Puppy Training: Teaching basic commands

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By Guest Dog Blogger, Penny

Hi folks! It’s your favorite canine blogger, Penny! So you adopted that new puppy you’ve been wanting. Terrific! But I’ll bet that pup is already getting into mischief and won’t obey any commands, right? Think I’m pretty smart…I know after all; I was once a pup too! But to get your puppy to listen to you requires puppy training. It’s easy and I’d be glad to help! But first, there are a few things you should know:

 

  • Give your puppy a few days to get to know their surroundings and you.
  • Remember puppies get bored very easily, so keep the training sessions short and space them throughout the day.
  • Once your pup is four to six months old, they will be ready for more formal training and you can make the sessions longer.
  • Always be sure to make it so that your puppy won’t fail. That can be discouraging and they don’t like to be discouraged! For instance, if you ask him to “fetch the ball” only throw one ball. Having several toys in his view is just confusing. In my experience, bribery does wonders! A bit of praise, a treat or a toy goes a long way at getting your pup to do what you want him to do.
  • Don’t deviate from the training; if you don’t want him to jump on other people then you can’t let him jump on you (unless you put a word to it!).
  • Always use similar words for similar behaviors.

Okay, now that we got those tips out of the way, let’s get started with that training!

Off:

Back up as your pup runs toward you and say, “Off!” Reward him with a delicious treat when his paws touch the ground. Simple, right?

Kennel/Go to bed:

This one can take a while to learn. I, of course, learned it quickly since I am such a smart little dog! Put a treat in the kennel and say, “Kennel!” or “Go to bed!” When the puppy goes inside, don’t close the door, but praise him. Practice this repeatedly; then try closing the door. Make sure you give him a treat through the door. Increase the time in the kennel each time you practice this and don’t let him out even if he whimpers. When you do let the puppy out don’t lavish him with praise because the reward for going in should be better than coming out.

Train your puppy on a leash:

When you start taking your puppy out for short walks, you’ll want him to be safe, right? This one you can practice in the back yard first. Put your puppy on a very short leash so that he’s beside your leg and start walking. Your puppy will most likely want to get up and go as all puppies love to run everywhere. When your puppy starts to pull on the leash and tries to walk ahead of you, stop and quickly turn the other way; your puppy will feel the friction. Then start over again. Your puppy will eventually learn that he’s not the leader, you are. When your puppy walks beside you without pulling on the leash or trying to go ahead of you, no matter how briefly, give him a treat and lots of praise. Soon you will be able to walk your puppy safely around your neighborhood.

Give/Drop It:

This one is an easy one! You’ll want your puppy to hand over his toy without a fight, right? Well, just do a trade—a delectable treat for a toy. But there’s a trick.  You need to make it clear that you are not rewarding your puppy for holding onto the toy.  How do you do that?  If I have a toy ball in my mouth. Laura will hold the ball and say, “Give!” or “Drop it!” In the other hand would be a treat that would be advancing toward me. Naturally, I’d want the treat so I’d have to release the ball.  Then Laura says, “TAKE” and gives me the treat.   Simple!  If I don’t give up the toy, well then it’s time to contact Laura for more training information.

The key to your puppy learning commands is that old saying “practice makes perfect”. The bond that develops between you and your puppy during training will last a life time. I should know Laura and I are very close! There are other commands you can teach your puppy as well so be checking the blog for more training tips.

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