Puppy teething, chewing, training & basic commands

An obedient, well-behaved pup.

Who wouldn’t want one? It makes everyone’s lives so much easier and more enjoyable!

But, as with most things, starting early is crucial, instilling good behaviour and temperament in your furry friend.

As well as introducing teething and chewing, in this blog, we’ve listed our top training tips, commands and techniques to ensure that you have a good boy (or girl!) for life!

Teething — what is it?

A couple of weeks after being born, our puppies quickly develop a set of razor-sharp baby teeth. As you may know, our little fluff balls use their mouths to experience the world around them — biting, chewing and nipping their way to greater knowledge.

After a few months, these baby teeth will fall out — a process known as teething. This can be a very intense and painful period for your young dog, characterised by sore gums.

To prevent your old reliable pair of slippers becoming a new toy, provide your puppy with some safe chewable rubber toys. Many popular teething toys can be placed in the freezer, or are even edible; gnawing on these can help your puppy to ease the pain associated with teething.

Teething usually ends at the six-month mark, when your puppy will develop its adult teeth. As well as finding them on the floor, your puppy will actually swallow most of its baby teeth, so don’t be alarmed by this.

Training tips for your puppy

So, onto training. When planning your sessions, remember… 

  • Little but often Like children, young puppies tend not to have the best concentration levels. Keeping things short and sweet — perhaps with several five-minute sessions per day — will allow for maximum benefit.
  • Keep things simple at first — Minimise distractions in the surrounding environment when you begin your training. Over time, incorporate additional things when the commands are successfully learned.
  • Arm yourself with treats — It’s no secret that the best training is that which is positive and reward-based. So, ensure the cuddles, toys and doggy treats are plentiful!
  • Be patient — If they’re not quite getting it the first time, don’t worry. Just don’t show your frustration. Punishing your dog is counterproductive and will only lead them to become scared of you, creating negative associations with training and your voice.
  • End on a high — Help your pooch to associate training with success, fun and love by ending each mini-session with a simple command which you know that they can do — and reward them accordingly.

Below, we’ve picked out four of the easiest, most useful commands when you’re training a new puppy. Different techniques work for different dogs, but here’s popular training tips to get you started.

Many owners find that investing in a clicker helps with training. To get your puppy used to it, start by holding a treat in your hand. When the puppy takes it, use the clicker. Eventually, they will associate the click with a reward.

This is your way to let your pooch know they’re doing something that you’re looking for, and is a form of positive reinforcement in the obedience training process.

Sit

It’s probably one of the first, most basic commands that all pup owners want and need in their arsenal. Fortunately, it’s pretty simple to teach!

To get started, hold a treat in your hand near your puppy’s nose, and slowly raise your hand over their head. Eventually, as their head rises up, their bottom will touch the floor, as if they are sitting. When this happens, reward them with a treat, a cuddle and plenty of praise.

Repeat this until it becomes faster and more natural, eventually incorporating the word ‘sit’ during their performance of the movement, whilst rewarding them. 

Soon, begin to phase out the reward process, introducing more distractions.

Down 

Another useful command is one which trains your dog to lie down on cue — not to be confused with ‘off’, for use when you want them down from a sofa or table!

Similar to the ‘sit’ command training, hold a treat in your hand. Make sure a little part of it is poking out and show it to your dog. They want the treat, right?

Now, place your palm on the floor with the treat fully covered. Your pup won’t stop trying to get underneath your hand. Once they’re lying prone, reveal the treat and give them plenty of praise.

Continue with this method, introducing the verbal cue ‘down’ when they’re performing the right action. As before, eventually withdraw the treat.

Stay

For excitable young puppies, getting them to stay still for any period of time can be a challenge — but persistence is key!

Use the word ‘stay’ in a steady, firm tone of voice, gesturing for them to stay still with a flat palm facing your dog. 

After a few seconds, reward your dog with a treat and some praise. Over time, increase the length of the pause. Eventually, incorporate the sit and down positions

Come

Recalling your dog is a fantastically useful command. Start by using their name followed by the word ‘come’.

Once they come bounding over and are in your embrace, reward them in the usual way — cuddles, praise and a treat.

Then, gradually increase the distance. Once they’re able to recalled on command, move into another room of the house and get them used to responding to your voice.

Eventually, move things into the garden and introduce extra distractions. If they’re not coming towards you, don’t chase after them — they’ll see this as part of the game. Instead, remain where you are.

This way, your puppy won’t be so keen on losing sight of you when they’re outside.

Training your pup: patience, praise and treats

There are many other commands you’ll want to eventually teach your dog — heel, wait, drop it and so on. By getting these basic ones down, you’ll be on the right track in no time!

Remember, your dog’s training is truly a journey — so expect frustrations and setbacks — but keep positive throughout. To keep your puppy’s training adventure fun and rewarding, make sure to discover the scrumptious Harringtons selection of doggy treats.

The best of luck!