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Puppy’s First Year – Basic Training

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.

Teaching Puppy

“Look”

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! 

Teaching Puppy

“Sit”

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. 

Teaching Puppy

“Down”

Teaching Puppy

“Wait”

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 🙂

What are some of the basics you teach your puppy or dog?

I am not a dog trainer and what works for me and my dogs may not work for you. It’s always important to consult a professional dog trainer when and if you require assistance with proper training and handling of your dog or puppy.

Author: Kelly Harding

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24 Comments

  1. I taught puppy classes for many years using positive reinforcement training, just as you are doing. We taught the same commands with a variation on the “Look” to “Watch Me” and keeping our hand with the treat off to the side, giving the pup a chance to release the value of the food to look up at our face…that is when they are rewarded…it’s a bit different than luring them but with the same result. At class, the treats had to be of higher value than kibble to keep them focused on training rather than all of the other distractions. Classes are more for the owners than the pups…lol

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    • I realize some dogs are more motivated by a higher value reward than just their kibble, it’s just that I’ve had success with my dogs using their kibble as their reward. I have to agree that the classes are more for the owners 🙂 but I also believe they prove a great place and opportunity to socialize our pups as well.

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  2. Edna is so smart! (Okay, maybe you are just an awesome trainer.) My dogs are also really food motivated and are happy with kibble or fresh veggies as a reward. Have fun at puppy class, I’m sure Edna will be a star!

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    • Sometimes I think Edna is too smart! She definitely keeps me on my toes and always thinking one step ahead of her!

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  3. I have not tried “look” before, but it seems to be a good one. I have used all the others. I find “wait” is one of the best commands, especially if your dog is too focused to turn around and come to you. Sit from a distance is also good. I love the videos of the little pug learning from the older dog.

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    • Edie has been a wonderful assistant and role model!

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  4. Great article. You explained the training very well. And I love that that you started training Edna right away. She and Edie make a great team! So cute!

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  5. I’d add come to that list. I also start off mixing tricks in there although they’re not as necessary! Edie is a good teacher and the two have such serious learning faces.

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    • “Come” is definitely on our list! “Come” is a very important command for every dog to learn – especially for safety reasons. I will be documenting and posting our “Come” training episode soon!

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  6. I’ve never had a puppy, I adopt seniors except for one younger dog named Jack. I taught him “wait” which we do before we cross any road. Although his recall is good, particularly when you’re waving a treat at him, I find that knowing “wait” is really helpful because if he decides to be a bit bratty and have a bit of a wander, all I have to do is say wait and he doesn’t move.

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  7. I need to get a pug to train! Really I do!

    You do not need to be a qualified ‘expert’ to share good solid and workable training methods with a puppy, so thank you for this it’s all do-able stuff. This would make a perfect beginner’s Puppy Printable, you know! Add a couple of Edna pics and you must have a best seller 🙂

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    • Oh pugs and training!!!! They are a breed onto their own when it comes to training and you need the patience of a Saint at times LOL
      Thanks so much for the suggestion of the Puppy Printable, I may just have to look in to producing one!

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  8. I have never had a puppy as I have always rescued older dogs but I must admit both Baby RIP and Layla have been very good with the basic training that I gave them so am one of the lucky ones. I love yours they are just adorable

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    • I believe a dog at any age can benefit from training! While working with Edna, my dog Edie is not only showing Edna how it’s done, but it gives her an opportunity to brush up on her skills as well.

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  9. So many excellent tips on training! I can use all the great ideas I can get my paws on! I never thought of teaching a dog to LOOK but I love it!
    I also appreciate that you point out to consider the amount of treats to not overfeed and I too use regular food as a “treat” when training! It’s so much easier to adjust their meal time that way.

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  10. I never had dogs however have much respect for dog parents that train their pups! Edie is such a good role model for Edna! Looks like she’s going to take after her big sister and be well behaved and cute to boot! She’s adorable. Thanks for sharing the video clips!

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  11. Your tips are great, many people that decided to adopt puppies or dogs in general lose sight to the fact that basic obedience is necessary for happy living. You pug puppy is so adorable and the adult one is so intelligent and well behaved, congrats for a job well done.

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    • Thank you! It’s important for all dogs to at the very least have the basics – it makes for a more enjoyable environment for pet parents and dogs need a job to keep them happy and well balanced.

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  12. So you may have seen my pug on Twitter. His tag is @obidapug and well we did training and worked on it a lot. The one thing we had problems with was he is very picky about his treats. We have tried a lot of different kinds but he just likes them for a little bit and then just drops them and won’t eat them again. Any suggestions?

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    • Training a dog that is not food motivated or picky about what he will “work” for can be challenging. I can only suggest what I would do/try. Find that one thing, whether it’s food or a toy that Obi can’t do without – save that one thing for training purposes only. Some people use bits of hot dogs or cheese, even bacon, just remember, only give little bits of whatever food reward you choose. If Obi has a toy that they love, maybe a ball or tug toy, reward with that. Example, Edie goes crazy over lettuce, if Edie knows I have lettuce I have her complete attention and she is rewarded with a piece, but a small piece, I’m talking the size of my finger nail! I want to keep her attention not have her distracted chowing down on her reward or eating so much of the training reward that she is full and doesn’t care if she gets anymore. I want to keep her motivated to work for that reward!
      I’ve never actually used “treats” per say when training, I’ve always used my dog’s regular kibble. I figure they already love it, so why not use it to my advantage. I hope this helps and I wish you luck, please let me know how Obi makes out!

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  13. We eventually were able to train Cocoa, the biggest problem at the beginning (and well still can be) is you couldn’t bribe him with a treat, he was a take it or leave it kind of guy. Your Edna is just adorable Kelly, I love seeing all the work you do with both her and Edie. I am particularly impressed how you have always been able to get Edie & Lloyd to pose! You, alone have a special talent.

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    • Training can be difficult with a dog that is not food motivated – fortunately for me, pugs (and Lloyd) love their food so it makes training them easier 🙂 Catherine, the last sentence in your comment is one of the best comments I have ever received, thank you, it means so much to me.

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