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What commands should I teach my puppy?

Start with the basics and keep your training sessions short. The ideal scenario with commands or any cues you do with your dog is that they work and feel as good for you AND your dog. If your dog enjoys doing them, he/she is more likely to want to repeat them in the future.

Begin with sit, down, stay, and come. These are great first practiced at home first, prior to in a social setting. When you feel ready to do them outside of your home or in a more social environment, what you want to pay attention to is just how distracting or exciting that may be for your dog, as it can add difficulty to what you normally expect from your dog's behaviour. Whether you're practicing the basics or more advanced cue, if you would like for your dog to feel encouraged to repeat them with you, do your best to avoid using them anytime you dislike a behaviour your puppy is doing. Instead, practice distracting and redirecting them with a smell/toy instead until you have them feeling good and at ease once more.

One other important element to consider is what the reward is. Dogs are happy doing things with you and for you but they also have preferences as to what they enjoy doing things for, as far as rewards go. If you're working in a distracting environment, and/or working on a new exercise, using a high value, rare treat that they don't get often is more likely to secure you the response you're hoping for, and later down the line you can work towards getting the same results but with lesser value treats.


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