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It seems that the moment your new puppy comes home, everyone wants to pitch in and help take care of it. Emotions are high and everyone’s enthusiastic about the new chores, regardless of what it entails. Parents and children alike vie for the privilege of feeding, walking, or playing with the little bundle of furry joy. They don’t even mind scooping up its bowel contents into puppy waste bags!

When it comes to obeying the rules of the house, the performance of the dog is often directly proportional to that of their human. As author James Herriot once said, “Dogs like to obey. It gives them security.” All too often as the puppy integrates itself into the family and its newness wears off, people not only become less enthusiastic about taking care of it, but they also find it easier to neglect the rules. Instructions such as no lying on the furniture, no sleeping on the bed, and no chewing on things like shoes give way to a more relaxed lifestyle. If humans don’t abide by the rules, then life with the new puppy descends into a free for all of chaos.

New Puppy Rules

While it’s nearly impossible to anticipate every rule or guideline that your family will need to set in anticipating of the puppy’s arrival, some things are common sense regardless of the dog’s breed, age, and gender. Things like keeping shoes stored in their proper place and the lid tightly secured on the trash bin will help prevent some of the common puppy mishaps. Here are some other ways you can smooth the transition into life with a new furry family member.

  • Start from Day One. The only thing more impressionable than a young child is a new puppy, which makes starting off on the right foot that much more important. Follow the rules from the moment the little ball of fur enters your house and stick with them, remaining consistent even when it’s tempting to let her snuggle on the sofa against you when watching television.
  • Use a Chore Chart. This helped my family when a new puppy entered our lives. It gave everybody equal opportunity at the jobs nobody wanted like walking our new little guy and scooping his waste into the special disposal bags, as well as the ones everyone did want such as grooming his silky fur or playing within the confines of the PetSafe wireless dog fence that runs the perimeter of our backyard.
  • Handle with Care. Puppies are not full-sized dogs, and they shouldn’t be treated as such. Manufacturers of dog products make food, treats, and even toys that are age-appropriate for puppies and young dogs. You wouldn’t give a new baby toys and electronic gadgets meant for a teenager, and that same guideline applies to canines as much as it does humans.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement. Dogs don’t know the difference between praising and yelling. They just know that they’re getting attention, period. It’s better to use positive reinforcement like praising while petting and talking in a high pitched voice for good behavior and to ignore bad behavior completely. Just say no and turn your back on your puppy when they do something wrong, and eventually they will get the hint!
  • Keep up with Vaccines. Even if your puppy is up to date on all shots, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your personal veterinarian as soon as possible. Discuss things like what vaccinations your puppy still needs as well as the best treatment for and prevention of fleas and ticks. And don’t forget to ask when the best age is to start visiting the dog park for socialization.

Training for Obedience

Obedience classes are a real boon for dog owners, no matter what their dog’s breed, age, or disposition. It not only introduces them to other humans and the proper way to interact with them, but it also helps socialize them with other dogs. Puppies enjoy interaction with humans but it’s important that they have time to romp and play with other canines, too. This is where an obedience class comes in the handiest, because it teaches dogs necessary skills for being out in public, from heeling on a leash to basic dog park etiquette.

By staying consistent in the rules for your new puppy (as well as the new puppy’s new human family members) and practicing a tremendous amount of patience, you’ll lay the foundation for a wonderful canine-human relationship. Unlike some other species of animals that live only a few years, dogs can live up to ten years or longer. Before saying yes to that new puppy, be sure that your family is ready to take on the commitment of all that comes with adding a dog to the family from its puppyhood to its golden years.

When writer Benjamin Baker’s teenagers began asking for a puppy, he and his wife considered a containment system for their backyard a priority. The reviews and recommendations at helped them select the right product to meet the needs of their new furry family y member without violating strict codes of their community home owner’s association. Benjamin’s family spends their free weekends doing things that allow them to include their dog, like fishing, hiking, and camping.