Getting a new puppy can be a very exciting thing, but you don’t have to wait for formal obedience training time to start teaching your new puppy things! Below are 7 commands to start teaching your puppy from the day your bring them home:
Formal house breaking should start the day you bring your puppy home and should be geared to your end goal – meaning if you aren’t planning to always have your Great Dane puppy piddle on newspapers, then start utilizing the yard from day 1. Put your potty training on a cue … tell your puppy “go potty” or some other command to let them know you want them to do their business.
The most overlooked command for new puppy owners is teaching their dog their name. We’ve already written a blog called Three Easy Steps to Getting Your Dog to Respond to its name … spend a few minutes a day working on name response in the beginning and it will pay off in your training in the long run.
Once your puppy is responding well to its name… its time to teach your puppy the art of learning. The first command we start with our puppy is the Sit Command. Teaching the puppy to sit just requires a few tasty soft treats. We’ve written out a list of the Top 10 Dog Training Treats that Work in a previous blog but the key is to pick a treat that your dog really likes and wants to work for. In the initial stage of teaching sit, we simply get the puppy to follow the treat and then place the treat above the dogs head. They will have to lean their head up and back to reach the treat and by proxy their bottom with hit the ground in a sit. Release the treat to the puppy and repeat. When its happening reliably – add a cue and voila, you have a sit command!
Once your puppy has its Name and the Sit Command mastered, you can start adding another behavior. The down command teaches the dog to settle in one spot and can later be turned into a stay command. We teach the down command similar to the sit command — using nice tasty soft
treats and luring the puppy into the position we want. My favorite way to teach the dog is to get the puppy to chase the treat and then pin my hand on the ground and push just slightly into the dog so that they rock backwards into a sphinx position. When the dog collapses, release the treat. One helpful tip is to start teaching the dog on soft carpeting or a bed which will help the command go much faster!
As your puppy’s repertoire for commands expands, we want to add that all-important “Come” command from very early on. One fun easy game I like to teach very young puppies as the foundation for a later come command is a hand target. Teach the puppy to come and touch their nose to your hand which can later be transferred to a hand target for other tricks or we can turn it into a hand signal for come at a later point.
Simply get your high value treats in your left hand (hidden away) and offer an open flat palm with your right hand. You can do this in a sitting or kneeling position. Most puppies will naturally investigate your hand and when you feel them touch their nose to your hand you can say “yes” or “good” and reward. Offer your open flat palm over and over until the puppy learns they touch your hand and get a treat. I then offer the hand in a variety of positions so the puppy really understands to seek out that hand target. Then add in distance and distractions! Once the dog is flying to touch your hand you can integrate the command “Come”.
Walk on Leash
Leash training is an important skill for dogs to learn even if your end goal is an off leash trained dog. There are many times you will need your dog to understand how to walk on leash and more importantly, how to respond to leash pressure as a guide for what you (the owner) wants. When first teaching a puppy how to walk on leash, be sure to be firm and fair that the puppy needs to follow the leash pressure and move forward. Initially a puppy may balk and move backwards or flop on the ground. Be steady and firm and use treats if needed to teach the puppy that complying and moving forward is what you want.
“No, No, No”. Your puppy probably hears this a lot, I’m sure. The problem with the word “no” is it doesn’t really give the dog specific information of what you want. Instead, I’d rather teach my puppy “Leave it”which means to stop doing what they are doing. In the beginning, I teach the puppy “Leave It” to an object. A very simplified game we play to teach the concept to the puppy is to take a high value treat that has a hard texture (I like using Bully Sticks) and a baggy of high value soft training treats. I offer the puppy the bully stick with one hand and say “leave it” and offer a trade with the soft training treat. Typically a puppy will spit out the hard treat in order to grab the soft treat. I repeat this trade game over and over until the puppy understands that giving up one prize temporarily results in a better treat. I play this game with various toys as well. Eventually it will need to be proofed more solidly but teaching a trade for treats is a simple foundation for teaching the Leave It command.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article about the 7 Commands to Start Teaching Your New Puppy. If you need help with obedience training your puppy, feel free to contact us to find out more about our Boot Camp programs. If your puppy is too young for our Boot Camp, ask about our Puppy Starter Packages for puppies under 4 months old! You can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-525-7362. We also have a ton of information on our website ocdogranch.com