MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Getting a new puppy is a big commitment, which is why giving a puppy as a surprise gift is usually a bad idea. But there is a new dog at the Vascellaro house this holiday season that could use some puppy training tips.

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Frank Vascellaro, Amelia Santaniello and their family got Lola about three weeks ago from a local group called ACT Five rescue and rehabilitation.

Lola is a mixed breed — probably Labrador and pointer — and she’s about four months old.

The family brought in a professional dog trainer to learn more about puppy socialization and crate training.

Maureen Leach of Happily Ever After Dog Training said what’s essential at this age is proper, extensive and correct socialization.

“She’s got to go out on city streets with lots of people, lots of traffic, buses going by. She’s got to learn that right now,” Leach said. “She’s not gonna get some weird phobia and fear of busses and traffic. She’s not going to get afraid of strangers, strangers are huge.”

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Leach said socialization means that she needs to have really frequent, positive experiences with everything in your world.

“Umbrellas, traffic, parking lots, babies and then kids, because that’s how you’re going to have create a really nice, relaxed and confident adult dog,” she said.

The other essential training is with a crate. Leach said a lot of people bring the crate into the bedroom and put it next to the bed.

“Lights go out, you’re in your crate, the door gets closed, a couple of safe toys in there in case she wants something to do, lights are out, time for bed, period, end of story,” Leach said.

If there is a little crying and a little whining, you don’t want to acknowledge it, at all, according to Leach.

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“You don’t talk to her, you don’t do anything,” she said. “If you do anything you say ‘shhhh’ one time, that’s it. And you just wait for it to stop and guess what, it stops after just a few minutes and she says ‘Well that’s not working’. Dogs do what works for them.”