10 Things You Should Teach Your Puppy Before He Is One Year Old
Have you ever come across a dog at the dog park, or have you had to take care of a dog by a friend and discovered that they have absolutely no doggy treatment? That is because they have not been properly trained. Here are the 10 things you MUST teach your puppy before he turns one, so you can have the best dog on the street!
Okay, we’ll start with the basics …
Training bath. We all know that it is important to teach your puppy where to go to the bathroom, but it is just as important to teach him to let you know WHEN he needs to go to the bathroom. You may think that it is easier to teach the puppy to go at pre-set times (after meals and just before bed), and this is true. However, there may be times in your dog’s life (like when he’s not feeling well) when he just needs an extra pit stop.
It is a great idea to teach your dog to let you know when he needs to go outside. Or you can teach your dog to answer your “does he need to pee?” Question. No, seriously: if you ask this question every time they go out to do their thing, they will eventually associate that phrase with going to the bathroom. So when you ask the question, they will either be disinterested or jump in ready to go. Trust me, this comes in handy later in your dog’s life.
Sit down stay let yourself fall. It seems to me that I shouldn’t have to mention this, but I’m amazed at how many dogs don’t sit when commanded! The sooner you teach your puppy, the better. The fall can be particularly difficult for puppies, but it is worth persevering. The Drop command is quite a submissive action for a dog, and it can be very useful when there are small children around, putting the dog underneath them in terms of height.
Walk on and off the leash with you. Going for a walk should be fun, but not out of control. Teach your puppy from a young age to stay still while you put on the leash (and the collar if you don’t wear one indoors). When walking, your dog should walk beside you, not in front, and not wander all over the place sniffing and urinating. Your dog may have some “free time” (see later in this article), but most of the walk should be by your side and quiet.
It is also a good idea to teach your dog to walk alongside you without a leash (once he has mastered the leash, of course). It is best to start this in your own fenced yard before going outside. And always lead with you as a backup. However, this is very useful if your dog somehow gets out or loosens the leash when outdoors. You should be able to call them and then put them on a leash or walk them home without one.
Get and release. Throwing a ball or frisbee and getting it back is a great game for a puppy. It’s great exercise, it’s fun, and they’re with you! However, it is just as important to teach your puppy to drop the ball or frisbee when he returns to you. Actually, it’s more important: they must recognize that you are in charge of the game and that they always return the ball to you.
DO NOT fight the dog for the ball or the Frisbee, and do not allow it to “play growl.” Tug is a separate game played with a tow toy. In Fetch they always have to give you the ball back. If they don’t, stop playing.
Puppy tag. When your puppy meets another dog or cat, he needs to know the proper etiquette to introduce himself. Puppies generally learn this from their littermates, but I have seen many cases where obviously puppies were removed from their litter too early and have no idea how to behave around other animals.
You will know if your puppy has a problem by how he behaves when guests arrive. A well-behaved puppy will approach visitors and want a touch or attention, but will not demand it. Misbehaving puppies demand attention by poking their noses at people or jumping. If your puppy does any of these, he probably won’t be too good around new animals, either. And that could spell trouble at the dog park! Nip it in the bud now.
Do not jump. Continuing with our point on etiquette, you may think it’s cute now that your pup jumps onto your legs to get attention or tries to jump onto your lap. But wait until he’s a fully grown dog, or when he’s tested on a frail older person and knocked down. Don’t jump on people, ever.
Sharing food and toys. This is a very important lesson to teach if you have, or plan to have, other animals or children in the home. Some dogs can be very possessive, especially with their food and / or toys. Puppies should be taught from a young age that nothing is just theirs, not their food or their toys. You should start this training when they are young. Remove the toy or food from the dog and give it to your child to return. This teaches the dog that things come back, they won’t necessarily lose them forever.
If you have another animal, especially another dog, make sure both (or all) of the dogs play with all of the toys. No toy belongs to any dog.
Go to your bed. Your dog needs a “safe” area, a place where he can go to rest, sleep, or eat. This can be your bed, a rug, or even your box. Teach them from an early age to go there when ordered. This way, if the puppy misbehaves, you can send it off for a while with this command.
“Free time. Well, I mentioned this when we talked about leash walking. It is important for your dog to have some free time to run, play, goof around, smell things, and urinate things. Teaching your dog early by using the word “free” out loud and happy will train your dog so that he can now be himself! This is a great command to use at the dog park. You also need to have a word of “off” so they will come back to you when it’s time to go home or come back on the leash. Either calling by name, or “come”, or whatever word you use.
Who is in charge. If you’ve been able to teach your puppy all of the above behaviors, you’ve also taught your dog who’s in charge – you!
If you teach your puppy to be a well-behaved, well-mannered puppy, you will have a dog that you will be proud of later in life.