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Is Your Dog Smarter Than a Puppy Kindergartner?

Does your dog know more than a 3-month old puppy kindergartner?

Of course she does, but I thought it would be fun to share what my puppy Remy is working on in Week 1 of puppy classes.

I know some of you also have new dogs or puppies and whether or not you take your pup to training classes (I recommend it!), these are some things you can work on at home with a dog of any age.

Puppy Classes Week 1

Is your dog smarter than a puppy


Here are four things we’re working on this week.

1. “Watch Me.”

This simply means to make eye contact. A dog looking at you can pay attention.

I shortened the command to “watch.” So it’s, “Remy, watch.” You hold a treat right up to your face and the moment your pup makes eye contact, you give the treat. Practice 10 times in a row each day. Very simple and works well.

“Remy, watch.” Treat. “Remy, watch.” Treat.

Do your dogs know this one?

2. Coming when called – back to basics.

Anyone have a dog who ignores you when you call him?

Going back to the basics is a good idea for reinforcing “come!” because it’s probably the most important command to teach a dog.

With the puppies, we held a treat right up to their noses, ran backwards and THEN called them once they were already driven to follow us.

So it’s:

  • get their attention
  • run back
  • call the puppy
  • reward!

Come = fun & treats!

Other tip: Play “puppy in the middle” calling the puppy back and forth between two people.

3. A new situation each week.

For our puppy homework, our class is encouraged to have our puppies walk on a new surface every week. This could be things like sand, snow, pavement, rocks, shiny floors, concrete, leaves, whatever.

Sometimes new surfaces can seem scary or at least surprising for puppies so it’s good to expose them early on. See Puppy In Training’s post on this here.

Remy the weimaraner puppy

For those of you with older dogs, it’s still a good challenge to try to introduce them to something different or new each week in general. This is fun for the dogs but also continues their ongoing socialization and experiences.

For example, visiting different dog friendly stores or cafes, walking in a different neighborhood or standing on a random “obstacle” like a picnic table during a walk. Remy walked on a new walking path last week (pictured above).

4. Selecting a consistent release word.

A release word is the word that signals to your dog the training exercise is over. So if he’s sitting, he should sit until you say “OK!” or “Free!” or whatever word you choose.

I have always used “OK!” with my older dog Ace. Some advise against OK because it’s used so often in normal conversations and could potentially confuse the dog. This has never been a problem for me and I’ve chosen “OK” as Remy’s release word too.

You may or may not want to use the same release word for multiple dogs. It’s not a problem for my two, with Ace being so much older. Update: I ended up changing Remy’s release word to “break!” because “OK” is too common of a word in conversation and he was taking advantage of that! Haha.

The other basics we worked on this week were saying our puppy’s names for treats and luring them into a sit, but I figure most of your dogs have that down!

OK, so how is your dog doing on the above?

Which one could she use some work on? Remy needs lots of work on “come!”

Does your dog know more than a puppy kindergartner?

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