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Commands I Don't Use in a Puppy Training Program


There are three commands I don't recommend for training puppies. These are no, stop, and off. All of these commands are unnecessary in a puppy training program, which is why I don't include them in my puppy training program. The commands that I include in my program are sit down, stay, come, leave it, drop it, and bed. 

When training a puppy, it's essential to focus on what you want the puppy to do, not what you want it to stop doing. Here's an example: Instead of telling your puppy to get off the furniture by using the command “off,” teach it to lay on its bed and stay to prevent the impulse of thinking about jumping on the furniture.

If your children are eating on your sofa and you don't want them eating on your furniture, and you say to them, “Don’t eat on the sofa,” you're not telling them where you want them to eat. They could eat on the chair or eat somewhere else that you don't approve. It's easier to say to them, “Please eat at the table”. Then the problem is solved. The child knows exactly what to do. It’s very simple and very straightforward. 

Instead of telling your puppy to “stop” jumping, teach it to sit or lay down and stay. You want four on the floor, meaning four paws on the floor, and they get rewarded for that, so you’re stopping that impulse of jumping before it gets started. This is how you properly train a puppy.

Instead of them jumping and then saying, “Stop, down, off, no,” and calling in their name. When you do that, you're reinforcing the behavior, so you have to be very careful about the timing that you give to puppies when you're training them with commands that are corrections. It's best not to use the corrections, like I explained in the child example, and focus on what you want the puppy to do. Teach them that, reinforce that, and then they won't think about jumping on people or getting up on furniture

Another example is when people use the word no when the puppy pulls on the leash. All you're doing is making them pull more. Focus on them walking calmly next to you on a loose leash. That’s the training. The science of this is to focus on the desired outcome, don’t focus on the problem. 

Words such as off, stop, and no focus on temporarily fixing or stopping the problem; they don't focus on a solution. Dog and puppy training is about solutions to problems, not temporary bandaids. You don't want to give any command over and over again because the puppy isn't doing something that you want. 

It's important to note that every command you give the puppy has to be programmed into its brain, which is its software. So if the puppy doesn't know the words off, stop, and no, it won't do it. You have to program every command.  

For corrections, I prefer to use the command “leave it,” which is a universal command for impulse control. We train this by putting the puppy down, and then we put a little food in front of them about two feet away, and we say, “Leave it,” so they can only get to the food when we release them with the word “okay.” This teaches them patience, frustration tolerance, and impulse control. You can see how the leave-it command can be very useful for a puppy.

Another thing you can do is use sounds. Say the sound “Ah, ah,” to interrupt their thought pattern, and then you have to redirect them to what you want them to do. That's called correcting and redirecting. The critical part is the redirection because they're going to get rewarded for doing something that you want them to do. Puppies are going to do more of what they're rewarded for. 

If you're giving a lot of corrections to your puppy, they're going to get frustrated and eventually check out from everything you say; all you're doing is nagging them to do something better. That's not an excellent way to build trust with your puppy and develop a harmonious living relationship with them. Puppy training is about creating a harmonious, stress-free relationship between you and your puppy so you two can live together without problems in the future. The relationship with your puppy has to be built on trust, respect, leadership, guidance, rules, and boundaries. 

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