Top 3 behaviours to teach a new puppy
I thought I’d share my top three cues, commands, behaviours (or however you wish to describe them!) to a new puppy. Most people start with teaching a ‘sit’, which then becomes the dog’s default behaviour for everything. Whilst this is not wrong, I feel we can teach other behaviours first that are more beneficial.
This is one of the first things I teach in my puppy classes. The place is a mat, blanket or bed that your dog goes to when you say ‘place’. Practicing this early on and in a fun way will mean your dog grows to associate the place with good things and it also becomes the area to go settle. If you use a blanket or mat, you can take this out with you and ask for the settle behaviour at somewhere like a café or friends house.
It is also really useful for stopping counter surfing. Your dog will learn no titbits will be given in the food prep area or at the dining table, but if they settle in their place you’ll reward them there.
When our dogs jump up at visitor we often ask for a sit or a down, which usually goes ignored. The visitor or owner pushing the dog away or talking to them, often increases the excitement and thus the jumping up. Asking your dog to go to place, takes them away from the source of excitement and they will be much calmer. You can reward them in the place and your visitor can go and greet if they wish.
2: Hand Touch
Dogs who are not hand shy really love to perform a hand touch. This is the behaviour where your dog touches your palm with their nose.
I like to use it as an alternative during recall. When the external environment is appealing, our pups often ignore their name or the usual ‘Come’. Sometime asking for an alternative behaviour that the dog enjoys performing can entice them to run back to you.
This behaviour looks cool and has many advantages.
Your dog sits between your legs facing away from you.
This area becomes a safe area your pup can retreat too if the environment becomes overwhelming. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable off lead dogs will approach our pups whilst they are out. This can often lead to our pups getting worried and trying to run away.
Asking our pups to sit between our legs, means we are more in control of the situation. We can throw treats away from us to move the other dog in a different direction. Or we can easily pick them up if it is a dangerous situation.
Do your pups know these behaviours? What are your favourite behaviours to teach?