What to Teach Your Puppy First

What to Teach Your Puppy First

Written by: Kailly Muthard, CPDT-KA

You got a new puppy! How exciting! Did you know that training can start immediately? Because every interaction is training. What we reinforce with our pups will continue. So, what should you focus on reinforcing first?

Name recognition:

Your puppy has a new name, so it’s essential to help them learn that name. Start by saying their name and giving them a treat at the same time. Say their name in different tones and inflections so that they learn to always respond, even if it’s not the happiest tone!


Teaching your dog to sit on cue is helpful for a variety of reasons. It is an incompatible behavior for jumping and counter surfing. It can also help to build impulse control. Start by marking and rewarding your dog for having four paws on the floor. Once they get good at that, wait for them to offer a sit. Mark and reward with lots of praise and cookies!

To Follow You:

I don’t mean to say that you need to reward them for following you constantly, but this can help you when you are ready to teach leash walking and recalls. Call your dog and take a few steps away from them. When they follow you, mark and reward. Repeat as often as you see fit, making sure to do this in different rooms of your house and outside.

There are lots of behaviors your new puppy needs to learn, and they will in time. Start with behaviors that are easy for you and your family to reinforce often. When you’re ready, call us to help you with our Puppy Kindergarten Program!


Kailly Muthard, CPDT-KA

Educanine Training Services