure your puppy knows who’s in charge with plenty of reward-based training.

Encourage curiosity, not fear

Puppies can be nervous of all the new sights, sounds and experiences around them and will often react by crying or cowering away. If they cry, try not to always reassure or pick them up. Allow them to discover the world with curiosity rather than fear and reward calm behaviour with praise and affection.

square2Limit the variety in their diet

Your puppy’s digestive system will be sensitive after being weaned so try to avoid switching between different brands and types of foods too often to avoid an upset stomach. Our tails.com Blend Evolution process gradually updates the balance of nutrients in your puppy’s food as they grow and change so that you don’t need to worry about it. Find out more information here.

Be a social butterfly

Even before your puppy’s vaccinations, it’s good to take them out in the car and invite plenty of visitors over for your dog to get used to new environments and people. After their vaccinations, it’s time to venture out into the big wide world and discover new things. Heading out on plenty of walks together helps your dog to familiarise themselves with busy places, crowds of people, traffic noise, children and other animals too. It’s important to get your dog used to as many people, dogs and new surroundings as possible during the socialisation window (the first 16-18 weeks of puppyhood) so that they can grow into a confident adult.

Familiarise yourself with toxic foods

A lot of common household foods are toxic to dogs. It’s important to keep these out of reach of curious puppies to make sure that they’re not eaten. Here’s a handy list to help you remember which foods are unsafe for dogs.



Build your puppy’s independence

By gradually increasing the amount of time you leave your puppy alone, their independence will soon start to grow. We know it’s hard, but try to ignore crying and if possible, only return to the room they’re in once they’re settled and calm. If you’re leaving the house, try not to make a big fuss right before your departure and assure your dog that it’s not a big deal.

No teeth!

Biting play is normal between littermates and other puppies, but biting play with humans is not something you want to encourage. Puppies need to develop bite inhibition so that they can control their bites when later faced with a stressful situation that requires a reaction. Every time their teeth touch our skin, interrupt with an abrupt “No!” and withdraw all attention. This will teach your dog that playtime is over if teeth are used. Puppies naturally want to use their teeth to bite and chew, so buying a range of chew toys can help to satisfy this urge.

Do you want to know more about your puppy’s dental health? Read it in this blog: Your dog’s dental health

Get your puppy house trained

Like most other training, house training takes patience and preparation. Choose an area outside to be your puppy’s designated toilet spot. Taking them out frequently will teach them to learn that this is where toilet breaks should happen. Always reward for toileting in the right place but never use punishment for the times they get it wrong. This could make them nervous and avoid toileting in front of you, leading to more accidents.

Reduce the fear of the vet

Dogs tend to be fearful of the vet as they only go there for injections or when they’re unwell. The busy clinic can often be overwhelming too. By taking your puppy to the vet regularly for weight checks, and allowing them to be greeted with lots of fuss from staff, you’ll build positive associations instead. Some vet practices even host puppy parties, which are great for your puppy to meet new friends and even learn to love the vet.

Above all, enjoy the puppy stage! Your dog will grow so fast that these days will be over sooner than you think. A dog’s nutritional needs change as they grow too, so it’s important to make sure your dog’s diet is adjusting to reflect these changes. Luckily for you, our Blend Evolution process makes sure that you don’t have to worry about altering diets yourself. Find out more about how we tailor your dog’s diet here: https://tails.com/puppy-food.


  1. Hi Emily Powell,
    You have written on the most important topic. I like your posts and the pieces of advice. Puppy training or house training is the most important thing to do for a new dog. New dog doesn’t know where to go potty. So they need proper training. Otherwise, they will spoil the whole house and yard. So it is a very important matter. You have also included different rules and independence for the puppy that they deserve. Overall it is a complete post for the new dog owners. Thanks sharing this very helpful post.

  2. Bringing home a puppy is exciting. However, there are a ton of things you need to learn and do. This guide has helped me understand those things. Your instructions were easy to comprehend and follow. The part about toxic foods was especially important. They’re not just applicable for puppies, but also dogs. Thank you!

  3. Bringing home a puppy is energizing. Nonetheless, there are a huge amount of things you have to learn and do. This guide has helped me comprehend those things. Your directions were anything but difficult to fathom and take after. The part about poisonous nourishments was particularly imperative. They’re material for puppies, as well as pooches. Much obliged to you!

  4. Most of the time new dog owners remains excited about her dog and do the mistakes. You have shared the most important tips for the new puppy owners because these are must-know tips. Puppy house training is very important and nobody cannot happy without it because an untrained puppy can spoil your house even your bedroom by doing potty here and there. Normally, puppies are the good follower and this can really bother you, so it is very important to leave them alone and help them become independent. Your other points are also fantastic. I like my reading, thanks, Emily!!

  5. I did take theses seriously. I think that theses tips are really important in order for you to have the best time of your life with you dog(s).

  6. You did a great job of explaining that consistency is important in training my puppy and making him act like he’s well behaved. I’m thinking of getting a German Shepherd puppy and I want him to be well-trained so I can take him with us to our regular road trips. I’ll take note of your tips and use them later on once I’ve gotten my first pet.

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