3 Basic Commands to Teach Your New Puppy

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a brown and white puppy with his tongue hanging out
Kendall Abbott author of 3 Basic Commands to teach a puppy

When training your pup, be sure to make it consistent in your methods. Your puppy should know what you expect from them. This will help them be more confident in meeting your goals. 


Choosing a Method

One of the best methods to train your pup is positive reinforcement. This is the act of giving your puppy something like a treat or lovings to enforce the behavior you want like sitting or coming to you. With this method, you are training the dogusing something the dog values. Always avoid using punishment to train your dog. This includes yelling, leash pulling, and being abusive. This can cause dogs to become confused and unsure about what is being asked and could even potentially scare them. It is important to build a relationship with trust and patience.


Choosing Their Reward

When choosing what to give them in return, try giving them something really special. Some people use high-quality treats or even kibble. But the better the reward, the quicker they will be to learn. For my dog,I use Brown Beggars Chicken Bites. My dog absolutely loves them and I know they are premium and natural. Using tasty, rare treats will get them more excited to learn and get them to do what you want them to a lot quicker. Another thing you could use is toys. Give them their favorite toy for a chance to play with it for a little bit. Petting and praise always work too.

Dogs should be taught to like praise. Say “good dog” or “good boy/girl” in a happy voice and then give them the treat. This will show them that if they do something good, you are happy and they will likely get a treat out of it. Overall, food or treats is the fastest way to reinforce behavior in pups.


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When can I Start Training and How Long are the Sessions? 

You can start training puppies around 8 weeks old. When you start, be sure to keep the sessions brief and always end them on a positive note. I would train your dog for about 5-10 minutes every session and a few times a day. The more often they get it, the less you can train.


How to Teach a Dog to Come

Start this training session in a quiet area and indoors. First, sit with your puppy and say “come (name)” and then give them a treat. They do not have to do anything in this step except stay beside you. Do this a few times.

Next, drop a treat on the floor beside you. They should come to you. Say their name. If they look at you, reward them. Drop/throw the treat further away from you each time. If they continue to look back at you when you say their name, reward them. If they don’t, do not continue to repeat their name. This will make it easier for them to ignore you.

Once you have this down, add movement. Drop the treat and take a few steps back or in a different room. Call their name and see if they come to you. If they do, give them plenty of praise! Pet them, talk to them, give them treats or a toy. Continue to walk further and further away.


How to Teach a Dog to Sit

There are two methods you can use. The first method is called capturing. This is when you hold a treat in your hand and wait for the puppy to sit down. It can be tedious but it works. Once they sit, say “yes” in a kind voice and reward them. Move a few steps back and repeat the process over and over. After a few times. Begin saying the word “sit” right as they start to sit and then reward them. Do that a few times as well. 

The second method is called luring. They will need to be standing for this. You will get their treat and hold it close to their nose not letting them eat it or lick it. You will slowly raise your hand higher and above their head till they start to sit. Once they do, reward them. Do this a few times and then do it without the treat. Just make the same hand motion. Once they understand the hand signal, say “sit” before it and then make your hand signal. If they sit, reward them. 


How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Teaching your dog to lay down can be very similar to teaching them to sit. One way is to put them in a quiet boring room and wait for them to lay down and then reward them just like with teaching them to sit.

The other way is to lure them to lay down. Have the dog in a sitting or standing position and hold the treat in your hand beside their nose. When the dog’s elbows touch the floor, give them the treat. After a few times, just use your empty hand but hold it in the same position. And give them the treat after they lie down. Once they can follow your hand signals, say down before you move your hand.

Puppy training can be tedious but it is important to stay patient and understand that this is new to them. You wouldn’t get mad at a toddler for not knowing how to tie their shoes, therefore you shouldn’t get mad or frustrated at puppies while they are learning. These are three simple commands to teach your dog. Once you get these, you can start teaching them how to stay andhow to heel.

Just remember that trust, patience, and having something the dog values are important when training a puppy.


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Meet The Author 

Kendall Abbott

Kendall Abbott obtained her Bachelor's Degree at the University of Kansas, she then went on to pursue her education and love for animals by attending the Animal Behavior College. When she isn't working Kendall enjoys hiking with her two dogs Oscar and Tank. She also loves taking time out of her day to coach her nieces youth basketball team.