Before you start on which commands to teach your pup, start by learning how your dog thinks and how to set up a a great training routine.
The "sit" command is one of the easiest commands to teach your furbaby and a great starting point. This obedience command comes in handy when you want your pup to calmly take a seat before meals, walks or other exciting occasions. Once they know how to sit, you can move onto other commands that require them to sit first.
Here's how to teach your furbaby to take a seat:
- Hold a treat in front of your puppy's nose.
- Move your hand up so that they follow the treat until they sit.
- Once they sit, say "sit" and give them the treat and praise.
- Repeat these steps a few times every day until your pup has mastered this skill.
Sometimes the leash slips out of your hand or you leave the front door open a tad too long. In this situation, you want your furbaby to return to you when you call their name. Thus, the importance of teaching the "come" command as soon as possible.
To teach your furbaby to come, take the following steps:
- Put a collar and leash on your puppy.
- Squat down to your pup's level and say "come" while gently tugging the leash.
- When they reach you, give them a treat and praise.
Once your furbaby has the "come" command down while on a leash, you can remove the leash and practice the skill in a safe area.
Once your furbaby can follow the "sit" command like a pro, you can move on to "stay." Teaching your pup to stay can be useful in all kinds of situations. For example, what if you need to carry a heavy piece of furniture down the stairs? You likely don't want little Rover twirling at your feet while balancing the end of a hundred-pound dresser. Such an instance would be a good time for furbaby to sit, stay and remain calm.
Learning to stay requires self-control, so it might be a difficult command to teach a very energetic pup. However, with effort and practice, you can have even the most playful furbaby waiting to get moving again.
Here's how to teach the "stay" command:
- Ask your furbaby to sit.
- Next, show them your open palm and say "stay."
- Take a few steps back.
- If your puppy waits and stays, give them a treat and affection.
- If your puppy does not stay, say "no" and move a few more steps away before trying again.
- Gradually increase the number of steps you take before rewarding your pup.
Make sure to reward your furbaby every time they stay even if they only remain still for a few seconds. Soon, they will realize that staying results in a treat and behind-the-ear scratching.
The "down" command can be a trickier training technique because your pup naturally wants to be alert and protect you. When they are down on the floor, they are in a more vulnerable position. However, this command can be useful when visitors stop by or to help your pup keep calm while enjoying a picnic, for example.
Here's what to do to teach them how to stay down:
- Hold a strong-smelling tasty treat in your hand and close your fist.
- Hold the treat up to your furbaby's nose.
- Once your pup sniffs the treat through your closed hand, move your hand to the floor, so they follow the treat.
- Slide the treat on the floor in front of your puppy to prompt them to follow the treat with their body.
- Once your pup is down, say "Down" and give them the treat and praise.
- Repeat this command every day.
If your puppy tries to sit up, take your hand away and say "no." Do not push your pup down, but encourage them every step of the way. They'll get there in no time.
Have you seen other pawrents with their furbabies walking calmly by their side? You've probably also seen puppy parents being whipped around and pulled by the leash as their excited furbaby leads the way. You can avoid the embarrassment of being walked by your pup by teaching them to heel early on or once they are comfortable wearing a leash and collar.
Traditionally, "heel" means that the pup walks on your left side at knee-level while you loosely hold the leash. Imagine the pleasant strolls you can take with your furbaby once they learn how to heel.
Here's how to teach them the heel command:
- Begin with your pup standing next to you.
- Hold the leash in your left hand and a squeaky toy in your right hand.
- Move your right hand to hold the toy slightly above and in front of your pup's head.
- Prompt your puppy to look at the toy as you say "heel" and step forward.
- Your pup should walk with you as they follow the toy.
- Keep their attention on the toy as you continue to walk.
- If they get distracted, squeeze the toy and praise them once you get their attention again.
- Praise the pup every time they look up at you or "check in" on you.
- After your furbaby has given you about 20 to 30 seconds of their attention, give them the toy and lots of affection.
- Play and relax a little, then try again.
You'll gradually increase the amount of time you walk together during training sessions and, eventually, you will not need to use the toy.
Once your puppy knows these basic commands, they'll be better prepared for more advanced training or a training class involving other dogs. Reinforce their training and practice simple Dog commands through a pet camera. This will allow them to learn and engage with you while you’re at work, out with friends or anywhere miles away from home. You can watch their behavior from your smartphone to see areas that might need improvement. Similarly, you can reward or comfort your pup while you're away by easily dispensing treats from Furbo. All you need to do is press a button on your phone and Furbo will toss a treat to your furbaby following a clicking sound. It's perfect for training!