Training a puppy yourself – basic principles

March 27, 2023
Dog Training
Training a puppy yourself - basic principles

In the first year of life, the dog will have to learn a lot of wisdom: to learn how to communicate with humans, other dogs and animals. At this time, you can start training the puppy yourself. With desire, perseverance and regular training, your pet will learn the basic commands very soon.

Positive reinforcement

Before starting self-training a puppy at home, it is important to get acquainted with the basics of dog pedagogy. The system of positive reinforcement is recognized as the most humane and promising practice in working with a dog. This method does not require the trainer's special talent, tone, or instruments. Even a child can handle such activities with a dog.


The essence of positive reinforcement is simple: the owner encourages the desired behavior and ignores the undesirable. Puppy training is conducted from simple to complex, both from command to command, and during the learning of a single exercise. For example, for the “Place” command, a calm placement on a couch is first fixed and only then a shutter speed.

Why Dominance Theory Doesn't Work

Often among owners and dog handlers you can meet fans of the theory of dominance. In many ways, the spread was facilitated by Caesar Millan's Dog Translator show, where the host uses a system of punishments, choke collars and electric shock collars to deal with a dog.

The theory of dominance appeared in the 70s of the XX century based on the research of David Meach. The scientist studied the behavior of wolves and coined the term “alpha wolf”. Far from the scientific world, readers transferred the research materials to everyday life. Dominance theorists argue that the family is the model of the dog food storage container and if the dog is not "dominated" it will take on the role of alpha.

  • Researchers observed wolves living in captivity. Often in the same territory there were unfamiliar animals that did not form a family. Naturally, they began to compete for resources.
  • In the wild, wolves form families where older animals teach the youngsters the basics of hunting and survival, and then release them into an independent life. Mitch replaced the term "Alpha Wolf" with "Wolf Mother" and "Wolf Father".
  • The theory of dominance is not applicable in relation to the coexistence of man and dog, insofar as in the old and updated form describes the relationship of animals of the same species.

How to work with unwanted behavior

It is useless to scold the dog for poor behavior, because most often the crime and punishment are divided in time: the pillow is torn in the afternoon from boredom, the owner is angry and curses after work. The dog will not connect two events among themselves, but fear and stress from communication with the owner will be tested.


It is useless to swear due to the features of animal thinking. Neither cats nor dogs are characterized by evil intent. For damage to property, eating inedible or aggression is always the reason: boredom, lack of vitamins, fear.

Ignoring and switching attention

If the puppy does something inappropriate, think about the reason. Dogs can scrape furniture, ring a bowl, howl or bark to attract attention. Wait for the lull and gently invite the dog to the game so that it is distracted.

Negative reinforcement

With an undesirable action, you can create negative associations. Typically, ringing objects are used for this, for example, a bunch of old keys. The main thing is that the dog does not see the reason for the ringing. If the dog began to fight with a cat, drop a bunch of keys with a loud ringing. The brawls will scatter in dismay, but will not connect the sound with the owner. Do not use your voice for negative reinforcements.

If you are interested in products on the table, you can offer the puppy something bitter and not tasty. The main thing is to first check whether the spice is possible to the dog. This will help to convince the dog that there is no interesting on the table.

A number of problems cannot be corrected by training, for example, copophagia. Powering other people's experiments is characteristic of dogsch manners are easier to prevent using a leash, a collar and a free muzzle, which allows you to open your mouth and breathe, but limits the ability to choose food from the ground.

The independent training of the puppy from the German shepherd to Chihuahua will never be perfect the first time. So that the dog does not remember the command with imperfect execution, use the “Yes” marker. With the right or close to the ideal of the action, the owner voices the marker and awards the pet. Later, when the command is clearly executed, “yes” is replaced with the command.

Choose promotion methods

To train the puppy independently, in advance, determine the type of encouragement for the dog – food or game. To do this, try to deal with

We form a sequence of commands

It doesn't matter if you train your puppy on your own or with a dog handler – follow the sequence of commands, move from simple to complex and train your dog regularly. Then success is guaranteed.

You can start training a puppy from three months. At this time, babies are taken away from their mother, they have completely switched to food or a meat mix, and are actively interested in the outside world.

Do not overwork the puppy and do not force him to study through force: training should be associated with pleasure and communication.

Training a puppy yourself - basic principles Learning More Complex Commands

Training a puppy yourself – basic principles

Train your dog to make regular eye contact with you. Reward your puppy with a treat every time he looks at you. Fix the correct execution with a marker "Yes". At this stage, do not strive for the puppy to run up to you, it is enough to praise even for a look.

  • Choose a one-syllable or two-syllable name. The nickname should be easy to pronounce – during classes or a walk you will have to repeat it many times.
  • Choose a name with hard sounds, hissing and whistling consonants.
  • Discard names that are consonant with the names of other family members or popular words. The name "Kate" is similar to pronouns with a preposition: "I'm going for a walk", for example.
  • Don't overuse the name. If the dog does not respond, always stop calling. Do not create a situation where the dog can ignore your command.

Wait until the pet pays attention to you and say the dog's name. Complete the command with an inviting gesture: open your arms, wanting to caress the puppy or start moving away from the dog to follow you. Praise when the puppy approaches you and give a treat. Repeat the exercise regularly before starting to learn new commands.

Make it more difficult: increase the distance between you and the puppy, call the dog from another room. When the puppy confidently responds to the nickname, add the command “Come”.

Puppies easily challenge the “sit” command because it is already in their behavior. Call the puppy and wait for time – often the dog sits next to the owner in anticipation of the continuation of the lesson. Sound the “Yes” marker and give a treat. Change the distance between you and the dog and the environment. As soon as the dog confidently sits beside you after the call, change the marker to the command “Sit! ”.


Try not to use the pointing method when working out commands. In the lessons of self-training a puppy, you can find recommendations for putting treats on the dog’s head so that it sits down. This method switches the dog's attention from the owner to food and has a bad effect on strengthening the bond with the pet. Let the dog think about what behavior you expect from him and encourage him to be smart, not automatic.

Call the puppy and give the command "Sit". Sit down, show a treat in the palm of your hand and clench your fist. Hold your fist at or slightly below the dog's muzzle. At first, the pet will try to get the cookies with its mouth and nose – do not react.

As soon as the baby raised his paw, wanting to touch her fist, open your palm, say “Yes” and treat the student. Complicate the task gradually: after several repetitions, wait until the puppy touches his fist with his paw and only then treat the baby.

Share a fist and a treat. Give the dog a clenched fist, and keep the treat in your other hand or in your pocket. As soon as the dog touches the fist, give the treat with the other hand.

Gradually change the position of the hand, opening the fist more and more. When the dog confidently touches the palm of his hand with his paw, enter the command “Shake (Paw)”.

Learning More Complex Commands

Learn new commands and tricks throughout your dog's life. The basic set is aimed at obedience and harmonious life in society, circus tricks – at strengthening the connection with the owner, maintaining physical fitness and developing thinking. Don't forget the true purpose of training: to help your dog maintain emotional balance and focus, and to discharge excess energy in a constructive way.

When learning commands, do not punish the dog and do not use food for guidance. Try to break the task into elements that are natural for the dog: Down and sitting, stretching, resting on the couch, jumping, getting up on your hind legs. Combine elements with each other to reach new heights in classes with a pet.


Samuel Carter author About Author