Puppy’s First Year – Basic Training
Look, Sit, Down, Wait
Basic puppy training – I’m not talking about the mandatory potty and housetraining aspect of training your puppy, but teaching your new puppy the basics of come, sit, down, stay, wait, and the important, drop it and leave it!
Once my new puppy Edna and I got through the first week of becoming comfortable with each other and created a daily schedule that worked, I began the puppy training basics.
One of the first things I like teaching my dogs is to “look” so I know I have their attention. Teaching “look” is really quite simple, I show my puppy I have a treat between my fingers guiding her up to the tip of my nose, while repeating “look” until she is completely focused on me, looking directly at me, eye to eye, then I reward my puppy with that treat and lots of praise! I personally find teaching “look” comes in very handy when I’m in an environment where I need my dog to focus on me or to take their attention away from something – like a cat or squirrel 😉
My philosophy when training a puppy or dog is “reward, reward, reward, praise, praise, praise, and make it fun!” Being rewarded and praised each and every time for doing what’s asked of you – this is a pugs dream – “You want me to sit AND every time I sit I get a treat, how many sits do you want me to do?!”
I was once told that for a dog to completely understand a command, you must do it at least 100 times!
Holding a treat above Edna’s head she looks up at me – or I should say she’s looking at the treat – then I move towards her, and her bottom naturally goes down. When her bottom is down on the ground in the “sit” position, I use the word sit over and over again, with praise and keeping the treat close to her nose so she does not break out of the sit position.
Once puppy Edna has the grasp of sit, we moved on to “down”. Now down was a little trickier because Edna kept wanting to put her front paws down on the ground but didn’t understand it also meant her little pug bum had to be down on the ground as well. I hold the treat on the ground, directly between her front paws, pushing my hand back towards her, making her push back so her bum would go down. In the beginning I would occasionally have to guide that bum down to the ground so she understood what it was I was asking of her.
Wait” can be a challenge for an overactive puppy brain. “Wait” is different from “stay”. When I ask Edna or Edie to “wait”, I’m just asking them to “wait” an extra second or so before breaking out of that position. Once Edna understand the “wait” command, I push the time limit, even if it’s only for an extra second or so, because I find this helps further down the line when teaching the “stay” command. And as you can see by this video, Edie is an excellent role model for Edna.
My puppy Edna is proving to be a very good student, she is certainly active and no doubt about it, she is keeping me on my toes! I have to give my dog Edie a big hand of applause, she has been a great asset, role model and tutor while assisting with puppy training for her little sister 🙂
In the week ahead I am excited to be taking Edna to her first set of puppy classes. Even though I’ve been working with Edna on the basic puppy training, it’s extremely important for puppy’s to learn at an early age how to socialize well with dogs and humans, other than the ones she’s used to in her own home. Edna will have an opportunity to be exposed to and experience a different environment, strange noises, smells, traffic and buildings. Of course Edna won’t be the only one learning something new during these puppy classes, so will I! I believe there is always room to improve my knowledge and understanding when it comes to training and bettering the life of my dogs.
Just a note about treats and training. I use and have always used my dog’s regular kibble as rewards, they like it and it works well for them. However, we can’t forget to take into consideration the amount you “treat” your dog or puppy, so it’s important to adjust their regular meals accordingly so they don’t put on extra pounds 🙂