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5 Basic Commands to Teach Your Puppy

Puppies can get into a lot of trouble if you don't start with training early in their lives. However, you only need to teach your puppy a few basic puppy commands for them to have stellar behavior. Read on to learn about what you should be teaching your puppy.

1. Down

Puppies love to jump - on furniture and on people. If you don't want your puppy on the couch, you'll need to teach him the down command. While it may be cute for a puppy to jump and lick on people, it won't be so cute once the puppy is an adult. It will be downright annoying. Teach your puppy proper manners with the down command using the following strategy: Grab a treat your puppy loves and hold it in a closed fist. Hold your fist to your puppy's mouth so he can smell the delicious treat. Next, hold your enclosed fit on the ground while saying "down". Slide your hand in front of him to show him what you want him to do. Once he goes down to the floor, give him the treat and repeat.

2. Come

This command really helps keep a puppy out of trouble. Whenever your puppy is doing something he shouldn't, all you have to say is "come" and the behavior will stop. To get to this point, use the following strategy: Put a collar and leash on your puppy. Pull him gently and say come. When he does, give him a treat and some love. Repeat this on the leash until it's second nature and then practice without the leash.

3. Sit

This is an easy command to teach your puppy. Follow this strategy to teach this simple command: Hold a treat close to your puppy's nose. Next, move your hand upwards and say "sit". This will cause your puppy to follow the treat with his head while his bottom naturally goes down to a sitting position. Say "sit" when he sits and give him the treat. Repeat this as many times as you need to for your puppy to master this command.

4. Stay

Now that your puppy can sit on command, you need to teach him to stay. Follow this simple strategy: Command your puppy to sit. Next, hold your palm up in front of you and say "stay". Then, take a step back and repeat. And then a few more step and repeat. If he stays, reward him with love and a treat. If not, start from the beginning. Remember, he doesn't have to stay long for your training to be considered a success. Even just a few seconds of staying deserves a treat.

5. Leave It

This is one of the harder commands to teach your puppy but with practice he will learn it and be safe from getting into things he shouldn't. Follow this strategy: Start with a treat in both hands. Hold out one enclosed fist and say "leave it". If he tries to get the treat anyway, ignore this behavior. Eventually he will give up and you can give him the treat in the other hand. Keep repeating until your puppy has mastered the command by leaving the treat alone in your hand when you say "leave it".

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