It’s a great idea to start with the basic commands – remember dogs don’t know what the words ‘sit’ or ‘down’ mean, until we teach them. Dogs need to understand training is fun, especially when they get praise and treats for good behaviour. When your dog does well in training use a special word that means “that’s right!” like “Good boy” or “Yes” and give them their favourite treat or toy.
Hold a food treat near your dog’s nose. Lift your hand up and back, so they have to raise their head to follow your fingers. Their rear end will automatically go down, when it does say your special word and give your dog a reward.
Your dog will quickly learn to associate the word “Sit” with the action. Then try saying “Sit” and only give the reward after they’ve sat down.
Have a treat in your hand, ask your dog to sit then put your hand between the dog’s paws. Turn your palm face down so the dog has to nuzzle underneath to find the treat. Eventually, your dog will lie down to try to uncover the treat. Say the special word and let your dog have the treat on the floor. Repeat several times saying “Down” just before you move your hand. After they’ve grasped this successfully, try standing up straight, holding the treat behind your back, and say “Down”.
It may take some time but be patient, at some point they’ll try lying down to see if they get the reward. When they do say the special word and treat.
Ask your dog to lie down and give a stop sign with your palm facing your dog and say ‘stay’. Wait a few seconds and reward whilst your dog is still laid down. Gradually increase the time between the command word ‘stay’ and giving them the treat. Once this is going well, try increasing the distance between you and your dog.
Say the word ‘drop’ and place a treat on the floor. Do this multiple times, after a few times your dog should begin to look down with the word. Next introduce one of their toys and play for a few seconds. Say the word ‘drop’ place a treat on the floor. Your dog should hopefully be motivated to drop the toy and take the treat.
It’s important to not take the toy from your puppy’s mouth, let them drop it. Keep practising this. Once this is working well, try waiting for your dog to drop the toy before placing the treat on the floor.
Modern dog training should be fun, as well as kind, fair and effective. Puppy classes are a great way to learn tips and tricks as well as great socialisation for your puppy.
Contact the Association of Pet Dog Trainers to find your local member: www.apdt.co.uk