If you didn’t know, my fellow Zillennial writer Sabrina and I adopted sibling goldendoodle puppies. While they’ve been a handful, we’ve each loved welcoming them into our homes. Since adopting my puppy, Rosie, I have not only learned from the endless internet searching that you might be likely pursuing presently, but I’ve also learned so much from just interacting with my doggo. That being said, your puppy isn’t going to be exactly the same as mine. So, some of these tricks might be harder for your dog to learn, but this article is a list of the first commands I’ve taught Rosie (as well as a few we’re still working on). These by no means will be the full set of commands Rosie will have when she’s fully grown (and maybe there are a few more things she knows that I don’t give her credit for) BUT I think this list is a great jumping-off point for any new puppy owners lost on what to do with your dog, well, past sit. So, read on for my puppy trick list!
Okay, yes. I said beyond sit, but if you aren’t working on sit with your dog, then you might want to start. No matter how young, your puppy can start working on sit because it’s a big jumping off point for more tricks and commands. I like to use positive reinforcement when teaching Rosie a new command. So, training treats might be your best friend. They definitely have been both mine and Rosie’s. I think it’s also important to remember to reward progress when your puppy is still learning a new trick like sit. So, maybe at first, your dog just squats a bit, or they sit for a second and then they pop back up. So what if they didn’t listen ALL the way? They’re still learning! Working up to it is a great way to get your puppy sitting in no time (remember, slow and steady wins the race).
Unless you have the perfect angel puppy crated by the angels themselves, your dog is likely to make noise when you don’t want them to at some point. Maybe you’re leaving to go to work or the grocery store and they’re barking their head off, maybe you’re trying to sleep and they’re barking at every noise out the window, perhaps they’re barking at passersbys while on a walk. Whatever the circumstances, “quiet” can be a great command. It’s definitely something that Rosie and I are working on, but I’ve found that a quick muzzle grab or scruff will make her quiet quickly, so I’ll pair that motion with saying “quiet” sternly. Alternatively, I also think it’s important to reward your puppy when they are being quiet. So, if you’re kennel training your dog and they’re being quiet (especially if compared to usual), you can reward them with a treat. I like to say “good quiet” in a happy voice to Rosie when I do this. Over time, your dog will hopefully recognize the word and what it means, understanding the command.
Once your puppy knows their name, you can more easily start to call them. Instead of just getting their attention by saying their name, you can start to introduce your dog to the word “come.” Basically, when your dog comes to you after saying it, reward them with a treat. It might be easier to pair the word with their name at first, but eventually, they should be able to know what the word means and come to you. It might take a good deal of patience to get this one down though, especially since puppies don’t have the greatest attention span and distractions are about left and right.
Just as helpful as it can be to get your puppy to come to you, it can be really helpful to get them to wait. By commanding your dog to stay sitting in place, you can more easily get things done with and around them. No offense to puppies, but they make getting things done REALLY difficult, especially if it’s just the two of you. So, getting your dog to understand “wait” can really be a life saver. When teaching Rosie “wait,” I like to make sure that I am the one coming back to her to reward her with a treat or toy. If you’re having your dog come to you when trying to teach them to wait, you’re not teaching them to wait, but instead to come. To nail down wait, I think it’s a good idea to work your way up to waiting for longer periods of time. Start with a treat right in front of your puppy, just making them wait a few seconds, then work your way up to getting your dog to wait further away from you and for longer periods of time.
Go ahead goes naturally with wait and come. It’s a command that can be used when you don’t want your dog to join you, but instead you want them to go do something after waiting. For example, “Go ahead” can be used when feeding your dog meals, when going for some off-leash play, when meeting another dog, etc. I think it’s a great way to get your dog in the habit with checking in with you to do important things like that.
I’m not sure how useful this one is, but it sure is cute. Shake is both my favorite trick to see my puppy do and her favorite trick to do for sure. Remembering to reward in increments of progress was how we nailed this trick down with Rosie and she’s a superstar shaker right now. If you want a trick that is sure to impress, go for shake because your puppy might just love it too. Once they get shake down, maybe try to get them to shake with the paw they tend to not shake with (if they aren’t already ambidextrous shakers).
What’s on your puppy trick list? Let us know in the comments!