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What Not To Do With a Puppy: 3 Mistakes to Avoid | Pupford

September 28th, 2023

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Welcoming a new puppy (or older dog) into your home is a time of excitement, nervousness, and oftentimes, stress! While you will certainly make mistakes along the way (and that's okay), here are 3 things not to do with a puppy!

And not only will avoiding these mistakes make YOUR life easier, but they will also help your pup live a happy and healthier life as well.

If you remember one thing from this article, remember that mistakes will happen! And, of course, remember that the puppy phase is tough, but it gets better.

Let's get right into it. 👇


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First off, if you're doing any of these things, that's okay.

One of the most important aspects of being a pup parent is realizing there is a LOT to learn. You'll learn and grow, just like your pup!

With that being said, here are 3 things not to do with a puppy:

  1. Overconfidence in potty training progress
  2. Expecting your puppy to outgrow behaviors
  3. Giving too much freedom

Let's look at each one below. 👇

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you should not have too confidence in a puppy with potty training | Pupford

One of the first things you likely think of when training a new puppy is potty training. Because let's face it, no one wants their carpets, rugs, and floors ruined!

And often in the first couple of weeks, you are on top of the potty training! You set timers, take your pup out frequently, reward good potty breaks outside, etc... And then, overconfidence creeps in!

You might start to get lazy with setting timers, and you might generally start to feel that your puppy has the hang of potty training. And inevitably, accidents will start to occur again!

One of the biggest puppy mistakes you can make is to get overconfident with your pup's potty training abilities! While there isn't a hard and fast rule, I would say that your pup isn't fully potty trained until he/she hasn't had an accident in the home for 3 months.

Yup, 3 months.

Again, learn from my mistakes and don't become overconfident with your dog's potty training abilities. Stick to a schedule, be adamant about potty breaks, and continue to reward the right behavior to avoid accidents in the home!

Related Reading: 21 Dog Training Mistakes


dog chewing up shoes on the couch | Pupford

You've likely heard people say something like "oh, they're just a puppy... they'll outgrow that". Ahhh, what a mistake! You should not think that way!

While there are behaviors and things your pup will become better at naturally over time, you can NOT expect them to just outgrow behaviors.

Every behavior that your pup might struggle with needs training. You must put in the work.

And while it's true that an older dog will often mellow out and become less hyper, that doesn't mean they will magically outgrow things like
puppy nipping, potty accidents, or poor recall.

Don't plan on your pup just outgrowing something, work on it and train it!

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While this mistake is similar to mistake #1, there is a bit of a difference.

I can still remember this costly mistake like it was yesterday...

Our puppy Sunny had started to do really well with not
chewing up objects. She had started to learn what was and wasn't okay to have in her mouth. And let me tell you, we were feeling GREAT about that!

Fast forward a few days and we brought home a new custom table for the nook area of our home. It was a beautiful piece of woodwork honestly.

And, of course, it just so happened that we had a lot going on that day and had to leave Sunny for a little bit longer than usual without supervision. Well, I'm sure you can guess what happened...

We gave Sunny too much freedom and she chewed up the edge of our brand new table. We were FURIOUS.

But whose fault was that? Sunny's? Certainly not... she was still a puppy and had never ever been left alone around a nice tasty wood table.

We made the mistake of thinking she was 'better' than she really was with chewing objects, and we gave her too much freedom. Not a fun lesson to learn!

And this type of situation can be applied to off-leash behavior especially. I can almost promise you that if you think your
puppy's recall is good enough for off-leash behavior, that means you should wait at least 3 more months.

puppy sleeping on the couch | Pupford


While mistakes are inevitable (and part of the process), I hope you can learn from these mistakes that I made as a new pup parent! Jot the mistakes down as things not to do with a new puppy!

When in doubt, give a little less freedom, take your pup out to go potty more often than not, and stick to a training schedule. You (and your home) will thank you for it!

What mistakes have you made as a pup parent?! Let me know in the

Need extra help with training your new puppy (or dog)? Sign up for the 100% free online training class 30 Day Perfect Pup taught by Zak George.
Sign up here!

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Hello pup parents and welcome to today's episode of The Perfect Pup podcast. My name is Devin. I'm excited for this episode. I'm going to tell you three mistakes that I made and me and my wife, mistakes that we made as new pup parents that we regretted and that hopefully you can avoid so that you have more success, less frustration, and a better behaved dog than without these ideas. So let's get right into it.

I'm going to say this first. First and foremost, if you're listening to this, first off, give yourself more credit. I don't say any of these things... If you're about to hear some of these things and think, "Oh no, I'm doing all of those things," that's okay. I've made these mistakes as well. We all make mistakes as pup parents. It is okay to make mistakes. That needs to be clear. You're not a bad pup parent. If you make one of these mistakes, it's just a mistake and hopefully you learn from it and you move on, you do better next time. That's life.

First one, potty training over-confidence. What I mean by that is oftentimes when people bring home a new dog or a puppy, one of the main things they're thinking about is, "I don't want this dog to go to the bathroom in the house. I'm going to be on top of potty training. I'm going to set timers, take the dog out every 30 minutes. I'm going to be on top of it. I'm going to not let my dog roam the house if they haven't gone to the bathroom recently," all these things. We're very on top of it in those first weeks and months where it's like, "Okay, I have a puppy, I need to be focusing on potty training."

What often happens and a mistake that we made was you get to month four per se or when your puppy's four or five months old and you've had them in the house a couple months and you're thinking, "Hey, they haven't had an accident in a while. They're doing pretty well." And naturally when things are going good, we often get a little bit lazy with our attention to potty training. We become over-confident in our dog's ability.

And what often happens is you stop setting those timers or you stop sticking to that specific schedule and you try to push things a little bit further in regards to how long you're going to let your pups stay in the house before they go to the bathroom, et cetera, and then accidents happen. And you know what? It's just that. It is an accident.

So if this mistake does happen to you, if you do make this mistake, really all you can do is take your dog outside, try and get them to go to the bathroom again, reinforce when they go outside, clean it up, start fresh and commit to being less over-confident, commit to saying, "Hey, my dog's pretty good with potty training, but I still need to stick very closely to schedules and setting timers," and being adamant about taking your dog out frequently. That mistake will save you a lot of headache and cleaning and general frustration with your pup. So hopefully you avoid that mistake.

The second mistake that I see and hear very often is, "My puppy will outgrow it." Here's kind of an interesting caveat on this. I do believe, and this is more my own opinion and not necessarily fact or science, but I do believe that a lot of behaviors will get better as your dog grows, just in the sense that they will likely have less energy and be a little bit more calm.

And generally speaking, in theory, you've been training other parts, you're working on a lot of different behaviors as you're training. And I do believe that as you improve one behavior, you often see kind of that help improve other behaviors as well. But it is a trap to think, "Oh, my puppy will just outgrow this."

For example, puppy biting, that is not something that your dog will just outgrow. There has to be training involved with it. And even barking, people think, "Oh, it's so cute, their little puppy bark," and then they become six months, seven months and they bark and they're loud. And you think, "Oh, they'll get better as they get older or leash training, they'll get more calm," yes, a dog getting older can help them better understand I guess like how to kind of live in society as a dog and there's training that's happening and whatever, but you can't just expect your dog to outgrow quote, unquote, bad behaviors. You have to train, you have to put in the work, you have to put in the effort. You cannot rely on age alone to fix your dog's problem behaviors. It just doesn't work like that.

The third mistake that we made, and we made this mistake way, way, way too frequently, was giving too much freedom in the house and even outside of the house. So what I mean by that is, again, kind of similar to the potty training instance where you're really on top of it for a while and you're setting timers and you're constantly making sure your dog has gone to the bathroom, and then slowly, over time, you think, "Oh, they're doing pretty good. I don't know if I need to worry about it as much," and it's the same thing with giving too much freedom in the home.

One thing you can do to avoid a lot of potty accidents where you're not okay with them happening, things getting chewed up that you're not okay with getting chewed up and just general problems within your home with your dog, you can avoid that by not giving too much freedom.

So what I mean by that is utilizing a crate. If you're not going to use a crate, utilizing things like playpens or Xpens or dog doors or baby gates, using doors, keeping your dog in a certain area that you're okay with issues potentially happening and it's puppy proof. Because here's the thing, if you give your dog too much freedom, you say, "Oh, hey, my dog's doing pretty good. I haven't seen them chew on something in a couple days and they haven't had accidents in a while, I'll let them roam the house," what's going to happen is you're a human and you're going to get distracted and your puppy's going to get into something, whether they're going to eat something, they're going to chew on something, they're going to destroy something, they're going to pee on something that you don't want them to, and now you are fighting against a bad behavior.

Because every time that your dog does go potty in the house, or every time that your dog does chew on something you don't want them to or gets into food that you don't want to, they're getting reinforced. And what gets reinforced is more likely to happen in the future. And what I mean by that is with potty training, for example, if your dog goes potty in the house and they relieve themselves, they feel better. They look around, nothing happens. In that instant, they were reinforced. They did what felt good for them, which was going to the bathroom, and nothing bad happened. They're okay and they're going to continue on. In their brain, they're going to say, "Oh, I can do that again in the future."

Or same thing with chewing on, for example, an electrical cord, right? Like heaven forbid something would happen, but something might not happen. They might just get that satisfaction of chewing and they think, "Oh, there's a lot of these electrical cords all over the house. I'm going to keep chewing these. There doesn't seem to be anything bad happening to me."

So that's what I mean by, as you give too much freedom, you often run into bad behaviors and then you're fighting those bad behaviors. You're having to kind of overcome the bad that happened and finding more good.

So when in doubt, do not give more freedom. Like you will not regret being a little bit extra cautious and a little bit extra careful about where you let your dog go and what you allow them to do in that first year specifically because it's just going to help avoid problem behaviors in the future.

So I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope that, again, if you are sitting here listening to this and you think, "Wow, I made all three of those mistakes today," that's all right. I did them too. I have done, I promise you, I'm telling you these mistake from personal experience, messed up many, many, many times, had some very, very frustrating experiences with shoes, purses, brand new tables getting destroyed, whatever you want to call it, a brand new rug getting peed on. I've seen it all. I've experienced it all. It happens. We make mistakes, but hopefully you will try to learn from my experience and not make as many of these mistakes as possible.

And if you are dealing with these mistakes, again, it's okay. Give yourself more credit than you might be. You are doing your best. Keep working at it. Stay adamant with your training routines, your potty routines, your feeding routines, and I promise it gets easier and it gets better as time goes on, especially as you do as much as you can to avoid these mistakes in the future.

Related Reading: Do Dogs Like Routines?

So thank you for listening/watching. If you have not already, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts. It's very helpful for this show to get more exposure so more pup parents can find the help that they need. But other than that, we will catch you on the next episode.

🐶 Don't miss out! Sign up for the 100% free online video course 30 Day Perfect Pup. Get started here! 🐶


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