If Your Puppy Could Talk, What Would He Tell You He Needs?

“If your puppy could talk, what would he tell you he needs?” is the question I ask many new puppy owners. I like to see how the answers differ.

Puppies need love and affection they say. And most do say love and affection first. Others may follow up with some things they would want me to hear like obedience training or food and water and to know they are in a safe place.

Well, truth be told he needs all of those things – many he needs in moderation and some he needs a lot of – and it may not be in the order you think. Let’s explore what your puppy would need – if he could talk.



If your puppy could talk, these are some great puppy skills he would want you to have so that you could best interact with him in the early stages of his life with you.

He would tell you that he needs to have the highest level of comfort and trust in you, but at the same time respect you, be obedient and be a good listener to you.

When you give him these things, he will be able to build on this relationship with you and/or your family as a puppy, then young dog and finally into the years ahead as an adult dog.

Even if you are experienced with puppies, perhaps you will find something new here that will fill in the gaps with your current information. If you are just beginning with your first new puppy, I hope you find this informative, positive and practical.


Here are three very important areas of your puppy relationship on which you should work


• Bonding with your puppy to build trust
• New puppy needs
• Puppy control

Let’s take a look at each one of these “relationship areas” and see exactly what it takes to build on your successes with your new puppy.


Bonding with your puppy to build trust


Love your new puppy. This is an important part of his new puppy care. Spend his first critical days with you giving your puppy lots of love and affection. Do not be harsh with him in any way.

His house training program must be put into effect on day one but be gentle with him – no hard corrections – that would keep him from bonding with you. Let him sniff around and get to know the house – wherever he’s allowed to go be sure to closely monitor him so he has no accidents.

He learns on a physical level so how you use your body language, eye contact and tone of voice is going to be critically important.

Show him your affection with your touch (body language.) he loves physical contact so you can begin with a favorite of new puppies – belly rubs! Using your hands to gently pet and give soothing belly rubs is a good way to express how you feel towards him. Cuddle and hug him and avoid any interactions that could cause him to be aggressive or bite.

Speaking in a calm soothing voice lets him know you appreciate what he has done because of the warm sincere praise (tone of voice.) This voice inflection will create calm in him. Your calm tone of voice helps you bond with your puppy. Anger, yelling and screaming causes him to become stressed and anxious, creating an unstable environment.

Make sure you give – and get attention (eye contact) as you communicate physically and verbally to your puppy. All of this will begin to create “calm expectations” with your dog as you build a lasting trust in the relationship with your dog.

If there is more than one family member, spread the puppy love around. Everyone should work on bonding with him.

While love and affection is very important, your new puppy will need more than that. He’s going to need a “roadmap” to help him navigate the treacherous roads of house training, chewing, jumping and puppy biting as he learns to live in a human world. This roadmap will help him to avoid the pitfalls and the potholes of life. You want his – and your experience to be a great one.

Your new puppy needs

What he needs the second he walks into your home is the roadmap I spoke of before and it should take the shape of rules, boundaries and expectations.  Your new puppy should know to:

• Always follow your rules
• Always respect your boundaries and, he should
• Have expectations of what to do and when to do it

Puppy control in your home

He will explore with his ears, nose and especially his mouth. The rule is if he can get it into his mouth, he will eat it. It’s that simple.

Taking advantage of crates, gates and exercise pens is a logical and sensible way to safely control your puppy when you can’t eyes-on, hands-on supervise him. When he is out of the crate, simply put him on a leash to control where you want him to be.

CAUTION: Do not tether your puppy near by with the leash while you are busy working. He could chew through the leash and pee/poop when you are not looking. Worse yet get his leash caught on something and choke.

Having your puppy on a leash helps him to make the right decisions and also allows you to:

• Minimize jumping
• Limit where he goes and,
• Keep him from chasing and biting the kids.
• Keep him under control and “in the classroom” while working on daily obedience training 


The bottom line is that routine and consistent control of your puppy can keep him safe and it will also lower his and your stress. Now that’s a win-win situation that will cause him to say, “Yes, this is what I need to succeed!”

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“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell, professional dog trainer for 25+ years, serving 8,500+ clients,  has a profound understanding of dog behavior and the many things, we as humans, do that influence that behavior – good or bad.  Jim has the ability to not only steer dogs and puppies down the right path but to also train the owners to understand their part in having a great dog.

His Nose to Tail Puppy Training is the culmination of these years of training into an easy, step-by-step process so that your puppy understands what you expect of him because you know how to teach him.  You empower him to be able to give you the behavior you want and you empower him to be successful at living in a human home.  The result – one awesome puppy and one happy family.