If you’re a bit of a control freak and you expect your puppy to have mastered all of your commands in the first couple of weeks, you may be disappointed. Young puppies, in particular, have a lot to take in in the first few weeks as they settle into their new home away from their mom and litter mates. Start off with two or three commands at the most – sit, come and down should take priority – and don’t move on to new commands until such time as your puppy has mastered the basics.

If you’re a bit of a control freak and you expect your puppy to have mastered all of your commands in the first couple of weeks, you may be disappointed. Young puppies, in particular, have a lot to take in in the first few weeks as they settle into their new home away from their mom and litter mates. Start off with two or three commands at the most – sit, come and down should take priority – and don’t move on to new commands until such time as your puppy has mastered the basics.
Remember that training is an ongoing process. You will never be completely finished. It is important to keep working on obedience training throughout the life of your dog. People who learn a language at a young age but stop speaking that language may forget much of it as they grow older. The same goes for your dog: use it or lose it. Running through even the most basic tricks and commands will help them stay fresh in your dog's mind. Plus, it's a great way to spend time with your dog.
With your dog sitting at your side, set off and give the command “heel” (so that your dog is aware you are about to move). If the dog gets ahead, stop and encourage it back to your side with a titbit. Repeat. To begin with, stop every three to four paces to praise your dog and give a titbit. Do not use your voice unless your dog is at your side. You can also practise this off-lead in a secure area – this makes you work really hard at keeping your dog with you, rather than relying on the lead.
Before enrolling with a particular club contact them and ask if you can go to watch a class without your dog. This will help you decide if this is the right environment for you and your dog. Some clubs have waiting lists and you will need to book ahead, some accept people on a roll on roll off basis. Prices will vary from a joining fee and then weekly payments to a one off fee for a certain length of training.
Puppies are capable of learning simple commands from a very young age but don’t try to give your puppy a meaningful training session if he is tired, highly excited or busy exploring. You need his full attention, otherwise you’re wasting your time. You can build up to training sessions in more distracting environments once your puppy is reliably responding to your commands at home.
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