10 Tips for Teaching Your Puppy Basic Obedience Commands

When your puppy was born, his mother began his training by teaching him and his littermates puppy socialization skills. This was a good start. But when your puppy goes to his new home, he will require more training. Along with continued socializing and housebreaking, your puppy will need to learn basic obedience commands such as sit, down, stay and come.

Here are 10 tips for teaching your puppy basic obedience commands.

1. Work with your puppy in short training sessions that are only five to ten minutes long. Your puppy has a short attention span and can easily become bored with the repetition of basic obedience commands. Training sessions may be done once a day or several times a day as your time allows.

2. Before beginning the training session, snap a leash on your puppy. This is to prevent your puppy from running off and deciding on his own that the training session is over.

3. The training session should be done in an area that is free from distractions. Teaching your puppy will be more productive since it will be easier for your puppy to concentrate and he will learn the basic obedience commands faster. Distractions may be gradually worked into the sessions as the training progresses.

4. Make the training session fun. Be positive, enthusiastic and in a happy mood. Do not get frustrated with the puppy’s progress and, above all, do not lose your temper or use harsh corrections. Teaching your puppy sometimes takes a lot of patience.

5. Make sure your puppy knows his name. When the puppy hears his name, he should pick up his head and look at you as if to say, “Yes? What do you want?” Your puppy’s name should precede each of the basic obedience commands. For example, say “Rover, sit”, not “Sit, Rover.”

6. Be consistent when teaching your puppy basic obedience commands. Use the same word each time to communicate the command to your puppy. For example, when teaching the puppy to stay, use the command “stay” consistently. Do not use a variety of words such as “wait” or “stop” to indicate the same command.

7. Say your command only once. Do not repeat it over and over again. For instance, if you say the word “sit”, your puppy should move into the sit position. If he does not, gently push your puppy into the sit. Your puppy will learn that he must comply with your first command and that the command is not “sit, sit, sit, sit.”

8. Praise and treats are an important part of teaching your puppy basic obedience commands. During the training session, when your puppy has carried out your command, immediately give enthusiastic praise, and then give a treat. This will motivate and reward your puppy for his reaction. Treats should be small pieces of food that are easy to swallow such as cheese or hot dogs.

9. Make sure the puppy understands what you want. Do not automatically think that the puppy is deciding not to obey your basic obedience commands. Give your puppy the benefit of the doubt. It may be that while teaching your puppy, you have not communicated the desired response effectively.

10. End each training session by playing with your puppy. Toss him his favorite toy or play tug of war with him. If your puppy likes to retrieve, take him outside to play ball. This will reward him for his efforts. Your puppy will look forward to the next training session and begin to understand that learning his basic obedience commands can be fun.

Resource: Personal experience as professional dog trainer

More dog training articles from Sunshine Wilson

Using Desensitization Techniques to Treat Car Sickness in Dogs

5 Dog Behaviors That Should Not Be Allowed By Owners

How to Teach Your Dog to Swim