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Jumpstart your Training:
“Nothing in Life is Free!”


Whether you’ve just adopted a new dog, you’re training a new puppy, or your dog needs a refresher course on manners- Here’s a quick guide to jumpstart your training.


If your dog is in dire need of behavior change, or you are raising a new puppy, I highly recommend using his entire daily portion of dog food (kibble) to train him. Each piece or handful can be used to train him new commands, or refine the basics by adding distractions. What is left over can be stuffed into a food toy (Kong, Buster cube, kibble nibble, Omega Paw treat ball, or Busy Buddy just to name a few) which helps him stay occupied and leave your furniture alone. If your dog chooses not to eat from your hand, don’t feed him from the bowl-- his next opportunity will be the next mealtime.


Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to add structure.


  1. Ask your dog to sit while putting on the leash and/or to go outside. He must remain seated while the leash is clipped and the door is opened. Be patient.

  2. Teach your dog to sit and stay while you set the food bowl down. Release him with “Okay!” when he’s free to eat.

  3. When playing with your dog, start the game by asking your dog to sit- and let the game be his reward. Frequently stop the game, and ask your dog to sit calmly for a moment to restart the game.

  4. When on a walk, stop and wait for him to sit or look to you for permission to sniff the grass.

  5. When greeting a new person or dog, ask your dog to sit calmly for a moment before being released to “say hello”!

  6. If your dog is allowed, Teach your dog to sit politely and look to you before getting on furniture.

  7. If your dog enjoys petting, ask for a calm ‘down’ before petting him.

  8. Teach your dog to “wait” or “Stay” at all doorways, especially exterior doors and gates. This includes your car door. You should be able to step out while your dog stays in.

  9. Ignore all attention-seeking behavior that you find inappropriate- barking, jumping, nipping, etc.

  10. DO pay attention to your dog when he offers polite behavior, like sitting, visibly relaxing, relaxed eye contact, or any other good behavior!


You can certainly use food or treats in the beginning, but all of these activities are things that your dog probably finds rewarding. You should eventually wean away from food, and your dog’s reward will be the activity he has earned. If your dog chooses to jump, bark, grab or do anything else undesirable, say “Nope,” or “Too bad!” and walk away. Try again a short time later. Don’t beg your dog to comply. Your consistency will pay off!

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