5 Tips for Puppy Obedience Training

6 minute read By Peter Corso
Reviewed by: Pawrade Team
December 05, 2022

A man crouches down to shake hands with a seated Great Pyrenees dog.

Obedience training is an important step in teaching your puppy the basics of being a polite and well-behaved pup. It helps to develop trust, respect, and understanding between you and your pet. The first days and weeks of rehoming your puppy are meant to be the most fun! 

Patience is a virtue, and you will need a heart full of it! Puppies are products of their environment. Stay calm and focus on rewarding the behaviors you want! No attention is the best attention when it comes to unwanted puppy behaviors like mouthing, barking, or potty accidents. 

To get started on the right paw, it’s best to teach your puppy what you expect of them behavior-wise. Learn 5 of the best puppy obedience training tips and advice

5 Tips for Obedience Training a Puppy

If you are overwhelmed with thinking about bringing home a new puppy, stick to these 5 simple tips for puppy training to begin moving forward one paw at a time. 

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1. Decide on a Puppy Training Method

The dog training services industry is thriving and is expected to reach over USD 820 million by 2026. These days, there are many different styles of puppy training options to explore. Online resources are available to read, and YouTube also offers instructions and tutorials for dog training. You could also opt for dog training services that professional resources have to offer. The end goal is a well-trained puppy, so choose the puppy training method that works best for your situation.

Professional classes

The dog training industry is thriving, whether you go with big-box stores or independent dog trainers. Pet supply stores like PetSmart, Petco, Camp Bow Wow, and Best Friends Pet Care also offer puppy obedience training classes that allow you to participate with professional guidance. If you are seeking higher-level training, then consider a boot camp where your puppy dog stays with a trainer for 1 to 2 weeks while receiving consistent attention to detail.

Home is where the paw is 

Training a puppy on your own at home can be the best place to start for two reasons: you want to build a bond with your puppy, and you want to be in a comfortable setting where he or she will spend most of his or her time.

Beginning to train your puppy at home also allows your family members to join the fun. The more people that your dog learns to obey, the more confidence it will have! 

2. Stay pawsitive with positive reinforcement 

Positive reinforcement in puppy training has been shown to be the best course of action for training success. It is the cornerstone of healthy behavior modification. The “positive” part is defined as adding something rewarding to the situation; the “reinforcement” part means that you are seeking a higher frequency of the behavior. Using your tone of voice alongside treats, toys, and tickles will communicate which behaviors are desirable.

Animal behavioral science backs up positive reinforcement as a preferred method of puppy obedience training. A 2017 Journal of Veterinary Behavior study found that using aversive dog training methods (e.g., positive punishment and negative reinforcement) can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of dogs. Instead, trainers should rely on positive reinforcement methods and avoid using positive punishment and negative reinforcement as much as possible.

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3. Use physical and visual prompting

Alongside positive reinforcement is the use of physical and visual prompting. For example, when teaching the command “Sit” to a smaller puppy or dog, you can keep your puppy’s attention with a treat in one hand while using your other hand to prompt the hind legs to sit on command by nudging their backside downwards. This is an example of a physical prompt. 

There are also visual prompts that serve as cues. You may have seen someone make a circle with their arm and hand to cue a dog to spin in a circle. These strategies are necessary because dogs rely heavily on body language to communicate. 

4. Keep it up with your pup: Consistency is key

It may seem obvious, but all your time and energy (and money!) may feel like a wasted attempt if you don’t incorporate puppy obedience training into your daily interaction with your puppy. Try these neat ideas and keep track of the improvements that your puppy makes!

First things first

Sometimes you have to treat your dog as, well, a dog! Their wolf ancestors evolved a distinct social structure, so play to those strengths. Naturally, the Alpha dog eats first at mealtime. So next time you are cooking dinner, think about taking your first bite before serving your puppy partner. 

The same goes for walking and leading your puppy. It may seem trivial, but the mere detail of walking through a doorway first and taking charge can go a long way in creating and maintaining yourself as the Alpha. 

Slow and steady wins the race 

Repetition! I repeat – Repetition! Teach your puppy that Sit means Sit, no matter who says it and no matter where you are. Stay means Stay! And of course, Good Boy always means Good Boy. Expecting immediate results will only add frustration, so being methodical and consistent in using the same steady commands will pay off in the end. 

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Favorite treat & toy rotation 

It doesn’t take long to learn your dog’s favorite treat or toy! Your puppy may be willing to do whatever it takes to earn itself a toy or treat. Use this to your advantage and find a way to keep the motivation going with the best toys for puppies, and choose high-value treats like small pieces of cheese or cold cuts. A little goes a long way with a food-motivated pup! Rotating your doggy’s preferred toys in and out of a limited selection of puppy toys with unique designs is a well-kept secret for novelty rewards.

5. Say 1-word puppy training commands

Many people forget that dogs cannot process full sentences. Stick to using 1-word commands and make sure these words are frequently used by everyone involved in the training process. 

For example, even though we know “wait” and “stay” mean the same thing, it will take longer and more effort to teach your puppy the similarity. Instead, focus on the 5 main basic commands for puppies to learn: Sit, Stay, Come, Give, and Heel. Also, simply use the word “No” with a stern tone to convey disapproval. 

You should not expect your puppy or dog to understand phrases like “get over here” or “give it to me!” And you should not expect your puppy or dog to understand “don’t do that” and “stop it now.” 

You’re All Set for Successful Puppy Obedience Training

Deciding on a puppy training method, employing positive reinforcement, using physical and visual prompts, practicing being consistent, and using 1-word training commands are 5 simple tips to get you started on an effective training program for your puppy. 

And remember – never, ever use physical aggression and punishment to correct your puppy. You have to use patience as you’ve never experienced before to maintain a safe, positive puppy training environment. All your hard work will pay off in the end when you have a well-trained puppy out in public and around friends and family. 

Train a Puppy from Pawrade

We work with a network of honest and reputable breeders where puppies are raised with love and compassion. Our Pawrade breeders are pre-screened and hand-picked to ensure their puppies are raised with tender loving care, socialization, exercise, comfort and affection, and proper veterinarian care. Look through our puppies for sale to find the best one to train and socialize! You’ll have a well-trained four-legged best friend in no time. 


Peter Corso profile picture

Peter Corso

I have worked with Pawrade for 3 years helping families find their perfect furbaby. I have dedicated myself from start to finish, assisting people in finding and adopting their puppy and even delivering the puppy to their door! Check out our videos, blogs, and social media content to see my heart pour out!

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