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The ABCs of Puppy Care

So, you’re looking to get a new puppy, or perhaps you've already brought one home? What an exciting time! Having a new puppy can be a blast, but it also comes with many responsibilities. There is a lot of commitment and work that goes into puppy care. While it can seem like a heavy investment, it will absolutely pay off in one of the best friends you will ever have. 

If you are new to owning a puppy or it has been a while, you may not know where to begin with proper puppy care. So, here’s a closer look at the basics of puppy care and training. Take a look!

Puppy Training: The ABC’s

Susan Garrett, a well-known dog trainer and educator, created a system called the ABCs of Dog Training. These are a summary of how a dog reacts to stimuli and the basics of how to use them in training. The ABCs stand for:


  • Antecedent: What happened before a dog’s behavior, such as a trigger, distraction, cue, or stimuli. 
  • Behavior: What the dog did in response to the antecedent. 
  • Consequence: The consequence of that behavior. 


For example, say your puppy sees a squirrel as you're walking. The puppy then considers chasing it but decides to keep walking with you. You can then feed them a treat as a reward or consequence in the ABCs case. This will help to reinforce the behavior of disregarding distractions like this or simply acknowledging them and moving on. 

Splitting your puppy training down into these basic steps can help you train in bitesize lessons and encourage better individual behaviors over time. Don’t forget to keep training regular and consistent to reinforce these behaviors with your puppy. Learn more about Susan’s ABC method here

How to Socialize a Puppy

Proper puppy socialization is another important part of caring for your new family member. Of course, some may be wondering how to socialize a puppy. 

The basic idea behind puppy socialization is to expose your puppy to many different people, animals, places, sights, sounds, and other stimuli. This helps them to get used to new things and not be apprehensive or scared of them. The first three months of a puppy’s life are the most important socialization time, which can influence how they develop and behave in the future. 

To help jumpstart socialization, you can always sign up for puppy socialization classes. 

General Tips for Puppy Care

There is far more to puppy care than training and socialization, but these two things will help you get a great start with your puppy. Here are some other general tips to help you care for your new family member.

  • Create a Haven: Dedicate a space in your home where your dog can go to rest or relax. Just like any other family member, your dog needs his or her own space to be alone. 
  • Start with Basic Commands: Your new puppy can begin to learn basic commands like “sit” and “stay” as soon as you bring them home around 8 weeks old. Be sure to start teaching these right away to make the learning process easier. 
  • Lots of Chew Toys: You can’t have too many chew toys, especially when your puppy gets their adult teeth at around 12-16 weeks. They will want to chew and nibble as these teeth come in, so make sure to offer them toys over your shoes or toes. 

Start with the Best Nutrition for Puppies

Proper nutrition is another critical part of puppy care. Don’t just grab any old kibble off the shelf, as many of these tend to be packed with fillers and non-nutritious ingredients. Instead, start your puppy off right with Get Joy’s fresh freeze dried meals. Our meals give your dog the nutrition they need to live a happy and healthy life. Start shopping today!