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Common Commands To Teach Your Puppy
Apr 28, 2022

Common Commands To Teach Your Puppy

Learning commands is an important part of your puppy’s obedience training, helping to start your relationship between you and your furry friend off on the right paw. Even at about seven weeks, your puppy can begin learning to follow your directions. While training your pup, have patience and keep in mind that they’ll have a short attention span at first, which will grow as they get older. Keep training sessions short and sweet throughout the day and your pup will begin learning commands in no time!

Reward Systems

Wait to train your puppy until they’re bored or hungry. When all your puppy’s needs are met, they will have little motivation to follow a command for a reward. Make sure to avoid using negative reinforcement and punishment. Verbal praise, treats, and toys are far more effective ways of encouraging desired behavior. Avoid overdoing it with treats and keep in mind they are not a replacement for regular dog food. Too many treats can lead to weight gain and improper nutrition!  Chew toys, especially with a food scent, can be a good alternative and addition to treats while still giving your pup something flavorful to gnaw on.

Teaching Your Puppy Their Name

Before they can learn commands, it’s important to first teach your puppy their name. Use an excited voice to call your puppy’s name and grab their attention. You can also try clapping your hands in a non-aggressive manner while calling their name. When your pup turns toward you, reward them with verbal affirmation, a treat, and/or a toy so they know to react when they hear their name. Once your dog gets the hang of a command, fade out use of treat lures as soon as possible so they will learn to respond to hand signals and verbal cues alone.

Sit Command

Teaching your puppy to sit is a great first command, as many of the other ones they’ll learn will build upon it.

  • Start by putting your puppy on a leash and sitting on the ground in front of them.
  • Hold your hand high over your puppy’s head with a reward in it.
  • Use your other hand to gently guide your puppy into a seated position, while saying “sit” in a firm and clear tone and keeping the treat above their head.
  • When your puppy sits, reward them with a treat or praise.

Lie Down Command

  • Avoid trying to teach your pup to lie down when they’re full of energy, instead work on it after playtime.
  • Have your dog sit across from you and show them you have a treat without giving it to them.
  • Lower your hand slowly, saying “lie down”, and place the treat on the floor between your puppy’s front paws to lure their head down.
  • Continue to move the treat along the ground and away from your puppy. They will lie down to follow the treat.
  • After a few repetitions, let your puppy have a treat from your other hand instead of eating the lure. Then lure your puppy with an empty hand and reward with the opposite hand. This will teach the hand signal.
  • Eventually your pup will respond to the words “lie down” even without a hand signal.

Stay Command

  • First teach your pup a release word such as “ok” or “free” by tossing a treat to the floor and saying the word as they step forward to get it
  • Repeat this a few times until they begin to move based on the verbal cue before you have even tossed the treat
  • Have your dog sit and give them a treat once after they sit and once after a pause, and then say the release word
  • Gradually increase the time between the two treats. Once your dog can stay in a sitting position for a few seconds, it’s time to begin adding distance
  • Take one step back while saying “stay”, and then come back forward and give a treat and release word
  • Gradually increase distance and duration, practicing with your back turned away as well.

Come Command

This command is one of the easiest as your pup already usually wants to come to you for love!

  • Sit down in front of your puppy, call their name, and say “come” as they walk toward you.
  • Once your puppy gets to you, reward them with a treat.
  • Gradually add distance and say your pup’s name less before “come” as they get used to following your verbal cue.

Heel Command

This command trains your dog to walk beside you rather than in front.

  • Take your puppy on a walk down the hall or outside and choose a spot to stop.
  • Call you dog’s name and point to the side you want them to walk on
  • When they come to that side, give a reward, or verbal affirmation. Repeat this each time your dog comes into position once you stop.
  • Increase your pace and make turns and zig-zags to challenge your dog to re-find their position beside you
  • Give a treat with the hand next to your pup to avoid having them cross in front of you

Off Command

  • Keep training treats on hand for when you catch your pup on something you don’t want them on, such as the couch or reaching a paw onto the counter.
  • Say “off” with a stern voice and lure your pup off with a treat. As soon as your puppy has gotten off, reward them with the treat.
  • Make sure to stay consistent with this command so your puppy knows exactly what is off limits in your home.
  • If your dog begins to associate climbing onto off-limits spots with getting a treat, make them work for the treat by giving a command such as “sit” before handing out a reward.

The training process is an important and fun way to bond with your pup! Experiment with different ways to motivate your dog such as verbal praise, pets, toys, and treats to help them succeed. Shop our training treats and chew toy section to find the right training rewards for your puppy!