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Mandi's Blog

Puppy Raising, Preparation, Training, and More!
  • Writer's pictureAmanda Venturino

5 Things I Taught my Puppy Before 'Sit'

Updated: May 10

'Sit' is often considered the quintessential first command to teach your puppy. However, the initial focus should be on nurturing the bond between you and your pup. Utilizing techniques like free-shaping encourages mental stimulation in your puppy as they eagerly engage to earn rewards and decipher what you want from them. Purchasing your puppy from an ethical breeder has already given you an advantage in this process. We have laid the groundwork for clicker training and free-shaping exercises which will make the transition to verbal commands seamless--when the time is right.

Actually, your puppy already knows how to sit because we taught them to mand: sitting with offered eye contact. The verbal command is not needed. Continuing to encourage this unspoken response will motivate your puppy to naturally respond in this way for other situations: cross walks, waiting for a meal, greeting guests on leash, and more. Anytime you give them a quiet look and hold their eye contact, they will naturally sit.

We find that puppies learn best by doing actions on their own as opposed to forcing your puppy to do it. When we step in and force our puppies to do something, it doesn't easily cement in their minds. Think of a few actions you may be doing for your puppy what he should be doing for himself: placing them in their crate at bed time, carrying them up or down the stairs, carrying them to a specific place or bed, holding them (or their collar) when greeting new people. I encourage you to rethink these strategies: use treats and free-shaping to instead lure your puppy into his crate or down the steps. Make puppy learn by getting him to sit before meeting new people. Use the leash and make him walk. Your puppy builds confidence when he succeeds, and you get to be proud of him. Your excitement makes him excited and strengthens your bond! Have patience. Give yourself the time to allow him to succeed.

Review the 5 things below, that I taught Beck how to do before teaching her the word 'sit'.

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