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How To Train a Puppy

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How To Train a Puppy

Congratulations! You’re now the proud owner of a tireless ball of ever-flowing energy. Of course, you knew this before you adopted, but if this is your first time bringing home a little four-legged friend it certainly can be intimidating to suddenly have a new set of responsibilities, among them being to train your dog to be friendly with humans and other animals.

It’s also important to train your dog to listen to your commands, and a few, in particular, should be taught quickly. In this article, we will talk about the first few vital commands on how to train a puppy, and how you can learn to teach them.

Your Dog’s Name

on how to train a puppy: Different breeds of dogs and it's name

This might seem like an obvious first word that your puppy should be taught. And you likely will teach them without knowing it, just by calling them again and again. This is a great way to teach your new puppy a couple of different things. Your puppy is closer to learning its name each time that you say it.

And a way to quicken this process is to reward your puppy when it responds to its name, even if it is just a turn of the head. With each response, tell your fluffball how good it is while giving it pets and scratches to reinforce the good behavior. You can even incorporate small or broken up treats into this routine if your puppy is struggling.

Your pup will eventually start to associate its name with a great reward, e.g., pets, scratches, and treats. When this happens, your dog will inadvertently learn a second very important thing. They should come to you when they hear their name. This will happen naturally, as they expect to be fed or to receive affection, and over time. Your dog will come when called in casual scenarios without the need of a treat to bribe them.

How To Train A Puppy

how to train a puppy: man training dog indoor on green background

Here’s a list of commands on how to train a puppy.

Here’s A Video of Dog Training 101: How To Train Any Dog the Basics

The Emergency Call

on how to train a puppy: a naughty dog leave it's food

Young puppies may not respond as well to emergency calls. But teaching them while they’re young can help ease them into the concept. The emergency call is a command that can be any word you wish. But the idea is that your dog needs to drop everything and come to you with no hesitation when they hear this call. A great word to use is “return” if you’re unable to think of one. Your emergency call word should be different from simply your dog’s name. As that should be a different command for your puppy.

While teaching your dog the emergency call, you need it to come to you when it hears this word. We can achieve this by providing a high reward scenario for your puppy when they respond positively. When your puppy comes to you after you say their emergency call, you need to throw a puppy party. Make your dog excited that it did a good job, and provide multiple snacks. A good time to practice this command is before you feed your pup. This gives you an opportunity to give them lots of food for performing well. Without having to feed them an overabundance of treats.

Sit

 on how to train a puppy: puppy sits on ground

This is classic dog training. “Sit” is a command that many people believe their dogs should know. And it’s a command that many people simply expect dogs to know, regardless of whether or not it is their dog. It can be useful, however, for your pup to understand how to sit. Because this puts them in a state of rest and focus.

To teach your dog to sit, begin with a treat in your hand. Place the treat at your dog’s eye level, so they are aware of it. And then slowly raise it over their nose and above their head as you say, “Sit.” While doing this, your dog will naturally follow the treat with its snout, and when your pup raises its head, its back will lower automatically. It’s ok if your dog doesn’t sit on the first attempt; just try again. And soon enough, your dog will sit when asked in anticipation of a reward. Remember that it’s important to reward your dog for its good behavior with lots of attention at first. But as it begins to respond more and more, wean your pup off the need for snacks to respond positively to the command.

Additionally, when you’re teaching your dog commands, signaling with your hand can help it associate your words with action. For instance, if you make a fist as you say “sit.” Your dog will have both a verbal and a visual cue, which can increase its success rate.

Lie Down

on how to train a puppy: Bored lab lie down

Puppies who have learned to sit successfully will be able to move on to the “down” command. This is a very similar command to the sit command regarding teaching your pup.

To begin, have your puppy sit by giving their command, and using your assigned “sit” hand signal to give your dog its verbal and visual cue. Once they are in position, take a treat in your hand as you did while teaching “sit.” But this time, instead of raising the treat above your dog’s head, trace a line with the treat from their nose to the floor. Like with the “sit” trick, your pup will follow that treat that it wants so badly, and typically. This will cause your dog to lie down. Once your dog has assumed the down position, you can let it have the treat that you used to coax it down.

As always, praise your dog for good behavior with lots of affection, and repeat a few more times. Like the first signal that we used with the sit command, using a signal such as a downward pointed finger can help your dog associate your command with an action that they should perform.

Stay

 on how to train a puppy: a woman teach her puppy to stay

Once your puppy has mastered the “sit” and “down” commands, they are ready to progress to “stay”.

Begin this lesson by having your puppy get into the sitting position with its verbal and visual command. When your dog is in position, hold an open palm in front of its face like a “stop” hand signal while saying “Stay.” If your puppy is still in the sitting position after you have done this, begin taking a few steps backward and stop. Hold your distance for a couple of seconds, and then return to your puppy and praise its behavior. You can also reinforce this behavior with treats if you prefer. Continue to practice this with your puppy while gradually increasing the distance that you move away from it.

For an extra challenge, go to another room while your puppy is staying, or at least move out of its line of vision. It’s ok if your dog doesn’t pick this command up right away. And it will possibly take multiple sessions for it to get fully comfortable with remaining in one place while you’re away.

How To Train a Puppy: Set Your Pup Up for Success

how to train a puppy: Jack Russell lays on a green grass

The absolutely best thing that you can do for your dog while you are training it is it set it up for success. Of course, we all want our puppy to be successful in exhibiting good behaviors. As that makes it generally easier to be your animals caretaker, but how can you do this?

Practice, Practice, Practice

The helpful tips for teaching your puppy commands that you found in this article will be of no use. If you don’t practice them daily with your puppy. Even if your puppy takes to the commands quickly. Practicing daily can help the commands to become second nature.

Know When Practice is Over

Sometimes you decide when practice is over, and sometimes your pup decides that practice needs to happen at another time. If your puppy has successfully performed a few times. It is common for it to become distracted the more you push it. For this reason, keep practice sessions short. If your puppy isn’t paying attention to the lesson, instead of scolding your dog, try moving the session to a later time.

While practicing focus on your dog, you can achieve this by saying your dog’s name. If it looks at you when you say its name, reward it. Keep this up to boost your dog’s attention. This helps it understand that whatever you’re doing has the possibility of some reward. And is, therefore, more interesting than whatever else is distracting it.

Give Your Pup Attention

This isn’t a hard rule to follow, but it should be noted that rewarding your puppy with attention is ok! If treats aren’t on hand, pats can still go a long way for your dog. When you’re playing with your puppy, it is also important to play with its ears and feet. This will get your puppy used to being touched and will make your life and your vet’s life easier.

With your dog, every interaction that you have can be a teachable moment. Use these tricks throughout the day, and soon your dog will be the well-behaved companion that you hoped for.

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