By John Woods. Founder of All Things Dogs-- Dog Breeds, Training and Behavior.
Coming home with a new puppy is one of the most exciting events that could happen in an animal lover's life. Their excitement and cuteness are infectious with their little paws and a head too big for their body. Between belly rubs and playing with toys, new pet owners will run into a few behavioral issues that might frustrate them if they're not addressed soon enough. This is where training comes in; it is extremely important to teach manners and begin to establish trust between human and dog.
Like people, all dogs learn differently. Some are more food motivated, others love getting pets, or their favorite toy as a reward. Finding this motivator is key when training because it will create a positive and exciting experience for the puppy.
These are five tricks to teach your new puppy in the first month of adoption...
- Their Name
This is the most important thing for your puppy to learn because it will help you get their attention in several different scenarios, whether it's trying to find them after they got off leash or having them do a trick for you.
- Having their favorite thing in hand, say their chosen name as you give them their treat or toy. They will soon associate the name with something you're going to give them that is very interesting. Repeat for only a couple minutes at a time because puppies do get tired.
- When you come back home from work or class, greet them by saying their name over and over. Petting, toys, or treats enhance the positive association they have with their name and owner.
- Leave It
When you can get your dog's attention with their name, puppies have a habit of getting themselves into trouble either way. "Leave It" is a simple command that redirects the puppy's attention towards you instead of something like a frog or electrical cords that they would like to chew up.
- Let the puppy see you have a reward in your hand, preferably something small so when you make a fist it is completely covered. This works best with treats.
- Before they can snatch it up, close your hand and say "leave it"
- The puppy will try to gnaw and paw at your hand for the reward, but stay strong.
- Once the puppy looks away or loses interest, reward them with the treat and repeat.
- Once they get the hang of that, drop the treat on the ground, say "leave it," and quickly cover it with your hand.
- Repeat step 4 with this new variation.
The "come" command is pretty simple because it reiterates the same steps like teaching them their name, just at a distance.
- When your pup is out of arm's reach, get their attention with their favorite reward.
- As they trot towards you, say "come" and reward them with the treat, toy, and/or lots of love.
- When they are preoccupied with something else, call out their name and "come." Reward them handsomely when they do run over to you, expecting something fun or tasty for them to have.
Having a puppy sit might seem impossible because of all their wiggles, but rest assured, it is possible. With a little bit of incentives, your pup is sure to follow suit.
- Have your puppy's attention with their reward while they are on leash.
- With the reward in hand, hold it above their head and move it slowly towards them, parallel with their back.
- Your puppy will want to back up, but having a hold on their leash keeps them from moving and ultimately tricking them into sitting down.
- Just before their butt hits the ground, say "sit" and reward them. Repeat until you can do this without the leash.
This will be the hardest command out of the others, especially with stubborn puppies. Laying down means that the dog is giving up control, forcing them to be in a relaxed, vulnerable position with their new owner on command. It takes a lot of trust, but you should have a strong bond with your pup by doing the aforementioned tricks.
- Your puppy should be in a sitting position to make it easier for them to transition into laying down.
- Hold a reward at their face, not allowing them to get it, and slowly lower your hand towards the ground.
- If your puppy gets up out of sit, have them sit again and repeat the process.
- Before their elbows hit the ground, say "down" and reward them when they do go into a down position. Repeat.
For more tips, tricks and all things dog- head to allthingsdogs.com