Well-behaved puppies…what are they? Any owner with a puppy running (or peeing) roughshod around their house may be asking themselves that question. There’s so much for a puppy to learn until they can act like a proper houseguest, so it may be a question of where to start. Much less of a question is when, because it’s best to start training your puppy as early as possible.
Step one to training your puppy is to make them understand who they are. Chances are that you’re the one who gave them their adorable name, so now it falls to you to make it stick. To train your puppy to respond to their name, say it aloud to them often. When you get their
attention by using their name, you can give them a treat or some affection to incentivize similar behavioral responses in the future.
Now that they know who they are, you can begin with some simple commands—oh, wait, an accident! Let’s skip over the simple commands for a second, then, and go to potty training.
To house train your puppy, keep them on a regular schedule for food and bathroom breaks. Right after you rise and right before bed, take them outside to do their business. When you and your puppy go outside, bring them to the same spot each time, as your puppy will recognize the scent. If they “go” successfully, reward them. Patience is key with potty training,
as your puppy will have to pee many times a day when they are young and may not always have the foresight to make it outside.
To try and limit accidents when your puppy inevitably has to relieve themselves during the day, you can train them on how to let you know. For example, hang a bell on the doorknob of your back door, and when you bring your dog out in the mornings and evenings to use the bathroom, have them sit in front of the knob as you jingle the bell.
This will train your puppy to go to the door and ring the bell when they have to do their business. This will also train you, as soon enough you’ll be hustling to the back door involuntarily when you hear a bell ringing.
Now that your puppy is hopefully peeing outside a majority of the time, we can go back to simple commands.
Let’s start with everyone’s favorite activity, sitting. Get a reward your
puppy will enjoy like a tasty treat or a favorite toy. Let the puppy see the toy or smell the treat and then raise it above their head. As they lift their head up to follow the toy or treat, their behind will lower. As you repeat this hand motion, when your puppy leans his head up and lowers his
behind, say “sit.” Repeat this until your puppy begins to associate the word with their actions.
Next is “stay” and “go.” Have your puppy “sit” next to you. Toss a treat or toy in front of him and say “go” as they start to go after the toy or treat. Repeat this action a few times until you can say “go” and your puppy will start moving even if you do not throw a toy or treat.
To “stay,” tell your puppy to “sit.” Say “stay” and take a half-step back. If they do not move, step back to your puppy, give them a reward, and then tell them to “go.” Each time you do this, step back a little bit further at a time until they can maintain their position with you at a
relative long distance. It will take time and patience to train your puppy, but it will be worth it.
Learn more about keeping your puppy happy with “5 Great Ways to Keep Your Puppy Busy” and “5 Awesome Dog Bonding Exercises”.