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 Puppy Training 101: 6 Essential Commands to Teach Your New Friend

ByDan BrookingJan 24, 2024In Partnership With AI Powered Pencil

Training a puppy requires patience, consistency, and lots of treats! Although it may seem overwhelming at first, teaching your puppy basic commands is crucial for their safety, manners, and overall behavioral development. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond with your new best friend. Here are some fundamental commands you should teach your puppy first:

1. Name Recognition

Before diving into more complex commands, your puppy needs to recognize their name. Use their name often and reward them whenever they respond to it. This will establish a solid foundation for all subsequent training.

2. “Sit”

“Sit” is usually the first command taught to puppies. It’s a simple command that encourages calm and respectful behavior. Here’s how you can teach it:

  • Hold a treat near your puppy’s nose.
  • Move your hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat, causing their bottom to lower.
  • Once they’re in the sitting position, say “Sit,” give them the treat, and share affection.

3. “Stay”

“Stay” is a valuable command for managing your puppy’s movements and ensuring their safety. Start teaching it after your puppy has mastered “Sit.”

  • Ask your puppy to “Sit.”
  • Then, open the palm of your hand in front of you and say “Stay.”
  • Take a few steps back. If they stay, give your puppy a treat.
  • Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
  • Always reward your puppy for staying put, even if it’s just for a few seconds.

4. “Down”

This command can help keep your puppy calm in various situations. Here’s how to teach it:

  • Hold a treat in your closed hand.
  • Hold your hand up to your puppy’s snout. When they sniff it, move your hand to the floor, so they follow.
  • Then slide your hand along the ground in front of them to encourage their body to follow their head.
  • Once they’re in the down position, say “Down,” give them the treat, and share affection.

5. “Come”

This command could potentially save your puppy’s life by bringing them back to you if they get loose.

  • Put a leash and collar on your puppy.
  • Get down to their level and say “Come” while gently pulling on the leash.
  • When they get to you, reward them with affection and a treat.
  • Once they’ve mastered it with the leash, try the command without it in a safe, enclosed area.

6. “Leave it”

This command can protect your puppy when they’re about to pick up something potentially harmful.

  • Place a treat in both hands.
  • Show them one enclosed fist with the treat inside and say, “Leave it.”
  • Let them lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it, but ignore these behaviors.
  • Once they stop trying, give them the treat from the other hand.
  • Repeat until your puppy moves away from the first fist when you say “Leave it.”

Remember, puppies learn at different paces. Use positive reinforcement to encourage your puppy—this means rewarding them with treats, praises, or pets for doing something correctly. Avoid harsh methods and maintain patience. Training your puppy should be a fun and enriching experience for both of you!