Important stuff you should know about puppy obedience training
If you’ve just brought your puppy home and are wondering when to begin puppy obedience training, the answer is ‘Now!’
Dogs are most open to learning up to the age of 14 weeks, so you have a unique opportunity in which to mold your dog’s future behavior and personality.
Beginning right now will make a huge difference to all of the training you do as your pup matures. Don’t waste the chance!
There are a number of ways to go about puppy obedience training and there are many excellent resources both online and off to help you in your efforts.
Puppy Obedience Training: The Basics
From the time you bring your pup home (normally at 8 weeks), you should begin with training. Keep this informal at first. Just observe his behavior and begin to teach word association.
For example, when the puppy sits, say the word “sit” several times then praise him. He’ll quickly learn to associate the word with the action, and as dogs are eager to please the praise will be an incentive for him to repeat it.
The same applies to bad behavior. Teach the word “No!”, from an early age, but don’t use it unless you catch him in the act. Otherwise he will associate the word with what he’s doing at that moment, rather than with his ‘bad behavior’.
Here are some basic puppy obedience training commands you should teach your puppy.
Teaching the puppy his name
- Start by choosing the right name, one or two-syllable names like Sam or Monty are best. If you prefer a longer name that’s fine, just use a shorter form for training and calling e.g. Benjamin would be called Ben or Benny.
- Also, try to avoid names that sound similar to a voice commands, ‘Moe’ sounds like ‘no’, for example.
- Use your puppy’s name repeatedly, and you’ll soon notice that he stops to look at you when you say his name.
Here’s an excellent free resource for finding great Puppy Names HQ
How to train a puppy to sit
- Sit is one of the easiest commands to teach. Start with the puppy in a standing position, hold a treat in front of him, just out of reach.
- Move the treat towards him at a level above his line of sight. He’ll have to sit to keep watching it.
- The second he does, say ‘sit’ and give him the treat.
Teaching the “lie down” command
- With the puppy in a sitting position, give the command “lie down” while patting the ground in front of him.
- The first few times he’s unlikely to understand so you may have to push him down gently while while pulling his front legs gently forward.
- As soon as he’s in the lying position, repeat the command “lie” down. Then give praise and / or a treat.
Teaching the “stay” command
- Command the puppy to sit.
- Now take a step back, then while puppy is still holding the sit position, say “stay”, then praise him and give him a treat.
- Repeat until he consistently remains sitting when you step back, then repeat the exercise, now taking two steps back.
- Now gradually increase the distance until the puppy stays sitting until you call him to you.
These simple commands are easy for your dog to learn but they do require patience, persistence and consistency. Dogs are intelligent animals who love learning and are eager to please. Teach these commands first, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve with your dog.
p.s. All of these puppy obedience training commands can also be trained with a clicker.