I get asked quite often what someone should do first when they get a new puppy. So here are 5 things I usually recommend:
1. The first thing is to teach engagement. Teach your puppy how much fun you are. How to get attention from you. You don't want to have to go begging after your puppy for attention when they would rather go visit other people, dogs or smells. Flip that and make them want to beg after you to be included in your fun games.
2. Don't start with a sit. This is a very easy behavior to teach. It can be taught at anytime. You do not need to focus on it the day or even the week your new puppy comes home. Both my boys learned down before they were taught to sit because I didn't want them to think they needed to glue their rear ends to the floor every time they wanted something from me. It gets more challenging to encourage them to offer other behaviors or to keep their butt up off the ground when working on other positions if they think sit is the ultimate command to get things in life.
3. Encourage your puppy to come into your hands for food. You don't need to tolerate biting your hands or not being gentle but knowing how to follow food in your hands and keep their nose to your hand for food is a valuable skill for all sorts of training.
4. Help them safely explore and investigate the world. Work on teaching them how to handle stressful or scary situations. Set them up for success so they can build confidence.
5. Educate yourself on how to socialize your dog appropriately. Socialization does not mean they have to interact with every person or dog on the planet. They do not need to go to daycare or dog parks to learn to play with other dogs. You don't need to let every person pet your puppy. Teach them to focus on you and relax when other dogs are present. Let them play or visit with people and dogs you know can create a positive experience with your puppy instead of shoving them into situations with unpredictable outcomes.