What Should I Teach My Puppy First?

by Joseph K. Clark

A new puppy can be a handful for many reasons. Once you have all of its basic needs met, it will most likely need to be trained as soon as possible, especially if it is an indoor pet. Teaching your housepet how to behave is good not only for your peace of mind while you aren’t home but also for the dog’s happiness and wellbeing in general; a happy and cooperative dog can lift the spirits of everyone in the household. Here are a few tricks to teach your puppy to help start your relationship off on the right paw.

The Puppy’s Name

Teaching your dog its name can come in handy when training it to do other things, so that is what you should start with if you can. Puppies can have very short attention spans, but teaching a dog a name is relatively simple: reward your dog when he comes to you after you call him! Many dogs will learn their name through regular interaction with people, which is often sufficient for most people, but if you want to go a step further and teach your puppy to focus and follow without a leash, you may need to practice in a quiet room first. Whatever dog you get, outlining a daily training schedule for your puppy will go a long way toward training a disciplined dog.



Housetraining your dog will also be important, especially if you plan on keeping your dog inside. Consistency is critical—it is worth reiterating that you should reward good behavior as often as possible. Housetraining will usually take between four and six months, sometimes up to a year, and you should ideally start housetraining your puppy when they’re about 12 to 16 weeks old. It is not unusual for a dog to need longer than that to properly adjust to living in a house, especially if you start training them more aged than 16 weeks old. If you are having trouble with housetraining, as many do, your best bet is still to be a firm yet loving pet owner.


Teaching your dog to sit can be extremely helpful, especially if your particular dog is rather excitable. There are a few ways to teach your dog how to sit, and most of them involve treats. You will need to decide on one or two cues that you can use to tell your dog to sit, like a hand motion or just telling them to sit. This one is a bit harder because sitting isn’t always something a dog will want to do. Still, once you get a dog constantly sitting on the command, you will be more likely to get your dog back under your control if something goes wrong or if you just want them to stay still for a while, so they don’t bother other people or get hurt. Pet insurance can be beneficial if you need to treat an injured or sick pet, but you will have a happier pup in the long run if they don’t get hurt in the first place. That being said, don’t skimp on medical insurance for your dog. After all, your puppy is a family member, and you want them to have comprehensive coverage so that any necessary vet visits and exam fees are covered.

These are just a few tricks your pet should know, and if you think it would be helpful to train your dog further, feel free to do so. Remember that not every dog breed is just as suited toward learning a lot of tricks as every other, and this isn’t your dog’s fault. Some dogs are bred to herd sheep, while others are more suited toward simply being lapdogs. Whatever personality your puppy has, a well-trained dog will bring its unique charm into your home.

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