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Teaching Your Dog Some Everyday Manners

Updated on January 23, 2015

Manners Class?

Many people ask themselves if they should take their dog to a "manners" class. Several times I hear this during my time in talking to other pet parents. Espencially those who have young puppies, as they tell me about their soon-to-be future plans for their young ones. But really, "manners" class isn't something that starts "somewhere else". It begins at home. It begins with you.

Your puppy is just like a child at this age. They are learning everything from you. What they can and can not do, and they are learning all the rules, and manners. Their likes and dislikes, all these things are happening from what they observe and learn from you as their pet parent. So, why not instill some good positive manners while you still have the chance? Now, when they are young, is the perfect opportunity to show them the "right" way YOU want them to be. So, why don't we get started?

Below I have listed some basic ones in a list that I thought many people would like to teach their puppies, and then separately I go through each one.

Teaching your puppy these few basic manners, will make it a joy to have them around, to travel with, visit with and have people visit you. It all starts with you. Now, it's your time, deciding which behaviors you want your puppy to display is the first step.

Basic Behaviors & Manners:


  • Sitting nicely
  • Waiting patiently
  • No begging (even at the table and from guests)

  • No taking belongings (even food) that does not belong to them
  • Greeting guests kindly
  • Laying down when the doorbell rings

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One of the most universal commands you could teach your puppy or dog is the "sit" command. You can use it anywhere, anytime and add any other command to it. It works in any situation to gain control and retain control, especially if you have a big puppy or dog that you are dealing with. This is why I picked this command first. I, personally felt it was one of the most important commands and manners you could teach your dog.

You can teach your dog this command for many different reasons. Here are a few reasons:

  • To sit nicely for a walk
  • To sit nicely for breakfast and supper
  • To sit nicely to greet guests
  • To sit nicely before receiving another command (such as before you ask them to get into the car).

Having your dog behave in a well rounded and with mannerisms is not only attractive but also more safe and better for you as the pet owner to have to deal with everyday situations. It certainly makes traveling with your pet child easier and more smoother.

Sitting Quietly:

  • When you have your pet child learn how to sit, make sure you have a safe place in which to teach them and a place with few distractions. Because most puppies have a short attention span keep the training sessions brief, and make it fun!

Teaching Them To Sit Nicely:

  • If your puppy jumps and wiggles around, wait a few minutes, then ask them to sit again.
  • Don't give them a treat, just reward them for obeying, give them the release command move around and try asking them to sit again, if they sit without wiggling and jumping around, give the treat and praise, if not, do not give the treat, just the reward for obeying.
  • Sooner or later your puppy will understand that though sitting brings positive reinforcement, sitting nicely brings a reward and praise. And will opt to sit nicely when asked rather than jump around before hand.

Once you teach your puppy to sit nicely, you can mold this command and mannerism to fit your lifestyle, for example, you could teach your puppy to sit nicely when being fed or when guests come over.

Below I have written how training techniques to different scenarios you might be interested in teaching your young one, that help aid in good puppy manners and positive obedience.

Sitting Quietly For A Walk

  • When your puppy jumps and moves around when you go to clip the lead onto the collar, bring yourself back up and just stand there with arms up and lead unclipped and still in your hands.
  • Make sure your puppy has stopped jumping around and has been asked to sit nicely again before trying to clip the lead to the collar or harness. If the puppy sits nicely, reward and praise, if not, repeat cycle until they sit nicely without jumping or whining and then reward and praise.

Sitting Quietly For Meals

  • When you go to feed your puppy, ask your puppy to sit. If they sit nicely, without whining and jumping, reward them and praise them....if they begin to jump around and whine again, stand straight and still until they have settled down and try asking them to sit again, if they succeed, praise them again, but do not give the food to them until they sit quietly after you have praised them.

Waiting Patiently for Guests

  • Before opening the front door when the bell rings, ask your dog to sit and become calm.
  • After your guest comes in, if you dog has gotten up, ask them to sit again, if they rush to the guest, ask the guest to leave and go back out the front door.
  • Wait for your dog to settle down, and ask them to sit again. Praise them, and then ask your guest to come in. Ask your dog to stay, or if standing to sit. Wait until your dog is clam, and then ask the guests to praise the dog. If the dog jumps up, ask them to sit.
  • Continue this, until the dog sits when the guests come in and give them praise.

Tip: This may be a hard idea for some dogs to grasp, as they may just be TOO excited to come into a "relax state" of mind. Therefore, having a toy to chew, or using a treat as a reward might be a good idea. Also, having them a little ways from the door, so the guest is not right there, might make it easier as well.


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Teaching your dog car manners can be a tricky thing. But teaching your dog to behave in your car, actually starts before your dog even gets in.

Teaching Your Dog To Get In Your Car

  • Ask your dog to sit, before you even open the car door.
  • Wait until they are clam before praise them. If they do not stay sitting, ask them to sit again, and praise them again. If they stay, open your car door.
  • Once you have opened your car door, ask your dog to get into the car in the area you want them to get into to and sit. If they jump up and in another spot, ask them to come to he area you want them to sit in and buckle them in with a doggie seat belt, if not in a create or a back of the car (like some SUV's or a truck bend).

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Only Taking What Is His

Teaching your dog to only take his own belongings, such as toys and treats given, can come in handy. This ensures that they will leave other belongings like shoes, and papers on a table, or snacks you leave out, alone.

  • When your pet child takes something that is not theirs take it from them and say, "no" and then give them something that is theirs, like a favorite toy and then after a few minutes reward them and praise them for playing with it.
  • When you see them playing with their own toys, reward them, but playing with it with them or giving them a treat.
  • Make sure you stay consist and dangerous objects up.
  • When you have food laying out, like a bag of chips, and your pet child goes to smell it, call his name elsewhere and pick up a toy to distract their attention, if they ignore the food, praise and reward them, if not call their name again and repeat the process.


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Being "Absent" From The Table

Once your dog learns to respect you in the kitchen the better the behavior resulting with food will be all around. To do this, you can start by keeping him away from the table. This is also respectful to guests you may come and visit. And teaches your pet child boundaries.

  • Keep your dog out of the kitchen altogether when you are in it. From making the meal to eating it, they should be out of the kitchen. This then helps aid in positive behavior all the way around.
  • Ask your dog to go to a certain spot or tie him to a bed in the living room.
  • You can also gate the kitchen off with a pet gate or baby gate.
  • Or, you can teach your dog to go to a certain spot or area of the room, like a crate or bedroom when you are in the kitchen.

All these places offer a different place for your dog to be where he can not see you are your food, so make sure your pet child has enough toys and things to occupy them. Kong treats are great as they reward the dog for playing with it with treats that fall out, this will reward your pet child to play and aid his attention elsewhere instead of watching you and stealing your food.

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Always Work With A Professional

In whatever you choose to do, always ask a professional if you are having a hard time with teaching your dog a manner or behavior. Keep consist and keep clam, stay gentle and keep an open mind.

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