Training your puppy may seem like a lot of work, but it is one of the best investments you can make – for both of you. Dogs are pack animals by instinct, and your puppy will see you as the head of his new pack or family. Training helps reinforce your position as leader, as well as build that very special bond with your newest family member.

To avoid confusion and conflicting signals, only one family member should train your puppy, especially when you’re just getting started.

The four P’s of Puppy Training
Patience, Persistence, Practice and Praise

(The P that does NOT belong – Punishment)

Be patient with your puppy. As you develop a family bond, your efforts will be more and more successful. Your puppy is a youngster, full of fun, and it will take some time to get him used to the idea of following commands. This is where lots of practice and gentle persistence really pays off.
You’ll want to reward your puppy each time he performs the requested command. Praise – and lots of it – is essential to successful training. Punishment, on the other hand, sends a negative message and makes training an unpleasant experience for all involved. Puppies thrive on affection and human contact and are thrilled with praise from their master.

Do’s and Don’ts
● Train before meals. Your puppy shouldn’t be working on a full stomach
● Train your puppy in a confined space so he can’t get away from you. Or put him on a six-foot leash.
● Use your pet’s name before each command. “Sam, Sit” gets his attention then tells him what you want. You shouldn’t have to repeat your commands over and over. Say it once, with his name, clearly.
● Reward your puppy immediately after he performs the command correctly. Use lots of praise, as your puppy wants nothing more than to please you.
● Be patient. Puppies have short spans of attention, and it will take them some time to learn their new commands.
● Work in short sessions so your puppy will not get tired, bored or frustrated.

● Get angry. If you feel yourself getting frustrated or upset, take a break. Training should be a pleasant experience for both of you.
● Punish or scold your puppy. Your puppy will learn more quickly with positive feedback.

Basic Obedience and Leash Training

The basic obedience commands every dog should know are Sit, Stay, Come, Down and Heel. You can learn how to teach these commands from websites like, or from and type “puppy obedience training” in the search box. Or you can ask our staff for educational brochures and expert advice (not only on the topic of puppy obedience, but also on socialization, potty training and behavioral problems). After the basic commands become a natural part of your puppy’s life, there are many other instructions and fun tricks you can teach him.

Have a Marvelous March!
Dr. Bonnie