Teaching your puppy the basics is essential for creating a well-behaved companion. Training your pup to “sit”, “wait” and “come” is the foundation for a positive and successful relationship. By starting early and using positive reinforcement methods, you can teach your pup these basic commands and develop a strong bond.
Preparing for Training
You can start training your puppy as soon as he comes home. Just be patient and don’t expect him to be consistent right away. We do little sessions all through the day, and keep them short and fun. Make sure you have the right tools. This includes treats(we recommend using kibble), dog training clicker (if you want to pursue clicker training), and a space to train in (ideally, distraction free).
Teaching Your Dog to Come
At the beginning, only give the command to “come” when you are confidant your puppy will obey. You can use a leash to enforce the command, or you can give it when his attention is already on you and he knows you have something yummy in your hand. Give the command one time! This is very important. You want your dog to know that he has to come the first time, not the third or fifteenth time you say “come”. If your dog does not obey after the first time, use the leash to bring him to you, or go get him and bring him to the spot where you originally called him. Then say, “good come” in an excited voice, or click, if you are doing clicker training, and offer the treat.
Continue doing this in a fun way, as often as possible, until your puppy knows the command well. Then you can add in “sit”.
We don’t recommend using “come” at the beginning when your puppy is outside and distracted. Use a leash, go after your pup and bring him back, or use other words and an excited voice to get his attention. Make the command a non-negotiable, the first time you give it.
Teaching Your Dog to Sit
Once our puppies understand “come”, we add in “sit”. Give the command “come” and when your puppies arrives at your feet, add “sit”. Hold the treat above his head where he can see it. At the beginning, you can use your hand to push his back end down to the ground. As soon as he is sitting, say “good sit” in an excited voice and offer the treat. If you use a hand motion every time you give the sit command, eventually, you can use that hand motion alone, and your dog will sit. We point one finger up as our “sit” hand signal. Make sure you are consistent with your hand motion so that your dog can see and understand the motion. Keep practicing until your dog has mastered this basic pose.
Teaching Your Dog to Wait
Once your dog has mastered “sit”, you can move onto the next command: “wait”. This command can be a little trickier than the first, so make sure you have mastered the sit first before moving on. At the beginning you will do this for a very short period of time. Before you begin, decide on your “release word”. We use “ok”. You idea is to give the “wait” command and have your dog remain in his sit position until you release him. You can start by giving the “wait” command and placing a treat on the ground in front of your puppy, just out of reach. We use an open palm in a “stop” motion as our hand signal for “wait”. At first, keep your hand on your puppy’s back end to keep him in a “sit” position, and unable to reach the treat. Wait for a few seconds and give the release command, removing your hand, and allowing your puppy to stand up and get the treat. Continue doing this, waiting longer periods of time before giving the release command. Once your puppy understand the concept, try giving the command without using your hand to keep him in “sit”. You can gradually increase the length of time, and eventually, move further and further away before giving the release command.
Positive Reinforcement in Training
As you progress through your puppy’s training, it is important to rely on positive reinforcement. You want him to be enthusiastic about learning and following your commands. However, your puppy also wants you to be dominant. Using a firm voice and making sure your puppy follows your commands, every single time, is also important. Knowing you are in charge will make your puppy feel safe and happy.
Montana Bernese Mountain Dog and Bernedoodle Breeders
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