Every puppy should learn some basic commands, such as sit, stay and come. These are commands that will help your puppy meet new people politely and maybe even save his life, in the case of a reliable stay and recall.
- Hold a treat in between your thumb and forefinger and hold it right by your puppy's nose.
- Move the treat slowly back toward his tail such that his head points up, encouraging him to drop his rear to the ground.
- When his rear hits the ground, say "sit"and then praise. Reward with the treat.
- Repeat until your dog is dropping into a sit quickly. Remove the treat from your hand and use the hand signal only. Keep rewarding until your dog will sit quickly without the hand signal.
Start practicing the sit when you are putting your dog's food bowl down or when meeting a new person so she learns manners. If she leaves the sit, pick up the bowl or make the person back away so she only gets what she wants when she's sitting.
- Once you have taught your dog to sit, you can teach him to stay by adding a release command to the sit. Say "OK" or "release" or a similar command to let him know he can end the sit.
- If he ends before the command, lure him back into the correct position and release more quickly.
- You can add the "stay" command at this time, but it isn't really necessary if your dog is waiting for the release to get up.
- Gradually increase the amount of time before releasing. You can start to take a step or two away before releasing.
If your dog breaks the stay, you're moving too quickly. Slow down. Set up your dog for success by not waiting as long to release or standing closer to your dog.
- Put your dog on a leash. You don't want her to learn that she can ignore the "come" command, and the leash will prevent her making mistakes.
- Toss a treat away from you so that your dog runs away.
- Say your dog's name and start running excitedly backward until she follows.
- When she is eagerly running toward you, say "come"and stop running.
- Hold a treat above your dog's nose as you did when teaching sit.
- When she drops into a sit, reward, praise and pet her.
- When your dog is coming well on the short leash, start using a longer line, like 30 feet. Take her to more complex environments, such as a park or favorite hiking spot, and practice there. Before you let her off her leash, she should be able to come on the long line in all environments.
Don't punish your dog during training or use force to get him into different positions. Using positive reinforcement will make training more fun.