At 5 months old it’s a good thing your puppy is as cute as he is. This is an age that can create a lot of chaos both inside and outside the home, and your dog requires as much attention as ever in order to ensure proper development.
Yes, these are indeed difficult and sometimes frustrating times, but if you take all the right training steps, you can help your puppy become a happy, well-trained part of your family. Even if your furry friend resists a little bit at first, it is extremely important to maintain some control and establish a strict training regimen to set your dog up for success.
At this point, your dog probably has a basic understanding of what it means to sit, but he or she may not quite have a handle on how or when to listen to the command. This is not the time to overdo it with training, and constantly yelling “sit” can actually treat your pup to ignore you. Instead, say “sit” one time, firmly and clearly. If he listens, reward him accordingly. Follow the same steps for “lay down,” but again, don’t overdo it.
Don’t place emphasis on negative tones or punishment if he does not listen to you. Remember that your puppy is still growing and figuring out how to navigate this brand-new world of training. If you only get a few sits or lay-downs out of a whole day, you should still consider it a success. Any progress is positive.
Some additional tips for teaching your dog to sit or lay on command include:
• Using a treat or toy to encourage the motion. Wave it over the dog’s head and he will naturally go into the sit position. Move it toward the ground and he should assume the lay position.
• Getting close to the dog and putting him into the position as you say the command.
• Starting your training inside in a quiet place to eliminate external interruptions.
As your puppy starts to pick up on the “sit” command, you should train him or her to sit before you leave the house. This reinforces the idea that your dog should execute a command at your request. It also creates a good habit of being obedient and allows the dog to associate the command with something positive (going outside to play).
Waiting is an essential skill for your dog to learn, whether teaching him to wait for food or to be patient before going outside. Do not jump right into teaching the “wait” command until after your dog has mastered “sit.” This will only confuse him and lead him to believe he is doing something wrong.
When you have a dog as young as 5 months, it is common that they will want to run to the food right as you’re putting it on the ground. This is okay at first, but once the puppy shows the constraint to be able to sit before eating, it is time to start teaching him how to wait.
As he lunges towards the food, pick the bowl back up and say “wait” firmly. In the early stages of training, he will be a little confused, but should eventually pick up on the requirement for patience.
Don’t continually pick the bowl back up if the dog isn’t responding to the command – this sends mixed signals and confuses the dog. Once or twice should be enough, and eventually your dog will remain seated, even with the food on the floor, until you give the command to eat.