Train Your Puppy These 5 Fundamental Cues


 Go Ahead:

1: Train your dog to respond when called.

2: Train your dog to walk off-leash.

3: Train your dog How to sit

4: Train Your Dog to Sit

5: Train your dog to remain

Starting Again

To get started on the proper foot (and paw!) with your dog, they must understand what you expect of them. This will give them confidence in their abilities to fulfill the objectives set out for the future.

Positive reinforcement should serve as the cornerstone of training. Positive reinforcement is the practice of rewarding a dog (or human!) for desired behavior, such as coming to work. The goal is not to entice your dog with the behavior but to teach it with something he values.

The use of punishment, such as leash corrections or screaming, should be avoided. Punishment may make a dog confused and unclear about what is expected of them. It is important to remember that we cannot expect dogs to know what they do not yet know, just as we would not expect a two-year-old kid to know how to tie their shoes. Patience will go a long way toward teaching your new dog proper behavior.

Reinforcement may be something your dog enjoys. For training rewards, most owners use tiny pieces of a “high-value” meal, such as freeze-dried liver, or even simply their kibble. As a reward, lavish praise or the opportunity to play with a favorite toy might be utilized. Dogs must be trained to like receiving praise. If you give the dog a treat while saying, “Excellent dog!” in a cheerful manner, they will learn that praise is good and may be used as a reward. Some dogs like being petted as well. Food is often the most practical approach to encouraging conduct.

Puppies may begin very basic training as soon as they get home, which is normally about 8 weeks old. Always keep training sessions short (five to ten minutes) and on a positive note. If your puppy is having difficulty learning a new behavior, conclude the session by reviewing what they already know and rewarding them generously for their achievement. If your puppy becomes bored or irritated, it will be harmful to his development.

Train Your Dog to Respond When Called

Begin teaching a recall (come when called) in a calm environment and inside.


  1. Sit with your dog and call their name or say “come.”
  2. Give your pet a goodie after each “come” or “name” command. They are not required to do anything at this time! Just repeat the word and provide a goodie. Easy!
  3. Next, place a reward near you on the floor. Say your puppy’s name again as soon as they finish the reward on the ground. Give them another goodie when they look up.
  4. Continue this a few times until you can start throwing the reward farther away and they can turn around to face you when you call their name. Avoid repeating your puppy’s name; saying it too often when they don’t answer encourages them to disregard it. Instead, get closer to your puppy and return to a stage when they can successfully answer to their name for the first time.
  5. Begin adding mobility and making the game more enjoyable once your dog can turn around to face you! Throw a reward on the ground and walk away while calling your puppy’s name. They should sprint after you since it’s enjoyable to pursue!
  6. Give them plenty of praise and rewards or play with a tug toy when they catch you. Coming to you should be enjoyable! Continue to expand these games across larger distances and in other locales. While teaching your puppy outdoors (always in a secure, enclosed location), keep him on a long leash at first.

Don’t reach out and grasp your puppy when it comes to you. Some dogs may find this perplexing or scary. If your dog is fearful, kneel and face them sideways while reaching for the collar.


Never command your dog to punish you! This will simply educate them that you are unpredictable and should be avoided. Even if your dog has been up to no good, always lavishly thank them for answering their name!

Train Your Dog to Walk Off-Leash

In competitive obedience training, “heel” refers to the dog walking on your left side, head even with your knee, while holding the leash lightly. Puppy training may be more casual, with the objective of walking respectfully on a loose leash without tugging. Some trainers prefer the phrases “let’s move” or “forward” over “heel.”


Whichever cue you use, be consistent and use the same term every time. It is entirely up to you whether your puppy walks on your left or right side. Nevertheless, be consistent about where you want them to go so they don’t become confused and start zigzagging in front of you.


  1. To begin, ensure that your puppy is comfortable on a leash. At first, this may feel weird, and some pups may bite the leash. Feed your dog goodies every time you put the leash on.
  2. Next, with the leash in a loose loop, stand next to the puppy and give them multiple treats in succession for standing or sitting next to your leg.
  3. Take one step forward and urge them to follow by rewarding them with another goodie when they catch up.
  4. As you go ahead, continue to give your dog treats at the level of your knee or hip.
  5. As they run in front of you, just turn around, call them to you, and reward them in place. Then proceed. Gradually increase the distance between rewards (from every step to every other step, every third step, and so on).
  6. While your dog is on a leash, they will eventually stroll joyfully by your side. Give plenty of time for your dog to sniff and “smell the flowers” during walks. After they’ve had their smelling time, say “Let’s go!” in a pleased voice and praise them for returning to position and walking with you.

          Train Your Dog How to Sit

There are two approaches for teaching your dog to sit.


The first approach is known as “capture.”

  1. Hold some of your puppy’s dog food or treats in front of him.
  2. Wait for them to take a seat. Then answer “yes” and offer them something to eat.
  3. Then, taking a step back or sideways to urge them to stand, wait for them to sit.
  4. As soon as they sit, give them another goodie.
  5. After a few repetitions, you may start saying “sit” as they sit down.

The next option is known as “enticing.”


  1. Put yourself in front of your dog and hold a treat as a lure.
  2. Place the reward directly in front of the pup’s nose, then gradually raise the food over their head. They will most likely sit while lifting their heads to chew on the reward.
  3. Let them consume the reward while their bottoms are in contact with the ground.
  4. Continue with the food lure one or two times, then remove the food and use just your empty hand, but continue to treat the puppy once they sit.
  5. You may start saying “sit” just before you offer the hand gesture to sit once they comprehend it.

Never force your puppy into a sitting posture; it might be confusing or distressing to some pups.


Train Your Dog to Sit

“Down” is taught in the same way as “sit.”

  1. You may wait for your dog to fall asleep (beginning in a boring, small room such as a bathroom can help).
  2. Catch the behavior by rewarding your dog when they lay down with a treat.
  3. Give them the release signal to stand back up (and if necessary, encourage them with a lure), and then wait for them to lay down again.
  4. When they lie down quickly after standing up, you may start shouting “down” soon before they do.

You may also entice a down from a sit or stand position.

  1. Bring a goodie to the dog’s nose and slowly bring it to the floor.
  2. To begin, give the reward when the dog’s elbows contact the floor.
  3. After a few practice sessions, start bringing your empty hand to the floor and giving the gift once they have fallen asleep.
  4. Begin saying “down” while you move your hand when they can dependably follow your hand signal.

Just like with sitting, never use force to get your dog to lay down.

Train Your Dog to Remain

A puppy that understands the “stay” command will remain seated until you tell them to get up with another signal known as the “release word.” Remaining still is a long-term habit. The idea is to teach your dog to sit until the release signal is delivered, then gradually increase the distance.


  1. To begin, teach the release word. Pick a word to use, such as “OK” or “free.”
  2. Stand in a sit or a stand with your puppy, put a treat on the floor, and give your command as they walk forward to retrieve the reward.
  3. Repeat a few times until you can speak the word first and then throw the reward once they start moving. This teaches the dog that the release signal indicates that you should move your feet.
  4. Put your dog in a sit, turn and face them, and give them a reward when they know the release signal and how to sit on cue.
  5. Give them another reward for remaining in a sit, then let them go.
  6. Increase the time between rewards gradually (it might help to sing the ABCs in your mind and work your way up the alphabet).
  7. It’s OK if your dog gets up before the release cue! That just implies they aren’t ready to sit for so long, so you may make it easier by reducing the duration.
  8. You may start extending the distance if your dog can sit for several seconds.
  9. Put them in a sit and say “stay,” then take one step back and return to the pup with a reward and your release word.
  10. Continue to grow in phases, keeping it simple enough for your dog to succeed. Experiment with both facing them and going away with your back to them (which is more realistic).

After your dog is able to remain, progressively increase the distance. This also applies to the “sit.” The more thoroughly they understand it, the longer they can sit. The trick is not to set unrealistic expectations. Since training objectives are attained in increments, you may need to slow down and concentrate on one item at a time. To ensure that the training “sticks,” sessions should be brief and effective.

Puppy Training Basics

Make training sessions brief and enjoyable. Finish each session on a high note. If you believe your dog is having difficulty learning or is “stubborn,” consider slowing down your training and increasing the value of your incentives. Do you need to slow down and make the stages simpler, or does your dog need a larger reward for a more difficult exercise?


The “Basic 5” signals will provide a solid basis for your puppy’s future training. And just think, if you and your dog keep working hard—and having fun—at training, you may one day be obedience champions!


If you’re having trouble with any of these tricks, you can always contact the AKC GoodDog! Hotline, which provides live phone support and video consultations to assist you in working through any issues.


Do you need assistance with your lovely new puppy? Without professional assistance, training your dog might be difficult. That is why we are here to assist you electronically, through the AKC GoodDog! Helpline. This live phone service links you with a professional trainer who will provide you with limitless, personalized assistance on anything from housetraining to behavioral difficulties.

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