There are a handful of basic dog commands that every puppy needs to know.... but your little guy, or gal, won't learn them without some help from you!
Puppies are baby dogs and their natural instincts are canine ones. They include barking, nipping, chewing, digging and other similar pastimes.
When you first bring your new puppy home he'll be operating purely on instincts and inclinations.
Although these are perfectly designed for the doggie world, many of them are not such a great fit in the human one.
To help your pup learn how to be a well-behaved and socially acceptable member of your family it's important to get some basic puppy training started right away.
This includes teaching Fido some fundamental dog obedience commands such as:
Okay, let's take a look at these one at a time.....
Your new puppy is like the proverbial 'blank slate' and he's desperate to please you... this means that teaching him basic commands is easier now than it will ever be.
Like human kids, puppies absorb their lessons quickly and completely and something that's been learned during the early months will never be hard-wired into his little brain!
Always use positive reinforcement.. that means rewarding your little guy when he is successful and ignoring failures.
Never punish him! Your pup is always trying to please you and if he doesn't 'get it' then you're most likely at fault (you're not explaining/showing what it is you want clearly enough).
Most puppies respond best to a tasty treat reward, but some will be equally motivated by praise, or a short 'playtime' with a favorite toy.
Learning to 'Sit' is one of your pup's first lessons, and it's one you can start teaching right away (although you do want to give a brand new puppy a few days to settle in before he starts being home-schooled!)
Even an 8 week old puppy can grasp this very basic dog training command as long as you follow a few simple steps, are patient, and practice regularly.
It's literally as easy as 1-2-3
Click here to get started on teaching your dog to 'Sit'
This obedience command is the natural next-step after teaching 'sit', and although it's a little trickier most puppies get it very quickly.
Once your puppy happily (and consistently) obeys your command to 'Sit', you can move onto encouraging him to lie down by using a treat to lure him into the down position.
It's as straightforward as teaching him to sit, you just need to know how to move the treat and what to do to encourage a puppy who is confused about what you want.
Get started on teaching the 'Down' command
As with the first two lessons, teaching the 'Stay' command is the natural next-step after 'Sit' and 'Down'.
Basically what you're doing here is to help your pup learn that 'stay' means you expect him to stay pup in one spot for a certain length of time even when you walk away from him.
This is especially difficult for young puppies because their natural instincts are to stay right beside you.
But when you take it slowly and carefully your little guy will soon understand what you want him to do and realize that it's okay not to be right next to you at all times.
Teaching your puppy to 'stay' means helping him to understand that you expect him to sit, or lie down, in one spot for short (or later on, extended) period of time.... and that you don't need to be right next to him while he 'stays'.
Click here to get started on 'Stay'
Your goal here is to have a dog who understands and obeys the command to 'Come' - immediately and consistently. This is also called the 'Recall'.
It's another of the most basic dog obedience lessons, but it's one that can take a long time for your puppy to really be reliable at.
However, it's definitely worth the time and patience to teach it properly because obeying your call to 'Come' means that your pup will be safer at all times, especially when you're outdoors.
It also means that he will have more freedom, and you will have peace of mind.
Click here to get started with the 'Come' command
Puppies get hold of all sorts of odd stuff, and as far as they're concerned everything is edible until proven otherwise.. that's just one reason why the 'Leave It' command is sooo useful.
This obedience lesson simply teaches your pup that he needs to give up whatever it is he's got in his mouth, is playing with (or trying to hide/sit on etc.) when you say the word... actually, two words :)
It's also a good way to make sure your pup doesn't develop the bad habit of resource or food guarding which isn't just annoying, but can be dangerous too.
Click here to get started with the 'Leave It' command
When you're learning how to do something new it often really helps to see how to do it as well as reading about it.
So, here's a great video that will walk you through teaching your puppy some basic commands such as the 'Sit', 'Stay' and 'Down' that I talk about above.
Bear in mind that all professional dog trainers, and long-time dog owners, may have slightly different styles of training due to their own individual experiences.
BUT, the basic principles of positive puppy training remain pretty constant and once you've had some practice and have got to know your own puppy, you'll also be able to adapt what you've learned to teach him a whole host of things.
Hope this helps you get started off on the right foot....
This video shows a German Shepherd puppy, learning some basic dog training commands using the clicker training method.
Clicker training is a straightforward and fun way to teach dog obedience commands to a puppy, or a dog of any age. It can be used to train horses, birds and other pets/animals too.
You can find out everything you need to know about using a 'clicker' to train your pup or dog by visiting my Puppy Clicker Training page... but do take a look at this video as well because it helps you to SEE how it works!
'Fetch' is more of a fun command than an essential, but most dogs learn it really quickly and enjoy retrieving just about anything!
If you'd like to teach your pup or dog to 'Fetch', take a look at this video..... it shows you how to do just that, and have fun at the same time!
This next video shows some basic puppy obedience training, with a few puppy tricks thrown in for good measure.
This Labrador Retriever puppy has learned some basic dog training commands very quickly, and you can see how eager she is to please her owner!
The demonstrations I've featured above are just a quick look at how to train your pup. They're useful and fun, but if you want a more in-depth look at training techniques and to get some 'trouble-shooting' help or some extra tips and advice then I'd recommend buying one of these dog training dvd's:
My Smart Puppy:
(Book & DVD)
With this book/dvd combination you'll find that 'Fun, effective and easy puppy training' is easier to manage than you might have thought.
Well written, with a breezy, friendly down-to-earth approach, the book tells you exactly how to
raise and train a happy, well adjusted dog... and the dvd SHOWS you how to do it.
Get the whole family involved (including the kids) by encouraging them to watch the DVD and then practice the training techniques they've learned.
This great dog training book will help you to get you started on the road to having a well-behaved, obedient puppy who's a joy to have around.
And here are three other excellent choices. They each have a slightly different style, but all of them support positive training methods that rely on communication, praise and rewards.
There's bound to be one that fits you and your dog....