Take a break from those cute puppy cuddles to make sure your new pooch learns these essential life skills.

Train your puppy: To use a crate

Cute welsh corgi pembroke puppy dog in a crate training sittingVellicos/Shutterstock

It’s not easy learning how to train a puppy, but crate training is an excellent way to help them settle into your home and get them on a schedule. Once your puppy adjusts to its new schedule he will learn to anticipate bathroom breaks and bedtime, making your life a lot easier. Diana Lipari, who breeds and shows beagles with the American Kennel Club, had these wise words for first time pet owners: “A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that once the dog is six months to a year they can let them roam freely. If they’re home by themselves they may get bored, they want something to do, and that means ripping up your sofa. So it’s always good to train puppies to love their crates. One way to do that is to give them treats every time they go in their crates and feed them from their crates. They’ll learn to love their crates and then you can leave them in the crates when you go out, as long as it’s not a really long time.” Check out the 13 unbelievable facts you never knew about your dog.

Train your puppy: Bathroom rules

Female pomeranian dog peeing on street concrete groundBeer5020/Shutterstock

All of the American Kennel Club experts we talked to named house-training as one of the top things you need to do to train your puppy once you bring them home. Karen Wagner, a German Shepherd Dog breeder, recommends teaching your puppy “the house rules” as soon as you get her. Be very firm; if your dog doesn’t learn these rules as a puppy, she probably won’t follow them as an adult. Crate training, leash training, and positive reinforcement will go a long way in teaching your puppy to use the bathroom only outside. Don’t miss the 53 mistakes every dog owner makes.

Train your puppy: To walk on a leash

The white puppyDet-anan/Shutterstock

It may seem obvious, but playful puppies don’t always walk easily on a leash. Practice makes perfect in this case. Training a puppy to walk calmly and respectfully on a leash will help you when you socialize them and housebreak them. “If you can’t control your dog on a leash, then you’re not going to go very far,” says Theresa Viesto, a Labrador retriever breeder and handle.