Basic Commands to Teach Your Puppy | Teaching Your Puppy Commands

December 10, 2020
Teaching Your Puppy Commands

Training a new puppy may take a little time and patience at first, but dogs are far more intuitive than you may initially believe. With just a little bit of effort, teaching your puppy commands will make life much easier for the both of you.

Along with teaching them their name, training your puppy to "come", "lay down", "sit", "wait"… and the all important "pee" will make having a new puppy the joy it's supposed to be.

With these commands you’re teaching your puppy to not only to behave as you'd like, but to become obedient and learn self-control, allowing you to take them outside on adventures and bring guests into your home.

How to Teach Your Puppy Commands – With a Reward

Training your puppy should be based on positive reinforcement --- a reward for following the commands you teach them. 

Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes. Both treats and praise have been shown to be effective, and vary in effectiveness from dog to dog. Solution? Use both! 

If you give your puppy a treat while saying "Good dog!" in a happy voice, they'll learn that praise is a good thing and that it's associated with treats and good behavior. And while proper punishment has its place in correcting a puppy's behavior you don't want repeated, using punishment to train your puppy can lead to "fear of the owner, fear of handling or fear of particular stimuli (approach, reaching out, pulling leash) and the real possibility of aggression.", according to Debra Horwitz, DVM, DACVB of VCA Hospitals.

Have Patience When Training Your Pup

be patient when training a puppy

It's important to have patience when teaching your puppy commands. You don't have to teach your puppy everything in one day, or even one week. Just little by little, naturally use the commands and follow some of the tips below, and your dog will pick them up. 

And don't overdo it --- if your puppy is having a tough time learning a new command, it's okay. End the session on a positive note and reward them for a command they've mastered. Try again another day.

Patience will go a long way when it comes to teaching your puppy commands. And if in South Florida and looking for a puppy of your own to train, please see our beautiful puppies for sale in Miami, here!

Essential Commands to Teach Your Puppy

Teaching your puppy commands is not only fun, rewarding (and practical!), but will set you and your puppy up for a relationship of peace, happiness and safety.

Practice the following commands with your puppy, and they'll get the hang of them in no time.

“Come Here”

teaching a puppy to come here

One of the first commands you can teach your puppy is to "Come" or "Come here". Involve their name as well, so they can learn their name at the same time.

Hold out a treat, or bring the treat close enough for your pup to sniff it and know that it's there, and then step back a bit, and say "Come here, {Puppy Name}" or "Come here, boy / girl". When your puppy comes and gets the treat, pet them and say "Good boy / girl" at the same time.

In time you can teach your pup variations of "come here", such as "this way" to teach your pup to follow you when changing directions or "let's go back" to teach them that a walk is finished and you're headed back home.

“No”

The all important "no". A versatile command, use "no" in any instance where you can see your pup starting to get into mischief or otherwise doing something you don't want them to do.

One way to teach your puppy "no" is to have them on a leash and place a treat on the floor. Walk your pup towards the treat, and when they sniff it, say "no", and slightly pull the leash towards you.

Poor little pup, I know. But after repeating it enough times, they'll start to learn the meaning of no, which is to everyone's benefit. And make sure to reward them with treats often while training.

With its regular use throughout the day, your puppy will quickly get to know the meaning of "no" by your tone, and when / how you use it. The "no" will be learned quickly (and will be used often at first!).

“Sit”

It's fairly easy to teach your puppy the "sit" command.

Show your puppy a treat in your hand or hold it in your hand and let him sniff it, and then move your fist with the treat enclosed above their head. Slowly move it behind their head and when they crouch, say "sit" and then give them the reward.

After repeating enough times, your puppy will understand the command.

You can also help them master the sit command (and develop some obedience) during feeding time. Bring out your pup's bowl of food, and tell them to "sit" and teach them to stay seated until their bowl of food is on the grown. 

If your pup starts to get up before you put their food bowl all the way down, say "nooo..." and raise it back up. Do this until they stay seated and under control the entire time until the bowl is placed all the way on the ground.

“Down or Lay Down”

teaching puppy to lay down

You've taught your puppy the sit command, now you're ready to take it the next step. Teaching your pup to lay down is a bit more difficult, but follows a similar idea as sit.

Hold a treat out in front of your puppy, then let your puppy sniff your hand so they know that you have it. Now move your hand to the floor, and make sure your puppy follows along. Once your puppy lies completely down, say "down" or "lay down" and give them the treat. 

As with all puppy training rinse, repeat.

“Shake / Give Me Your Paw”

Teaching your puppy to shake is a fun trick that teaches them obedience.

To teach your pup to shake, have them sit, and then pick up their paw while saying "shake" or "give me your paw" and give them a treat. Hold their paw for a few seconds, then say "shake" again, and then give them another treat.

If you teach your puppy "give me your paw" you can teach them "now give me your other paw", and they can learn to raise their other paw. 

“Go Potty”

commands to potty train puppy

Whatever word(s) you choose to associate with your puppy doing their business is okay, but stick with it so they learn it. Take them out frequently and bring a treat with you. Use your "go word", and when they do it, give them a treat and praise them with the command.

Puppies can learn the difference between going #1 and #2. You can make a command for each, and train them to go on command for each (if they need to go that is).

Takes a bit before they learn that "going" inside the house is wrong, but they learn. Potty training your puppy is an entirely different topic, and one you need to learn when training your puppy as well.

“Stay”

One of the most important commands you'll teach your puppy, and you should teach them early for their safety and for the safety of others, is to "stay"

To train them to "stay", have your puppy sit in a location. Then slowly back away from them, and if he or she moves toward you, say "no..." and when they stop moving say "STAY". When they stay for a decent amount of time tell them "good boy / girl... come" and then reward them with a treat and praise / petting.

Increase the amount of time your puppy "stays". The repetition of the "stay", and the correction if they don't stay, really helps them to understand. 

In time they will stay where you tell them to stay, even if you leave the room.

“Leave it / Drop It”

Puppies are curious by nature; part of what makes them so cute to us. But also, part of what can put them in danger (or your valuables in danger, or in many cases both, simultaneously).

You can teach your puppy the "drop it" command by giving them a toy, having a treat in your hand, and then repeatedly telling them "drop it... drop it", while letting them know that you have the treat. Once they've dropped their toy, you give them the treat and praise them.

Here is an instance where your tone and look that you give them will provide them with a hint as to what you mean.

“Go to Your Bed”

Telling your puppy to go to their bed can be a useful command.

Have your pup on a leash and lead them to wherever their bed is. Once your dog is in their bed, say "bed" repeatedly, and reward them with a treat.

You can train your pup to go to more than one location, for instance if you have a crate or other area where you want them to go. You just need to make a word for it.

Puppies are Intuitive – Make Up Your Own Commands as Needed

In the training of my own dog, I've come to really gain an appreciation for dogs' innate intelligence and intuition.

There are some instances where I’ve had to create a command. For instance, when getting into the car, I say "up, up, up" and my dog jumps up into the car. Same command when reaching a staircase, and he runs up the stairs. "Get down", to get off the couch. "Are you hungry?" to get him excited and moving towards his food.

And with most dogs able to learn somewhere between 165 – 250 different words, there is no shortage of commands you can teach your puppy.

How you say things --- the tone, volume, look you give your pup, is read very well by them as well.

Teaching your puppy commands is fun. Frustrating at times, but well worth it... and they are great students!

If looking for a puppy of your own to train, please see our beautiful puppies for sale in Miami, here! You can see the different pups / breeds we have available here: Available puppies!

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