Beginning With Basics: 3 Things Every Puppy Should Learn First

11 July 2018
 Categories: , Blog

Your new puppy is blank slate just waiting for your instruction on how to behave properly. Even though your puppy is energetic and cute, you need to be serious about training right from the beginning. Puppies are eager to learn, and if you don't teach them, they will teach themselves, and you might not like the results. 

With so much for your puppy to learn, you might not know where to begin with your teaching. Here are some basic commands that every new puppy owner should work on mastering as soon as possible. 

1. Potty Training

Don't wait to begin teaching this essential skill. You don't want a dog with lifetime potty issues because they do not learn properly as a puppy. Do not put a puppy in a diaper because you must go to work. Do not teach your puppy to go potty in the house unless that is the desired outcome (some owners prefer to use puppy pads because of apartment living). 

Do work on mastering consistency. Take your puppy out to relieve themselves before napping, after napping, and after eating. Use the same command each time. For example, you might say "Go," or "Potty" when your dog goes. Go to the same area each time, so your dog associates that spot with correct elimination. If your dog has an accident, negative reinforcement will not help. Instead, say no, and immediately remove the dog to the desired area. 

2. Mouth Manners

Puppies do chew and explore with their mouths. They might even nip or chew on you or things they shouldn't. You can start teaching the right behavior as soon as possible. If your puppy comes toward your hands or another part of the body with an open mouth, you can say "calm" or "close." You can also exclaim in pain if your dog play nips during a game, and immediately end the fun. This way, your dog learns that the fun continues when they are soft with their mouths. Trade shoes for toys so your dog learns what to play with and what not to play with. 

3. Sit

This is a basic command that is essential for your repertoire. Your puppy eventually needs to learn not to jump, not to run away, and not to be too excited when meeting new people. Learning to sit is the way to eventually access all of these desirable behaviors. You can teach your dog to sit by using a treat. Hold the treat up and say "sit". When dogs look up, they instinctively sit down. As soon as your puppy's rear touches the ground, reward the sit with the treat and with praise. 

For more information, contact your local puppy training class.