Your Puppy's First Year: Training By the Numbers

13 to 16 Weeks

Teach him not to bite. Bite inhibition training can start when your puppy first comes home but is especially important during this time frame when the puppy shows more rambunctious play. Teaching bite inhibition in puppyhood is believed to be associated with less severe injury should a bite ever occur.

Teach him to target. In addition to teaching your puppy verbal commands, teach him to follow a target. You can use targeting to move your dog on and off furniture, to get him in and out of the car and even to politely greet new people.

Teach him to drop it. Your puppy will pick up all sorts of things in his first year. Teaching your dog to let go of items in his mouth is very handy when he picks up something he shouldn’t have, whether it be a child’s toy or a chicken bone.

Teach him to like the bath. Teach your dog that baths and being groomed are not life-threatening events but can mean rewards during and after, which will mean less of a struggle to keep him in the bath or close by while being groomed.

16 Weeks to 1 Year

Teach him to lie down. Training your pet to lie down on a specific area, such as a mat, can help him relax. It is also helpful for getting him to greet politely at the door, not bark at the doorbell and not beg at the table.

Teach him to stay. Stay is a foundation behavior for helping your dog remain in place when needed. It can be an important safety precaution and also teaches a dog to exhibit impulse control.

Teach him to leave it. You've taught your puppy to drop it, but now go further and teach him not to pick things up in the first place. The leave it command teaches a dog to walk away from potentially dangerous items, whether it be a pill that’s accidentally dropped or a half-eaten candy bar on the sidewalk.


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!