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Puppy training help - Commands

Rockinruby

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Dec 27, 2013
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I am trying to compile a list of commands to teach our new puppy. I would like to teach her essential commands plus some fun ones too! She's already enrolled in two dog training classes which we just started. One will cover the basics like sit and down. The other one will cover things that help to build confidence. (Ex. This first week is a whipped cream game, crate game, etc).

I do plan to train Poppy for therapy dog volunteer work so it's important that we train a lot during her first year. :pray: I am hoping some PS members will chime in with helpful ideas. :confused:

I am curious as to what commands/hand signals your dog knows?
What do you consider the most important ones?
Which ones do you wish you would have taught?
Did you take classes in person, online or train your dog yourself?

Feel free to add pics or join in if you've taught your cat or other animal commands. :wavey:
 

momhappy

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We did the basics, but made sure that we were consistent because consistency is key. We taught "sit", "heel" (to encourage polite walking habits on the leash), and "go potty" to encourage them to do their business outside quickly :D
 

ADN

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Hi - I trained our lab myself - the 3 big ones that I've found invaluable:
1. Eat only on command - - with all the rubbish / fox bait poison / children's dinners :D / etc. laying around, this has proven to be very effective
2. Crate training - - it is our dogs 'safe' place away from kids ;-) - - but more importantly, we do allot of traveling (car & plane) and our dog is very comfortable traveling - - when he's getting loaded onto a plane, it's great knowing he happily chewing a toy in his crate and is not bothered by what's happening outside like a lot of other poor dogs are.
3. Come when called - - being able to know you're dog will return every time he's called is very reassuring
There are a few others that I've trained him for that are helpful (like toilet on command / walk on & off lead / etc) but I've found these three are ones that can help protect your dog and keep it safe as well.
Good luck - - and like Rockinruby said...consistency...consistency...consistency!
 

YadaYadaYada

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My two favorites:

Off- Handy for getting them of the furniture or off of a person (my big dog loves to jump on my husband).

Leave It- I use this for both objects and people. When walking I will tell the dog to "leave it" if he is taking too much interest in something on the ground or another dog walking by.

Also a big fan of "go lay down". We had a Sheltie that knew quite a few tricks including high five and roll over so those are fun if you can train those. We enrolled our youngest dog in a puppy training class but he is part Australian Shepherd and already knew most of what they taught. He is so smart that he would know he needed to perform in class and then essentially "lose" all his smarts at home.
 

rubybeth

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I haven't trained my own dogs, but I've helped stay consistent with my sister's puppy (now dog) and my parents' puppy (now dog). They are both dachshunds, so I think they are average intelligence as far as breeds go. The thing that we learned early on was that one word, one syllable commands are the easiest for dogs to understand, and we learned from the trainer that my parents' dog went to that you need to give the dog a few moments to understand the command, and reward heavily when they do the correct thing. We also never punish the dogs for anything--even if they poop on the carpet in front of us, it's our own fault for not reading their signals that they needed to go out.

So, with that said, the basics they both know are: sit, stay, lay, heel, up/down (they are small dogs so need to hop up onto furniture or off of it regularly), come, off (for not jumping up on people), pee/potty (interchangeable), and poop. They also know tricks like roll, spin, beg, bang (for playing dead--laying on back with paws up), and they both know 'kiss' means we want them to lick us. My parents' dog knows "back-up" because she instinctively backed up (moved backward) as a puppy and we just named the action and praised her heavily when she did it--it's very handy when playing ball indoors to give us space to bounce it to her, or if she needs to move out of the way to open a door. If your dog does anything that you especially like, you could give that a name, too.

For therapy dogs, I know one big thing is that they shouldn't lick, so if you can somehow get them to not do that, that would be great. I'd also suggest contacting someone who has a therapy dog similar to what you hope your dog will, and ask them which commands have been helpful.
 

PintoBean

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"wait" is a biggie. Wait to go out the door, wait before they are permitted to eat. It saved our sliding screen doors, because they would start charging before we got the door open all the way! And damn dogs would snatch the cookies by jumping up before we were ready to give them to them! Our big doggies didn't need wait - they were calmer and patient Angels, but the rat terriers my parents have now, omg, what a gift when they learned "wait".
 

momhappy

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I forgot to add "come" which is paired with a hand signal.
We also crate trained and our dogs sleep in a large crate in our bedroom every night (they go in voluntarily at bed time).
 

Mayk

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One of my favorites my past lab was trained for was mat training. Anything could be going on in the house. Guests arriving. Doors opening and closing to bring things in and out. Too many people in the kitchen, you name it. I could tell Thelma "place" and she would go right to the nearest dog bed. Out from under foot and safe from being stepped on.
 

Scandinavian

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Our dog is an English setter so she has a lot of hunting instinct as she is bread (and trained) to hunt for birds. We have taught her as part of the hunting training to sit at any distance, regardless of provocation (bird, cat, the neighbour's pet rabbit.. lol). It is a really good exercise, it gives you total control of the dog at a distance - our baby can sit at approximately 300 meters - or 30 if there is a bird in the air - she still has some way to go :) The good thing about this exercise is that it is very hard for the dog, so it is a really good bonding and cooperation and obedience exercise - makes everything else easy. (You start the training by using a long leash to avoid disasters).
Practicing sleeping in a dog crate is also good for travels (hotels, cars, planes, etc).
 

liaerfbv

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hand signals - sit, lay down, stay

verbal commands - sit, lay down, stay, home (our version of come here right now where I am "home"), wait, and go away (aka stop staring at me eat haha), and drop it. He also thinks the word "snuggle" used in any context is a command. :)

We did puppy training classes and due to our schedules at the time, only DH could go with him and that was a disaster, because of course he only learned how to listen to DH. We did remedial classes at 6 months with me, but his whole first year was very difficult for me because he bonded with DH and it was like I didn't exist. So I highly recommend you do joint training immediately if more than 1 person is going to be giving commands.

2 tips our trainer gave us that really helped - we tried not to use the word "no." Instead we used "uhn uhn" (surprisingly hard to spell that sound) which is a harsher sound. And not to use "come here" as the "return to me immediately" command because you'll spend your whole life together telling them to come to you, but there needs to be a separate command for "return to me immediately" for emergencies.

I wish we would have mat trained as someone else mentioned. We've tried a few times in the past couple years, and it sticks for a bit, but it's not foolproof.
 

momhappy

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Mayk|1460379839|4017874 said:
One of my favorites my past lab was trained for was mat training. Anything could be going on in the house. Guests arriving. Doors opening and closing to bring things in and out. Too many people in the kitchen, you name it. I could tell Thelma "place" and she would go right to the nearest dog bed. Out from under foot and safe from being stepped on.
This is a great idea. I wonder if it's too late to train my 3 yr-old dog this command? I hate that he rushes the door (and barks) every time someone knocks.
 

Puppmom

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Jun 25, 2007
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So exciting to have a new pup! Our boy is 8 now and he's big so we tailored much of our training to his size and personality. For example, maybe it's cute when a Yorkie jumps on you...not so much with a Rhodesian Ridgeback. I didn't get a chance to read all the responses but here's what I have:

Sit
Stay (important follow up to sit!)
Roll over - useless but fun
Leave it - this has been HUGE for us. I have a very large, prey driven dog and live in a neighborhood full of bunnies and squirrels. I also have two small children who drop food on the floor...a lot.
Threshold training - our dog was trained not to cross a certain point in our kitchen when we're eating. We put his dog bed at that place and he's allowed up to and on the bed but that's it. This was important to us because he is table height.
Potty training - we trained our dog to ring a bell on the door when he needs to go out. Huge help during the early days. Mildly annoying now because he rings it so he can sun bathe. We also use the command "do it" during potty training and now if we need him to go in a hurry. He hates rain and snow so, during those times, I push him out the back door and say "do it!" and he gets right down to business without sniffing for the perfect spot.
Come - so important to know that your buddy will come when called. An absolute necessity.
Off - we used this command to keep our dog from jumping on people. He doesn't even attempt now that he's older.
Back up - we use this if he's getting a little too close for comfort. For example - sitting on the couch eating a bowl of cereal with a dog's face two feet from yours - not cool. A firm "back up!" takes care of that. Also comes in handy when opening the front door for a guest and getting his nose out of your toddler's diaper.
On your bed - a general enough's enough go to your room command. We do this often when we've got company and he moves from one guest to another begging for food or just being underfoot. It gives us and him a momentary breather.
Leash training - I cannot say enough about leash training! It'll be the most difficult and frustrating thing you train your dog but you will be so glad you did. My dog is 95lbs and I can walk him with ease (and so can my 90lb daughter!). He does not pull or get twisted around you or lag behind. He's a joy to walk but the first year...oh man. He's lucky he was cute (and not 95lbs yet!).

Last, your dog will not behave perfectly all the time no matter how well he's trained. Prioritize what's important to you. My dog is well behaved 90% of the time but you'll still have mishaps. I could tell you some stories!
 

Puppmom

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PS- we used positive reinforcement for all of our training efforts except for the kitchen table. Our dog is so food driven that food on the table was one of our biggest challenges. He could approach, snatch and swallow an entire hamburger in under 3 seconds. We used an air horn. We put a plate of food on our kitchen table, stood about 20 feet back, when he got close to the table we blew the horn. We only had to do that ONE time. After that we kept the air horn on our counter while we ate then didn't need it at all.
 

momhappy

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Does anyone have any good tips for barking? I wonder if the air horn trick would work? I've heard that loud noises can deter certain behaviors - I just didn't know if it was appropriate for something like barking?
 

MarionC

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momhappy|1460428678|4018155 said:
Does anyone have any good tips for barking? I wonder if the air horn trick would work? I've heard that loud noises can deter certain behaviors - I just didn't know if it was appropriate for something like barking?
I had good luck with a battery-run citronella bark collar. The bark activates a puff of citronella.
 

Puppmom

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Momhappy, my dog never barked until we moved when he was about 2. Then he suddenly found his (big scary) voice. It became a problem because he's big and the bark really intimidated people. We tried clicker training and it didn't work (my 95lb dog was AFRAID of the clicker and would just cower any time we pulled it out). We had a trainer teach us the "quiet" command but I really struggled with timing my command appropriately and "quiet" ended up becoming his queue to bark. :rolleyes: My dogs barks were exclusive to people walking by the house and coming to the door so we ended up using "leave it" with treats as a reward. He rarely barks now.

The trainer we had come out laughed at us when we said we wanted to train our dog to stop barking. She said he's just doing his job. What you want to train him to do is stop when you tell him you've got the situation under control. That really made lot of sense to me.

This thread makes me want a puppy! Training is hard but it's also so rewarding to watch your squishy pup learn new things.

ETA - my mom used one of those vibrating bark collars on her dog. 8 years later and they still have to use the dang thing.
 

iluvshinythings

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One of my bffs is a dog trainer so I had a few sessions with her a couple of puppies ago and I've trained my own dogs since. Before the sessions with my bff, I took my puppy to puppy class. I think the one on one sessions were very helpful. I found that puppy class was good for socializing the puppy but really distracting and not very effective for training.

A couple of important things I learned is that teaching a dog using positive reinforcement is really easy. If you hold a treat over his head and bring it down, he'll naturally sit. If you place treats in his crate, he'll want to go there. If you give the command and a treat the minute he does his business, your neighbors will think you're crazy, but your dog will "go" where and when it's convenient for you. The other thing is that crate training really is the very best, most humane way to potty train.

I've found that "sit", "stay", "come", "potty", "ewwwww" (a replacement for no) and "crate up" (get in the crate) cover most of the important things. For fun I also taught Herbie to do yoga on command. When he was a baby and would stand up and stretch, I'd say "yoga" and give him a treat. Now I just say "yoga" and he downward dogs like a pro.

He weighed less than two pounds when I got him so it was so cute when he jumped on me for attention. It's not cute anymore and I wish I had been more aggressive with stopping that behavior. Now when he starts jumping I give him a "sit" command which works but I'm not always fast enough to catch him before he embarrasses me with his bad manners.
 

momhappy

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puppmom|1460466009|4018250 said:
Momhappy, my dog never barked until we moved when he was about 2. Then he suddenly found his (big scary) voice. It became a problem because he's big and the bark really intimidated people. We tried clicker training and it didn't work (my 95lb dog was AFRAID of the clicker and would just cower any time we pulled it out). We had a trainer teach us the "quiet" command but I really struggled with timing my command appropriately and "quiet" ended up becoming his queue to bark. :rolleyes: My dogs barks were exclusive to people walking by the house and coming to the door so we ended up using "leave it" with treats as a reward. He rarely barks now.

The trainer we had come out laughed at us when we said we wanted to train our dog to stop barking. She said he's just doing his job. What you want to train him to do is stop when you tell him you've got the situation under control. That really made lot of sense to me.

This thread makes me want a puppy! Training is hard but it's also so rewarding to watch your squishy pup learn new things.

ETA - my mom used one of those vibrating bark collars on her dog. 8 years later and they still have to use the dang thing.
Yes, that makes a lot of sense to me too. I know that barking is just a natural instinct, but man, it can be annoying. Our first dog never barked. Our second dog (same breed) is a barker and just seems more alert/nervous/sensitive to everything that goes on around the house. Having someone knock on the door is the worst because he goes bezerk. Can you tell me how you use the "leave it" command and treats for barking?
 

Puppmom

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Momhappy, don't I know it! Hollis started barking out of nowhere and the doorbell/door knock are his kryptonite! What we did worked best if we knew someone was coming. We would get treats and have him sit/stay. As the person knocked we would say "leave it" and if he stopped barking and looked to us we treated (heavily throughout the silence). If he didn't we kept trying. Eventually he would just look to us for a signal as to what to do instead of barking. He still barks here and there but we can usually tell he's about to because it starts with a low grumble/woof. So now we don't need the treats and we say "leave it" if we here the low grumble start. And now, I kind of appreciate it because he starts low almost as a warning to us. I can then "investigate" and tell him if we're all good.

Everyone we know is aware that they shouldn't ring the doorbell but that thing still gets him. But that's only delivery people/solicitors at this point. So, during nap (we have a 3 year old), I put a sign on my door that's says don't knock or ring. God, I feel a 100 years old just writing that! :lol:
 

chiquitapet

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We have a puppy too so we're training as well. The 2 commands that i would add to the above lists are 'drink' and 'finish'. Its helpful when she drinks on command before a long walk or drive. We say 'finish' and cross our arms to let her know when we're done playing, so that she doesn't keep expecting attention - it reduces dog's frustration (we haven't quite mastered this one yet lol).

She just got spayed the little darling yesterday but after she recovers we're looking forward to some basic obedience training. We've completed both the puppy and juvenile puppy courses but both her and us need way more training lol.
 

momhappy

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puppmom|1460502541|4018501 said:
Momhappy, don't I know it! Hollis started barking out of nowhere and the doorbell/door knock are his kryptonite! What we did worked best if we knew someone was coming. We would get treats and have him sit/stay. As the person knocked we would say "leave it" and if he stopped barking and looked to us we treated (heavily throughout the silence). If he didn't we kept trying. Eventually he would just look to us for a signal as to what to do instead of barking. He still barks here and there but we can usually tell he's about to because it starts with a low grumble/woof. So now we don't need the treats and we say "leave it" if we here the low grumble start. And now, I kind of appreciate it because he starts low almost as a warning to us. I can then "investigate" and tell him if we're all good.

Everyone we know is aware that they shouldn't ring the doorbell but that thing still gets him. But that's only delivery people/solicitors at this point. So, during nap (we have a 3 year old), I put a sign on my door that's says don't knock or ring. God, I feel a 100 years old just writing that! :lol:
Thanks so much for sharing! I've actually tried treating him as someone arrives and it's been fairly successful, so I think the key would be to use along with a command. I'm going to try to be more diligent with the no-bark training, but like you said, it's easier if you know when someone's coming :lol:
 

Arcadian

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Lucky is a race dog but a very smart one! I immediate started teaching her ASL along with basic commands which has been fun for both of us. She knew a few already, like how to jump in and out of cars...lol Funny enough, no matter who comes to the door, she can't be bothered to bark. I have to actually MAKE her bark most of the time (with treats no less!!)

Because she's a sight-hound (and an offleash one) I work on her basics daily, more complicated ones as we get to them.
 
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