May 28, 2019


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New Puppy Guide: New Puppy Tips You Need to Know

If you’re reading this… I’m assuming it’s because you’ve either already brought a new puppy into your home, or you’re about to. You’re looking for a new puppy guide to ensure the smoothest transition for you and your family! Adding a puppy to your family is the start of a beautiful growth journey for everyone involved.

As I’m sure you know, the first few weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial to setting the tone for the rest of their lives. But unfortunately, the way most people learn to “train” their dogs sets them up for a life of stress, anxiety, and disease.

It is my mission to bring awareness to the shifts that need to occur in order for humans to restore the sacred bond between themselves and their canines – which begins, naturally, in puppyhood.

new puppy guide

Join me in this new puppy guide as we explore how to create the most supportive foundation as your puppy learns about the world around them and grows into the best version of themselves.

Common misunderstandings about “puppy training”

The first thing we need to talk about in our new puppy guide is the misconception that puppies need to be trained at all.

They don’t.

I don’t believe in puppy training, and I don’t believe in “puppy behaviors”. The undesirable behaviors that many puppies demonstrate are a result of poor communication and leadership on the part of the human – they’re a result of confusion and anxiety about the signals that you’re sending.

Dogs are pack animals descended from wolves – and as such, they function with a pack mentality. They need to know who’s in charge of leading, protecting, and providing for the pack. And when they feel confused about the pack hierarchy, they begin to think that they have to be the leaders of the pack. This is stressful for them, because they’re living in a modern world where they aren’t equipped to lead.

The key to creating the foundation for healthy behaviors and a harmonious relationship is to learn the language, learn to speak it fluently and embody the alpha leadership role in your home. This starts from the moment you bring your puppy home.

What is an embodied alpha – and why does it matter?

The alpha is the member of the pack that is responsible for keeping everyone safe. Since canines aren’t equipped to be in charge in a world they don’t understand – it’s essential for humans to take on this job description.

Being an embodied alpha is the act of truly radiating your alpha leadership role in the language your canine can understand: energy. Humans struggle to understand the world we live in- try to imagine how much more stressful and out of their element a dog feels. We need to demonstrate leadership to the canines that depend on us for their survival.

Fully embodying and owning the role of pack leader in your home alongside your canines creates peace, harmony, and trust. Since your canines believe in your ability to provide and protect, they stop attempting to be in charge – resulting in calm, regulated, and well-behaved canines.

The shift from “puppy behaviors” to pack alignment

I had a client come to me with a 10-week-old demonstrating many behaviors considered to be normal for new puppies (barking, whining, separation anxiety). Their neighbors were complaining about the noise and they were lost as to how to manage these behaviors.

Puppies are exploring the world around them, and they’re asking important crucial questions to understand the world, their environment, and the hierarchy of the pack they belong to. Who is in charge, so I can be at ease knowing that my pack is safe? But because most humans are in the dark as to how to answer these questions, we unconsciously create confusion.

This confusion leads to stress, anxiety, insecurity, and nervousness – an unstable foundation that leads to undesirable behavioral patterns. Like – you guessed it – whining, barking, chewing, and separation anxiety.

When the puppy was brought to me and we started working together, guess what? I didn’t see any of those behavioral patterns. It’s because from not only an energetic standpoint, but the tangible language and way of being (including technique) I was answering these key questions and the puppy felt understood and safe.

If these questions aren’t addressed early, you end up with a 6-month-old terror.

Setting the foundation for healthy potty habits

When it comes to preparing to bring a new puppy into the home, “potty training” is often at the top of the to-do list. After all, no one wants ruined carpets or floors due to a lack of understanding around where elimination is and isn’t permitted.

Just like everything else, embodying the alpha role is crucial in helping a puppy to understand what habits they should have around elimination.

A huge part of embodying the alpha role is ensuring that potty time happens on the human’s terms and on the human’s schedule. Dogs are wizards of association, and if you follow a rigid schedule for when your canine can go outside, they will adapt to it and receive the communication that they are in charge of when they go outside. This will show up in all areas of the dog’s life if you validate it in one. We don’t want this.

What we do want is to create as many opportunities as possible to eliminate outside – on your terms and on your schedule. Allowing for all these opportunities sets your puppy up for success and allows you to reinforce positive habits.

Puppy socialization: do’s and don’ts

What advice have you received about socializing your puppy? Most likely, you’ve been told to expose your puppy to as many humans, dogs, and environments as possible in order to get them acclimated to living in the world.

But if you think about this advice realistically– it becomes clear that socializing your puppy in this way is harmful and disrespectful. There’s a specific way to introduce social experiences into your puppy’s life that encourage healthy and neutral relationships for the future – but throwing them into situations without mindfulness of when, where, and how much has quite the opposite effect.

This results in dogs that experience serious distress about interacting with their own species – all because we set them up to fail.

Of course, we don’t want to do this. Dogs are naturally social creatures – but only within their own pack. We have to take great care to create positive experiences and protect them from overwhelm and very likely traumatizing experiences, especially in puppyhood.

Read next: Your Ultimate Guide to Canine Nutrition

Puppy vaccinations guidelines

It’s important to be very mindful about which vaccines we’re giving them, how we’re giving them, and why we are giving them. These vaccines are tough on these little creature’s bodies, which is why I recommend both spacing out vaccines and incorporating a detox protocol to help your puppy feel its best and recover optimally.

For customized insight on how to space out your puppy’s vaccines for their optimal health, schedule a consultation with me. 

Should you teach your puppy commands?

I get asked this question a lot: Should I teach my dogs commands? And I have an answer (and of course, several questions for you).

First of all, I never use the words “command” as it relates to my dogs. Dogs are our best friends! Can you imagine “commanding” your human best friend to do anything? I prefer the word “request”. And because of my aligned leadership, 99% of the time, my dogs receive my requests, because they trust me.

For most “commands” you would teach your dog, you need to ask yourself: What is the purpose of this request? And do you really want to be commanding your dog? Most commands don’t serve a purpose for me.

However, that’s not to say that some requests aren’t important. Possibly the most important request you could make of your canine is the request to come when you call. You practice these kinds of needed requests through your aligned leadership – and the practice becomes permanent.

In conclusion: Your new puppy guide wrapped up

Adding a new canine to your home is a beautiful opportunity to learn beside one another – if you’re willing to take on the responsibility of the alpha. I’m so excited for your relationship to bloom. Share this new puppy guide with someone who needs it!

These first weeks of your puppy’s life are crucial moments to establish a solid foundation. Don’t waste them! My e-course, the Embodied Alpha, gives you the foundation to inject magic into your relationship as your puppy learns and grows.

separation anxiety in dogs

Sasha Armstrong

Founder of Canine State of Mind

A place where dog parents can learn more about canine behavior and how to create the environment for a closer relationship with their dog.



Understanding Energetic Cues and Expressions in Dogs

Transforming your relationship with your dog requires understanding how they view our world and communicate in it. Learning to read your dog’s energetics and cues goes beyond interpreting their behavior–it’s about cultivating a profound connection to our canine companions. In this comprehensive guide, you will learn to:
  • Decode canine energetic cues
  • Become a confident and peaceful leader capable of meeting your dog’s needs
  • Foster trust, respect, and empathy with your dog
  • Ensure your dog feels safe + valued
  • Cultivate a deep sense of of purpose in your own life

My gift to you