Dear Jeni: My family recently adopted our very first puppy, what should I be training her to do first? 

Puppies learn very quickly with proper instruction. The first few days at home are extremely important for puppies and the precedents you set now will last a lifetime. All family members must agree upon responsibility and rules for the new pup. You will need certain items such as a dog bed, crate, food and water bowls, puppy food, collar, leash, and toys. Keep training sessions short. Your puppy will see everything as a game, so keep him stimulated by changing what he’s learning. Do each command for about five minutes and come back to it later during the day. You can start with the command “Sit.” When they give you the desired response be sure to praise them in a high, excited voice and say “goooood!” Once your puppy is responding consistently to “sit,” you can move on to other commands such as “stay” and “here.” Similarly, you can teach your puppy their name by calling them, followed up with lots of praise, “gooood Max” in a high, excited voice especially when they turn to look at you or come toward you.

- Jeni (aka The Doglady)