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Before you start training your puppy, there are a few things that you should know.

Training is important. It helps you bond with your pooch and show her what’s expected of her. It will also help her feel more secure, as she will understand what you want from her.

Training is based on reward and correction. Note the word correction, not punishment. When you correct your puppy’s behavior, you should never be angry or mean or hurt her in any way. Just say “No!” firmly.You can reward your puppy with something she likes. Most people use small bits of food, but you can also let her play with a favorite toy. You can even teach her to respond to praise, by giving her a treat while saying “Good girl” or “Good dog” in an upbeat voice. That way she’ll learn that praise is a good thing and in the future, you can just say the words without using the treat.

Simple training can begin at 8 weeks. You can teach your puppy things like how to wear a collar and how to respond to praise. When she reaches 12 to 16 weeks, you can teach her basic commands.

Training sessions shouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes at first, and they should always end on a positive note. If your puppy’s having trouble with a command, go back to something she does know, and reward her when she completes the task.

Don’t forget to have fun with this. Some aspects training can be very like playing—for both you and your dog.

Ready to get started?

Here are tips on teaching the “sit” command.

And learn how important it is for your dog to know how to come (and how to teach it) here.

Still having trouble? The AKC offers one-on-one guidance through its GoodDog! Helpline. 

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