The First Thing Spot Should Learn ~

The first concern most people have when taking home a new puppy is: Housebreaking! While this is an important issue, when it comes to commands, the very first one you should teach your dog is one word: NO!

Said in a deep, firm (but not loud) tone, this word needs to stop little Spot in his tracks, no matter what he is doing. Teaching him this will keep him out of all kinds of trouble, whether it be jumping on people, running into the street, or eating something that will cause him harm.

The easiest way to accomplish this is either use a very short leash (or cut an old one) so that it is only 3 ft. long. If you are cutting an old leash, keep in mind that a small puppy cannot drag around a leash that has a huge clip on it because it was used for a larger dog. Put this on the dog’s collar ONLY when you’re at home and have supervision of little Spot. This is very important, because a puppy can get tangled and end up strangling himself on the leash. Despite this one issue, Blog on Dogs feels the extra effort you give to supervising Spot pays off in keeping him out of many other dangerous situations.

(A side note – if you think your dog is being more or less dragged by his neck when you use the leash, consider getting a harness for him. They are inexpensive and make control a lot easier.)

When little Spot starts to do something he shouldn’t, such as starting across the room towards a shoe he likes to chew on, say in a sharp, deep (but again, not loud) tone, “No!” Second, simply step on the leash and make him stay right where he is. (Yes, he will get a little unexpected jerk.)

Be sure and hesitate a second, to see if he stops the bad behavior on his own. Some dogs are very quick learners and will learn this behavior right away. Others take a little longer. Some may need a refresher course if they aren’t exposed to the problem situation for some time and then are reintroduced to it, which may be the case if you seldom have company and have a dog who tends to jump on people. Blog on Dogs knows a sweet dog who forgets and sometimes jumps on our infrequent visitors. All we have to do is pick up the aforementioned leash and waa-lah!! she stays excited but does not jump.

Good luck with this exercise – We hope it keep your dog safe from harm!


September 22, 2006. Training Methods.


  1. Ginsprich replied:

    Good advice. I always thought or heard somewhere that when you speak to a dog you should use a baby voice, a calming voice. I don’t mean when you tell him “no,” but otherwise, when you simply want him to respond to you. This, to me, suggests that dogs can detect tone. My dog, Rocco, will cock his head to the right when he’s listening, like he is trying really hard to understand me, but he only does this if I use a softer, gentler voice. He seems like a good listener.

  2. scooper replied:

    This is great information. If I ever gave in to my children’s plees for a pet this info would be invaluable. I love the easy to read format and look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  3. hlenaere replied:

    I just finally found your content here under the archives. I think you should change your format to have your most recent post on the homepage.

    That said I enjoyoed reading your tips on teaching a puppy the NO command. I am not a very good trainer and hence have very badly behaved dogs. I need to take some of your advice and get to work! Thanks for the tips!

  4. Marilyn J. replied:

    Nice blog. I am using it to make dog owners aware of a problem that I see often. You may think it looks cute to allow your dog to put its head out of a car window as you are driving. I read somewhere that the wind rushing into its ears may cause frequent ear infections. Can anyone comment on that observation?

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