Do you have a new four-legged addition to your family? Congratulations! The training your puppy gets during its first year sets the foundation for the rest of its life, so you want to ensure that you’ve got everything you need to help them succeed. We’ve put together a list of the top five training products you’ll want to have for your puppy training journey.
When training your puppy, you want to focus on rewarding your dog for performing the desired behavior – not punishing the undesired behavior. Over time, your puppy will learn that when they perform this behavior something positive happens and will start to do it more often. A treat that can be ripped into small pieces, is semi-moist, and strong-smelling, like our Dog Joy® Turkey and Apple Bites works as a great reward. Not only will your pup love these high-value treats, but they’re also a much healthier choice because they’re made with real, fresh ingredients that you don’t have to feel as guilty feeding throughout the day as you train. Check out Freshpet's Product Selector to find the best puppy food for your new addition.
New dog owners are quick to discover that dogs don’t innately know how to use a leash, it’s something they need to be taught. Training your pup to walk nicely on a leash when they’re young will help you avoid unpleasant and potentially dangerous, behaviors in the future such as excessive pulling. Many dog owners are surprised to hear that when it comes to choosing a leash, the most basic option is usually best. A 6-foot leash is a perfect length to let your pup move around comfortably and opting for a durable material like nylon will be nice and long-lasting. It’s also worth mentioning that many trainers recommend avoiding retractable leashes for training, as the constant low-level tension your dog feels while using it actually encourages them to pull. The Max and Neo Dog Gear Double Handle Leash has an additional handle at the bottom, which is helpful in the event you need your pup immediately at your side, such as when crossing a busy street. Plus, for every leash they sell they donate one to a rescue in need!
Many new pet parents worry that confining their puppy to a crate is a form of punishment, but this doesn’t have to be the case! If crates are used properly they can act as a great tool for house training. Dogs are very clean animals and do not like to go to the bathroom in the same place they rest and sleep. Giving them a crate with enough room to move around in, but not enough that they can go to the bathroom and keep away from it, will encourage your pup to let you know when they need to relieve themselves. The MidWest Homes for Pets Single & Double Door Life Stages Dog Crate is a popular choice, as it comes with a divider you can move as your puppy grows to make sure they always have the right amount of space.
To make crate training a positive experience, it can help to reserve a special toy they can only play with while inside. Kongs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all of which can be filled with tasty treats like our Freshpet® Select Puppy Recipe with Chicken, Egg, and Vegetables. Simply put a small serving of the roll inside the Kong (do not leave the recipe in the toy for more than one hour since it's fresh food) and your pup will be so entertained they won’t even think about whining to be let out. What we love about Kongs is that the puppy version has been customized for growing teeth and gums and helps encourage healthy play, satisfies instinctual needs, and provides mental stimulation. If that wasn’t enough, it’s dishwasher safe so you don’t have to worry about washing it by hand!
Settling into a new home can be overwhelming for puppies, especially if it’s a large home with many rooms. By using a pet gate to limit the amount of the house they can access, you can give them time to become settled in a smaller space and slowly be introduced to the rest of their home. This also means that you can keep them out of rooms that are hard to completely puppy-proof, such as those with wall-to-wall carpeting. MidWest Homes for Pets Steel Pet Gate is a stylish choice that comes in both black and white steel and uses pressure mounts to secure it, so you don’t have to damage your walls.
In addition to investing in these top products, if you have an existing pet at home, we recommend that you take a look at our guide on adding a new addition to the family. A welcoming home, some healthy dog food in their bowls, and a smooth introduction will help increase the chances that your pets become friends for life!