Getting a puppy is a joyful and exciting experience. Few things are cuter than a cuddly puppy, but it’s important to act quickly to train the new addition to your family or you may find that Fido develops some bad habits that carry over into adulthood.

Dogs go from adolescence into full maturity in a condensed span of about two years. And while your dog should continue to receive training throughout its entire life, there are a few things you should teach your puppy early on to prevent unwanted behaviors down the line that are difficult to undo. Here are the top three things to teach your new puppy.

The First 3 Things You Should Teach Your Puppy

1. Socialization
Have you ever encountered another dog on leash who seems fearful or aggressive? That’s usually because they were poorly socialized. When you first get your new puppy, you will have the opportunity to introduce them to a wide variety of people, places, and things in order to get them acclimated to the world around them.

Once your puppy has received the right immunizations, make sure you expose them to other dogs (big and small), people of a wide variety of ages, opportunities to safely swim, and car rides. It’s important that your puppy enjoys these encounters to develop a positive relationship with them, so keep treats handy and make sure you can always control the environment.

2. House Training
Your puppy will probably have very little bladder control when you first bring them into your home, and that’s to be expected. A puppy can generally hold their bladder for about one hour per month of age, and most puppies are adopted around 2-3 months. Successful house training depends on your ability to stop your puppy from going in undesirable places, and in order to do that, you need to be hyper diligent about letting them out as frequently as necessary. That means you need to take your puppy out every 2-3 hours.

You should be able to pick your puppy up and place them in a grassy area to do their business, helping to establish a habit of going only in this designated area. Crate training can help immensely with house training, as dogs will not soil where they sleep (unless they absolutely have to!). Never punish your puppy for going in the house, as this doesn’t solve the problem and could make your dog fearful of you.

3. Reliable Recall
There are plenty of commands you’ll want to get started on, and some of the easiest ones like “sit” and “take it” are very trainable to a young puppy. However, the most important command you can teach your puppy is reliable recall. You need to be able to get your puppy to come to you when his or her name is called. If your dog will not come to you when called, it could stray from you in a dangerous situation. For example, if your dog ran into the road and you saw a car approaching, a reliable recall could prevent your dog from getting hit by a car.

Treats are your friend when teaching your puppy to come to you. Start out in a low-level stimuli environment, such as inside your house, and praise or reward your puppy with a treat each time they come to you naturally. Over time, you can pair this with a verbal cue. Raise the stakes by moving this training outdoors with a long lead.

While training your puppy, don’t get discouraged if these behaviors take some time to instill. Puppies have a pretty short attention span, so it’s important to take breaks, praise often, and keep it light. Not only will your puppy will benefit greatly from this training, but you’ll grow your relationship with them in the process.