Just like bringing home a newborn, introducing a puppy to your household is a life event filled with both excitement and potential pitfalls.
With the highs of playtime and cuddles on the sofa, comes the lows of sleepless nights, chewed slippers and pee puddles on the carpet.
DOGS OF OZ COMP
Do you have Australia's Top Dog? Enter here and WIN!
Faced with these obstacles - and the responsibility of getting your new canine companion on the right path from the get-go - can leave many first-time puppy parents feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.
But fear not, we've got you covered.
Petbarn head trainer Meredith Gallanty offers up her top five tricks of the trade, from socialisation, to basic training, to help newbie owners on their way to achieving puppy perfection.
START WITH THE BASICS
The best time for training is right away and first-up in your puppy command arsenal is an all-rounder: 'sit'.
Useful in so many situations, 'sit' is a great starting point as most dogs already sit on their own accord, all you need to do it connect the command with the existing posture.
"Sitting is a basic behaviour that your pup will use daily throughout their whole life," Ms Gallanty said.
"The best way to teach is by holding a treat in your hand at nose-level, and slowly moving the treat up and back towards the back of their head.
Petbarn head trainer Meredith Gallanty says 'sit' is a great starting point as most dogs already sit on their own accord. Picture: iStock
"As the pup follows the treat with his nose, he will naturally move into a sit. As his bottom touches the ground, gently say 'sit' and pop the treat in his mouth.
"Ask your puppy to sit every time you are going to do anything with them including just for a pat or to say hello.
"This helps your puppy to learn good manners and stops them jumping up and nipping when excited."
When it comes to training your new furry-friend, positive reinforcement is absolutely crucial - be it through words of encouragement, petting or treats.
"Learning to 'come' when called is an essential skill and one that requires positive reinforcement," Ms Gallanty said.
Petbarn head trainer Meredith Gallanty says an enriched environment for your dog creates an enriched brain. Picture: iStock
"Start by calling your pups name in a happy tone and rewarding them with a treat when they come to you.
"Do this around the house many times before taking them out, and make sure you never call them to come for a negative experience - remember, positive reinforcement is key."
CREATE THE RIGHT ENVIRONMENT
An enriched environment creates an enriched brain.
Given the first 18 weeks is the most important developmental period for dogs, creating the right environment for the new addition to your family is important.
"A bored puppy gets into mischief," Ms Gallanty said.
Toilet training is something that will be top of the agenda for new puppy parents, according to Petbarn head trainer Meredith Gallanty. Picture: iStock
"Give puppy regular play times, training times and nap times, and have suitable toys available for them to chew - put away your expensive leather shoes.
"Proper crate training is also a great idea to give your pup a safe and happy place to relax."
TOILET TRAIN LIKE A BOSS
Given the consequences when a pup gets it wrong, toilet training is something which will be top of the agenda for new puppy parents.
"Take them out to the same place every time - after every meal, nap, play and walk - and wait with them until they go then offer a reward and praise," Ms Gallanty said.
"Do this on a lead if they get too distracted, so you can calmly bring them back to the right spot."
Petbarn head trainer Meredith Gallanty says dogs are creatures of habit, so a routine is exceptionally important. Picture: iStock
Set a routine - dogs are creatures of habit - and make sure never to punish your puppy for accidents.
"Accidents are a normal part of early toilet training and must not be interrupted or punished," Ms Gallanty said.
"We want puppy to feel safe and confident toileting with us around so we can easily ask them to go on cue later on.
"Make sure you clean up any accidents with a proper pet stain cleaner that breaks down the urine and faeces properly otherwise the puppy will likely toilet on that spot again."
SOCIALISATION IS KEY
Entire books have been written on how to successfully socialise puppies - it is important. Puppies need to learn early on the world is safe and fun, as any negative experiences can linger.
A great way to get them socialised is through puppy school.
"Puppy school is a secure environment where your new pet can mingle with other puppies and people," Ms Gallanty said.
"Look for trainers that are experienced.
"Schools where the pups are just running around off-lead aren't the best way to learn structured training.
"Calm socialisation is the best path to success."