What Does it Take to Raise a New Puppy?

puppies puppy socialization Puppy Training

It may come as a surprise, but many dog owners who also have children agree, raising a puppy can be harder than raising a baby. But what does it really take to raise a new puppy?  This article will cover making the most out of your puppy’s “socialization window,” training your puppy with a special […]

It may come as a surprise, but many dog owners who also have children agree, raising a puppy can be harder than raising a baby. But what does it really take to raise a new puppy? 

This article will cover making the most out of your puppy’s “socialization window,” training your puppy with a special emphasis on your puppy’s etiquette when meeting new people, and teaching your puppy how to behave while they’re alone. 

So, get your pen and paper ready, we’re about to get started!

A precious puppy loves being puppy trained in a sunny kitchen by his caring owner.


When the word “socialization” is used in conjunction with puppies and puppy training, it refers to the process of exposing your puppy to new people, animals, places, and things for the purposes of gently training him how to interact with and behave around those unknown stimuli. 

Puppies, like babies and children, have a much greater capacity to learn and be “molded” than adults. By introducing your puppy to friends, strangers, other domestic pets, animals, wildlife, and children of all ages, your puppy will learn about the world, how others in the world behave, and how your puppy should treat them. 

The socialization window, or period of time when your puppy will learn the most, is during puppyhood, which lasts until your puppy is about 8 – 10 months old. Larger breeds have a longer puppyhood, which could last a little over a year. During this socialization window, you’ll want to make the most out of your puppy’s curiosity and be sure to expose him to new people, animals, places, and things as much as possible. 

Bring doggy treats along and use praise, pats, and positive reinforcement to help make your puppy’s experience meeting new people fun and enjoyable. Try not to expose your puppy to too much at once, though. And if you notice he gets overly excited to the point of anxiety, then we recommend pulling him back, reducing the stimuli, and soothing him with comforting pats.  


As part of the socialization process, your puppy will encounter strangers whenever he leaves the home with you during walks or trips to the dog park. Likewise, he’ll also encounter “strangers” when your friends, neighbors, and family members stop by your home for the first time. In both instances, in the home and outside of the home, your puppy will need to learn how to behave. It will be your job to teach your puppy the proper etiquette of interacting with strangers. 

Now, these two “areas” of at the home versus away from the home are very different. Dogs are territorial and so when strangers come onto their territory, i.e. your home, the dogs’ natural instincts will kick in. For this reason, special attention should be paid to carefully training your puppy on how to behave with strangers who visit the home. 

Ultimately, your goal in terms of training your puppy should be that your puppy takes your lead regarding strangers. If you greet a stranger with a warm welcome, your puppy should regard the stranger as friend, not foe. You are the leader of the “pack” you have with your puppy. During the training process, you’ll be surprised at how intuitive your puppy is to your body language and tone of voice. Your puppy will actually know if the person approaching your house is a friend or yours or a total stranger to you. But even so, you can make the information of who the “new person” is crystal clear to your puppy by using a calm, happy tone of voice when you introduce your friends and others. 

Beyond shaping your puppy’s initial reaction to visitors, you can also train him as to how to treat these new people. Your puppy should know not to jump up on, nip, or otherwise accost your houseguest in ways you don’t approve of. This specific etiquette training, which includes teaching your puppy all the basic commands, will carry over into his interactions with others outside of the home. 

What it takes to raise a puppy in this sense boils down to being consistent, firm, and keeping a daily routine of new and repeating “exposures.” When your puppy goes on his daily walk with you and encounters the same faces and also new people, he will develop a greater and more reliable ability to behave how you’ve trained him. 

An adorable Jack Russell Terrier puppy lays with a green ball on a couch.


Your puppy won’t always be able to be with you. Maybe you work outside the home and tend to be gone between 8 – 10 hours a day. Or maybe you spend most of your time at home, but there will be times when you’re away from home for at least a few hours, whether it’s to buy groceries or attend a friend’s birthday party. Either way, your puppy will need to learn how to behave himself when he’s home all alone. 

Training your puppy how to behave and entertain himself in acceptable manners while you’re gone is an important part of his development. You can think of this as an extension of crate training. Crate training involves helping your puppy get used to sleeping in his crate and also using his crate as a “safe place” and his “personal space” to rest. You might also use his crate for disciplinary “time outs.” 

Thanks to the crate, your puppy has probably already gotten a taste of what it takes to accept being alone. During crate training, he’s learned how to self-soothe and how not to be destructive. And he’s learned how to be patient and wait for your return. 

Once he’s a little older, you won’t want to keep him in his crate or playpen when you’re away from home for hours. It’s time to start training him on how to behave when he has rein of the home at large while you’re gone. Now, it’s probably not a good idea to let him have free rein of every room in the home. Some places should remain off limits to him, and you can do this by keeping those doors closed. You’ll also want to remove or eliminate “temptations” from the home. You can do this by making sure all the garbage can lids “lock” shut. Make sure human foods and snacks are secured behind cabinets. 

Go through the kitchen and bathroom and make sure that there are no “interesting smells” that might entice your puppy to try to eat it. Your house should be puppy proof anyway, but going the extra mile like this will make a big difference. Finally, make sure that your puppy has everything he needs before you leave. 

The tricky aspect of this area of puppy training is that if your puppy makes a mess in your absence, it will be difficult to discipline him for it. Your puppy might not “connect” that you’re mad about a mess he made hours ago. For this reason, we don’t recommend punishing or using negative reinforcement training for any messes or disobedience your puppy committed when you were gone. That being said, you might be surprised at how your puppy picks up on your displeasure. He knows he destroyed the couch pillow. You’re not pleased as you clean up the feathers and stuffing. This experience alone can be enough to teach him not to destroy the pillows again.    


As you can probably tell by now based on the areas we covered in this article, raising a puppy is more than a full-time job. It requires around the clock work. But for all the effort you put in, the love and enjoyment you get out of your well-behaved puppy will make it all worth it. 

Puppyhood only lasts 8 – 10 months. This is the period of your puppy’s life where he’ll learn the most, and the more you train him, the better he’ll behave for the rest of his life. If you’re in the thick of training your puppy, rest assured that the watchful intensity that you’re using now won’t be necessary forever. In less than a year, you’ll be out of the woods, and your furry friend will be a reliable, trustworthy companion. 

Are you in Texas and ready for your first puppy? Consider coming to one of our Petland Texas locations to meet our purebred puppies for sale. We work with trustworthy dog breeders and all of our puppies are American Kennel Club approved. To learn more about our puppies and ethics, visit the About Us page of our website.