Do we really need to bother training puppies? If we just love them, they’ll grow up to be “good dogs”, won’t they?
The truth is we’re training puppies whether we mean to or not. Puppies, and later, dogs, read our body language and actions extremely well and they do it all the time. That’s the canine method of communication.
If you haven’t said a word and your dog goes into frenzy when you walk towards the place where his leash is kept, you’ve already trained him by your actions that your movements mean a walk.
“How does he know that?” I’ve heard people say.
Puppies are keen observers of our behavior, that’s how.
By training puppies, we put their normal, natural behaviors “on cue”. Do we have to teach a puppy how to sit down, lie down, walk or come to us? Of course not.
By training a puppy to ‘sit’ when we say “Sit”, to ‘come’ when we say, “Come”, and so on, we are training them to do what comes naturally to them when we ask them to.
That’s training puppies to be polite.
Most of us do not appreciate dogs that jump up to say hello, dogs that charge the door when someone knocks or dogs who make a run for it every time a door opens to the outside.
Simply simply training puppies to ‘SIT’ can control all these behaviors and many others.
Here’s the way to train your puppy to ‘SIT’:
- Give him a tiny, yummy treat to get his attention
- Hold the treat between your thumb and forefinger
- Let puppy sniff the treat
- Move your treat-holding fingers back over pup’s nose between his eyes towards his back
- As his nose comes up to follow the treat, his bum will drop to the floor
- As soon as the bum touches the floor, tell him, “Good boy” and give the treat
- Repeat this twice more. You’ll need to move a few steps or even to another room.
That’s a session.
Later in the day…
Repeat all those steps.
After the first ‘sit’ in session 2, add the word ‘sit’ as you move the treat over the nose towards pup’s back. So it becomes, “Pup (his name), ‘sit’.”
Again be sure to praise and treat immediately his bum touches the floor.
Repeat two or three times.
That’s another session.
By session 3, you can simply hold the treat by pup’s nose, say ”Pup, ‘sit’” and down goes the bum.
In session 4, try “pup, ‘sit’” with no treat. If pup ‘sits’, sing her praises to the heavens… have a praise party.
If she doesn’t ‘sit’, use the treat again for a few more repetitions. Be sure to release your puppy after each session. Say “OK”, “All Done”, or “Free” so she knows the training is finished (for now).
Your goal is to train your puppy to ‘sit’ on command using just the verbal cue…no treat. You can progress to using a hand signal now and asking you puppy to ‘stay’ in her ‘sit’ for a few seconds before releasing her.
Remember to ask your puppy to ‘sit’ many, many times throughout the day and in many, many locations inside and outside your home.
Training puppies to ‘sit’ is a huge and useful tool.
You can get a behavior you want instead of many you don’t want.