6 Useful Tricks and Commands to Teach Your Puppy
Raising a puppy is a lot of work. Making it easier involves a lot of preparation: puppy-prepping your place, getting enough treats to placate them, and teaching them the ropes. One of the simplest ways to teach them the rules of your house is through working on basic commands together.
Whether you see it as a trick or a command, you can make your puppy’s life easier by teaching them the basics of when they should and shouldn’t listen to you. For instance, your puppy should know when it’s time to listen in (when they hear a command), since you don’t want them to treat everything you say as if you’re Charlie Brown’s teacher.
But what are the tricks and commands you should be teaching your puppy?
Before You Start Training
Just as raising a puppy requires a great deal of patience, you’re going to need some more while training. The hardest part of the process will be keeping their attention. Most dogs are very intelligent, and they tend to pick up on tricks and commands quickly; however, that’s only if they decide to listen.
Decide is the key word. Dogs are intelligent. That also means they can be very stubborn when they want to be. With that in mind, you need to find ways to get and capture their attention.
Let’s be honest — your voice won’t cut it every time. That’s where healthy dog treats and training treats come into action. They not only make it easier to get your dog’s attention, but they also help to reward your dog after they’ve done what you told them to. That reward is essential to teaching them to repeat the behavior again and again, as it will show them that:
● You love them when they do what you tell them to.
● You appreciate them listening.
● Most of all, they receive tasty treats when they perform a good action.
Now, what commands do you teach your dog?
1. “Look at me!”
This should be the first thing you teach your puppy. The only way your dog will respond to a command is if they’re paying attention to you. The simplest way to do that is to get them to look at you. It will also come in handy if they ever get distracted, whether by a passing dog or a nearby squirrel. Your life will be a lot easier if you can break their attention and get them to look at you.
Start by holding a treat between your fingers and holding it up near your puppy’s face while you say, “Look at me!” Once the dog looks at the treat, pull the treat towards your eyes. Continue repeating this, eventually just holding the treat in front of your eyes. After that works, you can begin removing the treat and simply placing your finger in front of your nose.
It’s a simple way to teach your dog that when you ask for their attention, they should be looking at you.
Source: Natalia Bostan/Shutterstock
If you ever plan on letting your dog wander off-leash, “Come!” is going to become a lifesaving command — maybe even literally.
Come is one of those commands your dog needs to know, as they need to listen to you when you call for them. Whether it’s at the dog park or the backyard, they should respond to your voice when you call out.
A simple way to teach this command is to have one family member sit with your dog in one room while you move to the other side of the room, holding a treat in your hand. Call “Come!” only once and convince them to come to you. If they don’t react, you can get a little closer. If they don’t react again, feel free to get closer and gently grab them by the face.
It may sound strange, but it’s a simple way to show your dog that when you command them to do something, it is imperative that they listen to you. Once they eventually come to you, you want to be sure you properly reward them. Give them many treats and a great deal of praise — petting them, kissing them on the head, and speaking to them in a very happy voice. This will teach them that they should come every time you tell them, as they’ll be rewarded with love after doing so.
Similar to “come,” “sit” is a useful, basic command that every dog should learn. How do you teach it?
Wait until your dog is beside you or sitting in front of you. Take out a treat and hold it up to their nose. Slowly lift the treat away from their nose so they are forced to look up at it. In all likelihood, they’ll be compelled to sit as they begin looking. Once they are seated, say the command, “Sit,” and give them a treat. Continue working on this until they seem to lose interest. Then, begin doing it the next day.
It doesn’t sound like much, but they’ll begin to infer that “sit” means the thing they do when they put their butt on the ground.
Similar to “come,” you also want your dog to stay somewhere when they should. You can move onto “stay” once your dog has learned to sit down. They’ll learn, soon enough, that they should not move from their seated position when told to do so.
To teach your dog to stay, you’ll want to have them sit somewhere, make sure they’re calm, and slowly step away — with your palm out — calmly saying “stay” to them. If they move while you’re walking away, walk back to them and start all over again.
Reward your dog with a treat every time you get another foot away from them without them moving. Similar to the above, it teaches them a key lesson that they will receive treats and praise every time they do exactly as you ask them to.
5. “With me!”
Similar to come and sit, you’re going to want to combine these in a command like “Heel” or “With me.” These are particularly used while walking, as they’re used to teach your dog to walk at your heel — or simply beside you. This is perfect for the puppy who regularly pulls on their leash as if they’re trying to run away.
Head out for your walk and wait for your dog to start to get ahead of you. Stop walking, wait for the leash to tighten and ask them to “sit.” Once they have, take a few seconds and begin to walk again. If they start pulling, do it again. And continue doing it until they realize that they should be walking with you, not far in front of you.
Give them a treat whenever they walk beside you without tugging, too. It will teach them that it’s better to be with you, most of all.
6. “Drop it!”
Let’s be real — puppies like to chew and teethe, especially on things they shouldn’t. Also, dogs are gross. Honestly. They like chewing on random things outdoors, they eat other dogs’ poop, and they love rolling around in dead animals.
If they ever reach for something that shouldn’t be in their mouth, it’s time for you to act. Once they pick something up, immediately give the stern command “Give it!” or “Drop it!” or “Leave it!”
If they don’t, you’ll want to remove the item from their mouth. Once it’s out, give them a treat or hand them bully sticks for dogs or a chew toy to teach them it’s okay to chew on those — not the thing you told them to drop.
It might not seem like much, but it’s a simple way to teach your dog that they need to listen to your commands. And remember to reward them whenever they listen. After all, they deserve all the love you can give.