The first and easiest thing to teach a puppy to do, is “Sit” on command. Once your puppy has learnt this basic skill, she can go on to learn her next command. Follow the steps out lined below and your puppy will learn her first command in no time.
- First be sure to have some of your puppy’s favourite treats at home, but if you don’t know what it is that your puppy likes to eat most, use very small pieces of ham or liver treats. It is a good idea to use very small pieces so you don’t fill your puppy up before the lesson is over.
- Make sure you have your puppy’s full attention (or at least as full as you can!).
- Hold a small piece of the treat in your hand between your forefinger and your thumb so that only a small part of the treat is visible at the tips of your finger and thumb. (Don’t worry that your puppy will not know that it is there as your pups excellent sense of smell will let her know that it is there.
- When your puppy comes close to you, hold the treat just over her nose and say “Sit”.
- Move your hand forward so that the treat is almost directly over your puppy’s head. This is to cause your puppy to look up at the treat, while at the same time she will have to sit down to reach it. You can also push the treat toward your puppy’s nose but just a little higher to again cause your puppy to look up and sit down to get to the treat.
- The instant her bottom hits the floor, praise her excitedly with a high, “excited” voice and let her take the treat.
- Repeat as often as possible in the first week of practice to reinforce the newly learnt command and always say the word “Sit” as she starts to sit down.
- Your puppy will also recognise your hand gesture as you say the word “sit”, so you will teach your new puppy to sit on voice command as well as a hand gesture.
- Remember to treat and praise and repeat.
- Once you are confident that your new puppy has learnt her new command, start to replace the reward of food with a physical reward such as a pat or quick scratch behind the ears. Weaning your puppy off treats as a reward and onto praise and pats alone is important, otherwise your puppy may be less interested in following obedience instructions when she cannot smell food in your hand or pocket.
Keep in mind the following:
- Keep training lessons to short lengths of time and practice often. Four short lessons of five minutes or less is very effective and you will start to see the fruits of your training within a few days. Keeping the lessons short is extremely important to stop your young puppy from becoming bored.
- Always end the obedience session on a successful and happy note after a successful attempt.
- Always try to train your puppy when you yourself are in a good mood and you have about 5 minutes to spend uninterrupted with your new puppy
- Keep plenty of tasty training treats at home.
- it is also a good idea to exercise your puppy before you have a training session to release any excess energy your puppy has built up before you begin.