Everyone, who loves dogs, loves bringing home a new puppy. There is a few days of bliss, where there doesn’t seem to be much to do except take the puppy out and shower it with love. It is a wonderful bonding time and much of it is spent watching the little puppy sleep at your feet, or in your lap.
Unfortunately, the cute sleepy puppy does not last and before you realize it, you have a large puppy that needs to learn some manners. Thus the life of puppy rearing truly begins and owners find themselves dealing with all the problems involved with owning and training a new puppy.
When you first start training your puppy, you are not going to be teaching her the advanced tricks and commands that you would expect to see in an older dog. Instead, you will be teaching her the essentials of being a well behaved puppy. Things such as house training, greeting people and being socialized will lay the ground work for a wonderful companion and it will be the first steps to teaching one of the essentials of dog training; sit, stay and come.
Teaching sit, stay, come can be fairly easy but it does take a bit of patience and it should be done in a positive manner. If the essentials of dog training are taught in a negative fashion, then your puppy will equate learning with something bad; trust me when I say that this will only undermine your efforts.
When you are teaching your puppy, it is important to work first on one command, establishing it with some accuracy before you move onto the next command. Jumping ahead before your puppy is ready will only confuse her and you will find yourself backtracking more than if the first command was established.
Sit is one of the first commands that you will ever teach your puppy and you will find that most puppies are happy to sit for you with very little difficulty.
The key to teaching a puppy is to have the right treat. You will want something soft that is cut into very small bite sized morsels. The puppy should not have to chew on the piece since her attention will be distracted when she is eating. I have always found that turkey wieners cut into small bites, about the size of your pinky, works wonderfully. The smell is very enticing and puppies often work even harder for the treat. Rollover is another great treat to use when you are training.
With sit, you should cup a treat between your thumb and fingers; puppy should not be able to snatch it from your hands. Move your hand holding the treat towards the puppy’s muzzle and bring your hand up and backwards slightly. It should not be raised so high that your puppy will jump up but it should be high enough that it brings her head up slightly and drops her back into a sit position in an effort to watch the treat. Just before she reaches a sit position, say the command firmly, “Sit.”
Say it once and do not say it in the same tone of voice that you praise in since it will excite her and confuse her. Praise your puppy once she is in the sit position and then treat. Practice until she has some understanding about the command.
Stay can be one of the more difficult commands that you will teach your puppy and there are several different ways that people suggest you train a dog to stay; however, I will be going through my preferred method of teaching stay.
Once your puppy is sitting on command, it is time to start teaching your puppy to stay. First, place your puppy in a sit. Treat her like normal and then place your empty hand up in front of her. Say firmly, “Stay,” then take a step back. Just one step the first time. If she stays, move forward, touch her collar and praise her, “Good dog.” Don’t get excited in your praise since she should remain in the stay position. Treat her after the praise and then say, “release,” and act happy with her success. You are actually teaching her two things with this. One is stay and the second is release, which is the okay to stop doing a command.
If she does not stay in position, simply move her back to the spot you had her in and give the command again. Only treat when she successfully completes the command. Build on this command by moving further from each time she is successful. Make sure you move back to her to treat and do not give her the “come” command since this can teach her that it is okay to break from the “stay” command.
One of the most important commands that you will ever teach your puppy is “come,” unfortunately, many owners don’t realize the importance of the command until they are watching the tail end of their dog as it takes off down a busy street after another dog or person.
When you are teaching come, you don’t need to start by placing her in a sit or a stay, in fact, it is better if she is involved in something that she finds fun. Once she is immersed in play or some other activity, say her name clearly, when she looks up at you give the command, “come.” Make it happy and interesting sounding. Bend down and encourage her with your hands but never give the command again. Usually, she will scamper over to see you. At this point, use the treat in your hand to end her charge in a sitting position, do not give the “sit” command but simply move the treat until she is in a sit. At that point you should touch her collar since we often use “come” when we are getting ready to leash a dog and then praise and treat her.
If she does not listen, go over and distract her and bring her towards where you wanted her to come. Never repeat the command to make her listen. You can repeat her name to catch her attention but that is the only thing you should repeat. When she has successfully come, give the “release” command and then let her scamper off to play.
Repeat the command when she is again involved in something interesting. This teaches her that she has to listen to “come” regardless of what she is doing.
And these are three essentials of dog training. Once you have mastered sit, stay, come, you can move on to other essentials and then onto more advanced training.