What Is The Hardest Thing To Teach A Puppy?

When it comes to training a new furry bundle of joy, there is one question that plagues every dog owner: what is the hardest thing to teach a puppy? From mastering basic commands to overcoming various behavior challenges, the road to raising a well-behaved pup may have its fair share of obstacles. In this article, we will explore the most challenging aspect of puppy training, offering insights and tips to help you navigate this exciting yet demanding journey with your four-legged friend. So, let’s explore the ins and outs of teaching a puppy and uncover the ultimate secret to success!


Teaching your puppy obedience commands is the foundation of a well-behaved and happy pet. By mastering these commands, your puppy will not only become a joy to be around but also develop important skills that ensure their safety and the safety of others. Here are some key obedience commands that you should focus on when training your puppy.


One of the first commands you should teach your puppy is “sit.” This command is not only useful for maintaining control in various situations but is also essential for manners and basic obedience. To teach your puppy to sit, hold a treat close to their nose and slowly move your hand upwards. As their nose follows the treat, their bottom will naturally lower to the ground. Once they are in a sitting position, praise them with enthusiastic words and give them the treat as a reward. Repeat this process several times, gradually withdrawing the treat and relying on the verbal command alone.


The “stay” command is crucial for keeping your puppy safe and preventing them from rushing into dangerous situations. Begin by asking your puppy to sit, then extend your palm toward them as if you were signaling them to stop. Firmly say “stay” and take a step back. If your puppy remains in the sitting position, praise them and reward them with a treat. Increase the distance and duration gradually, always reinforcing the command and rewarding their successes.


Teaching your puppy to come when called is vital for their safety and your peace of mind. Start by getting down to your puppy’s level, holding their collar gently, and saying their name followed by the word “come” in a clear and firm tone. Encourage them to come to you, praising and rewarding them when they do. Use a long training lead in a safe and enclosed area to practice this command until your puppy reliably responds. Remember to always reward and praise their successful recall to reinforce the importance of this command.


The “down” command is useful for keeping your puppy calm and in control. Start by holding a treat in your closed hand close to your puppy’s nose. Slowly lower your hand to the ground, and as your puppy follows the movement of your hand, their body should naturally lower to the floor. Once they are lying down, reward them with praise and treats. Practice this command in different settings and gradually increase the duration of time they need to stay in the down position.

Leash Walking

Leash walking is an essential skill for any dog owner, as it allows you to enjoy walks together while ensuring your puppy’s safety. Begin by attaching a leash to your puppy’s collar and letting them get used to the feeling of having the leash on. Start walking, encouraging your puppy to follow you using verbal cues like “let’s go” or “walk.” If your puppy pulls, stop walking and wait for them to come back to your side. Reward them with praise and treats when they walk calmly next to you. Consistency and patience are key when teaching your puppy to walk on a leash.

Toilet Training

Toilet training your puppy is an important aspect of their overall training and contributes to creating a clean and hygienic living environment for both of you. Here are some steps to help you effectively toilet train your puppy.

Establishing a Routine

Creating a consistent routine for your puppy will help them understand when and where they should eliminate. Take them to their designated potty area at regular intervals, such as after waking up, after eating, and after playtime. Praise and reward them when they eliminate in the appropriate spot.

Recognizing Signs of Needing to Go

Paying close attention to your puppy’s behavior will help you recognize signs that they need to go to the bathroom. These signs may include sniffing the ground, circling, or restlessness. If you notice any of these signs, immediately take them to their designated potty area to give them the opportunity to relieve themselves.

Choosing a Designated Potty Area

Designating a specific area for your puppy to eliminate will help them develop a consistent habit. Choose an area that is easily accessible and somewhere you are comfortable with. Make sure it is away from high traffic areas and close to an exit, as this will make it easier for your puppy to indicate that they need to go outside.

Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement is crucial when toilet training your puppy. Whenever your puppy eliminates in the appropriate spot, praise them enthusiastically and offer a small treat as a reward. This positive reinforcement will help them understand that eliminating in the designated area is desirable behavior.

What Is The Hardest Thing To Teach A Puppy?

Biting and Nipping

Puppies explore the world around them with their mouths, and sometimes this can result in biting and nipping behaviors. It is important to teach your puppy appropriate behaviors and discourage any rough or aggressive play. Here’s how you can address biting and nipping in a constructive and gentle manner.

Redirecting Behavior

When your puppy starts nipping or biting, immediately redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Offer the toy and encourage them to bite and chew on it instead. This will help them understand what is acceptable to bite on and what is not. Consistently redirecting their behavior will guide them toward appropriate chewing habits.

Using Appropriate Chew Toys

Providing your puppy with a variety of appropriate chew toys is essential for redirecting their biting behaviors. Choose toys that are specifically designed for teething puppies, such as rubber toys or toys with different textures. Avoid giving them old shoes or household items as toys, as this can confuse them and blur the boundaries of what is acceptable to bite on.

Discouraging Rough Play

If your puppy becomes too rough during play, it is important to stop the activity immediately. Stand up and ignore them for a short period of time, as this will help them understand that rough play leads to the end of playtime. Resume play with your puppy once they have calmed down, but be mindful of their behavior and repeat the process if necessary.

Consistency and Patience

Consistency and patience are key when addressing biting and nipping behavior. Every member of the household should be on the same page and follow the same training techniques. It may take time for your puppy to fully understand what is expected of them, so remain patient and consistent in your approach. With time and consistent training, your puppy will learn appropriate boundaries for their biting and nipping behaviors.

Crate Training

Crate training can provide your puppy with a safe and comfortable space of their own, while also aiding in their overall training and development. Here are some steps to help you successfully crate train your puppy.

Gradual Introduction

Introduce your puppy to the crate gradually, making it a positive and inviting space. Place the crate in an area of your home where your family spends a lot of time, such as the living room or kitchen. Leave the crate door open and entice your puppy to explore the crate on their own. Place treats and their favorite toys inside to encourage them to enter willingly.

Making it a Positive Space

To ensure your puppy views the crate as a positive space, it is important to create a comfortable and inviting environment inside. Line the crate with a soft blanket or a comfortable bed to make it cozy. Offer treats or toys inside the crate, so your puppy associates it with positive experiences.

Using Rewards for Entering the Crate

When your puppy willingly enters the crate, praise and reward them with treats or verbal praise. Reinforce the idea that entering the crate is a positive behavior. Gradually increase the duration of time your puppy spends inside the crate, always rewarding them for their calm and relaxed behavior.

Slowly Increasing Time Spent Inside

Once your puppy is comfortable entering the crate, gradually increase the amount of time they spend inside. Start by closing the crate door for short periods while you are present in the room. As your puppy becomes more accustomed to being in the crate, you can begin leaving the room for brief periods of time. Gradually increase the duration of time you are away, always returning with praise and rewards for your puppy’s good behavior.

What Is The Hardest Thing To Teach A Puppy?


Socializing your puppy from an early age is essential for their overall development and future behavior. This process involves exposing them to various environments, introducing them to different people and animals, and ensuring they have positive experiences with new stimuli. Here are some important points to consider when socializing your puppy.

Exposing Puppy to Various Environments

Introduce your puppy to different environments from day one. Take them on car rides, walks to the park, and visits to different locations. Gradually expose them to common sights and sounds, such as traffic, people, and other animals. This exposure will help them become accustomed to various stimuli and reduce the likelihood of fear or aggression in new situations.

Introducing to Different People and Animals

Allow your puppy to interact with different people and animals in a controlled and positive manner. Encourage gentle interactions with friendly dogs, puppies, and people of various ages and genders. Supervise these interactions and reward your puppy for positive behavior, such as gentle play or friendly greetings.

Positive Experiences with New Stimuli

Expose your puppy to new stimuli, such as different surfaces, sounds, and objects. This can include walking on different types of flooring, encountering loud noises (gradually increasing the volume), and introducing new toys or objects for them to explore. Always ensure that these experiences are positive and reward your puppy for their calm and confident behavior during exposure.

Preventing Fear or Aggression

It is crucial to prevent fear or aggression from developing in your puppy. Avoid forcing them into uncomfortable situations or overwhelming them with excessive stimuli. Gradually expose them to new experiences, and if they show signs of fear or discomfort, provide reassurance and remove them from the situation. Seek professional help if your puppy displays signs of fear or aggression that you are unable to address on your own.

Chewing and Destructive Behavior

Chewing is a natural behavior for puppies, and it is important to provide them with appropriate outlets for this behavior. By offering appropriate chew toys, supervising their behavior, and ensuring they receive enough physical and mental stimulation, you can effectively redirect their chewing instincts and discourage destructive behavior.

Providing Appropriate Chew Toys

Offering a variety of appropriate chew toys will give your puppy an outlet for their chewing instincts. Look for toys that are specifically designed for puppies, such as rubber toys or toys that can be stuffed with treats. Rotate the toys to keep your puppy engaged and prevent them from getting bored.

Using Deterrent Sprays on Unacceptable Items

If your puppy shows a preference for chewing on certain items, such as furniture or shoes, you can use deterrent sprays to discourage this behavior. These sprays have a bitter taste that puppies find unpleasant, deterring them from chewing on the sprayed items. Be consistent with application and offer appropriate chew toys as an alternative.

Supervising and Redirecting Behavior

It is essential to supervise your puppy’s behavior, especially during the early stages of training. If you catch them chewing on something they shouldn’t, gently redirect their attention to an appropriate chew toy. Offer praise and rewards when they choose to chew on the toy instead. Consistency in redirecting their behavior will help them understand what is acceptable to chew on.

Ensuring Enough Physical and Mental Stimulation

Puppies often resort to destructive chewing when they are bored or lack physical and mental stimulation. Ensure your puppy receives enough exercise and mental stimulation through playtime, training sessions, and interactive toys. A tired and mentally stimulated puppy is less likely to engage in destructive chewing behavior.

Jumping and Excitability

Excitability and jumping are common behaviors in puppies that can become problematic if not addressed. By teaching your puppy alternative greetings, rewarding calm behavior, and training them with consistent boundaries, you can redirect their enthusiasm into more appropriate forms of interaction.

Ignoring the Behavior

One effective way to discourage jumping and excitability is to completely ignore the behavior. When your puppy jumps on you or becomes overly excited, cross your arms, avoid eye contact, and turn away. By not giving them attention during these instances, you are teaching them that jumping and excitability do not result in the desired response. Once your puppy has calmed down, redirect their behavior by asking them to sit or offering an appropriate toy.

Teaching an Alternative Greeting

Teach your puppy an alternative greeting behavior, such as sitting or offering a paw. When you arrive home or have guests over, ask your puppy to sit before giving them attention. Reward them with praise and treats for calm and polite greetings. By consistently reinforcing this behavior, your puppy will learn that sitting or offering a paw is the appropriate way to greet people.

Rewarding Calm Behavior

Rewarding calm behavior is crucial when addressing jumping and excitability. When your puppy remains calm in situations that would typically trigger excitement, immediately praise and reward them. This positive reinforcement will encourage them to continue exhibiting calm behaviors in the future.

Training with Consistent Boundaries

Consistent boundaries are essential in managing jumping and excitability. Ensure that everyone in your household follows the same rules and expectations. Set clear boundaries for your puppy and enforce them consistently. For example, if you do not allow your puppy on the furniture, be firm and consistent in preventing them from jumping onto the couch or bed.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety can be a challenging issue that many puppies face, leading to distress for both the puppy and the owner. By gradually increasing alone time, creating a calm leaving routine, providing comforting toys or blankets, and seeking professional help if necessary, you can help your puppy overcome separation anxiety.

Gradually Increasing Alone Time

When addressing separation anxiety, it is important to gradually increase the amount of time your puppy spends alone. Start by leaving them alone for short periods, such as a few minutes, and gradually increase the duration over time. Providing a safe and comfortable space, such as a crate or a designated room, can help them feel secure during this alone time.

Creating a Calm Leaving Routine

Establishing a calm leaving routine can help your puppy feel more at ease when you need to leave them alone. Avoid making a fuss or showing excessive attention before leaving. Make sure your puppy has had ample exercise and mental stimulation prior to your departure to help them feel more relaxed. By establishing a consistent and calm routine, you can help alleviate your puppy’s stress and anxiety.

Providing Comforting Toys or Blankets

To offer some comfort and reassurance to your puppy when they are alone, provide them with comforting toys or blankets. These items can have your scent on them, which can help your puppy feel more secure in your absence. Make sure the items are safe and durable, and avoid leaving anything that could pose a choking hazard.

Seeking Professional Help if Severe

If your puppy’s separation anxiety is severe and persists despite your efforts, it may be necessary to seek professional help from a certified trainer or behaviorist. They can offer specialized guidance and develop a tailored plan to address your puppy’s specific needs. Professional assistance can be invaluable in managing and overcoming severe separation anxiety.

Listening with Distractions

Teaching your puppy to listen and respond to commands, even in distracting environments, is an important part of their training. By gradually introducing distractions, using high-value treats for motivation, reinforcing commands with positive rewards, and practicing consistency and regular training sessions, you can improve your puppy’s listening skills.

Training in Gradually Distracting Environments

Start by training your puppy in a controlled and quiet environment where distractions are minimal. Once they have mastered commands in this setting, gradually introduce distractions, such as toys, food, or other people or animals. Increase the level of distraction gradually, ensuring that your puppy remains focused and responsive to your commands.

Using High-Value Treats for Motivation

High-value treats can be a powerful tool to motivate your puppy to listen and respond to commands, even in distracting environments. Use treats that are particularly enticing for your puppy, such as small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese. Reward your puppy immediately when they correctly follow a command, reinforcing the positive behavior and building their motivation to listen.

Reinforcing Commands with Positive Rewards

Positive rewards are an effective way to reinforce your puppy’s understanding of commands and encourage them to continue listening. Praise your puppy enthusiastically when they respond correctly to a command, and follow up with a treat or a favorite toy. This positive reinforcement will strengthen the association between the command and the desired behavior.

Consistency and Regular Practice

Consistency and regular practice are crucial in improving your puppy’s listening skills. Set aside dedicated training sessions each day, even if they are short, to reinforce commands in various environments. By practicing consistently, your puppy will become more reliable in their responses and better equipped to listen even when distractions are present.

Off-Leash Control

Having reliable off-leash control of your puppy is important for their safety and your peace of mind. By training a reliable recall command, building a strong bond and trust, utilizing long training leads initially, and proofing commands in safe off-leash areas, you can achieve off-leash control with your puppy.

Training Reliable Recall Command

Train your puppy to have a reliable recall command, such as “come” or their name. Start in a quiet and controlled environment, and gradually increase the level of distraction as they become more proficient. Use high-value treats or rewards to motivate them to come to you when called. Practice this command consistently and reward them every time they successfully respond.

Building a Strong Bond and Trust

Establishing a strong bond and trust with your puppy is crucial for off-leash control. Spend quality time together, engaging in activities that they enjoy. Building a positive and trusting relationship will make your puppy more inclined to stay close and respond to your commands, even when off-leash.

Utilizing Long Training Leads Initially

When initially training for off-leash control, use long training leads to allow your puppy freedom to explore while still providing control. Attach a long training lead to their collar or harness and allow them to roam within a safe and enclosed area. Use the recall command to bring them back to you, reinforcing the desired behavior with rewards and praise. Over time, gradually decrease the length of the lead as your puppy becomes more reliable.

Proofing Commands in Safe Off-Leash Areas

Once your puppy has developed a strong recall command and has shown reliability in controlled environments, begin proofing their abilities in safe off-leash areas. Choose areas that are securely fenced or away from potential hazards. Practice recall commands and other obedience commands in these settings, gradually increasing the level of distraction. Reinforce positive behavior with rewards and continue practicing regularly to maintain off-leash control.

By following these guidelines and being patient, consistent, and positive in your training efforts, you can successfully teach your puppy important skills and behaviors. Remember that each puppy is unique, and progress may vary. Tailor your training approach to suit their individual needs and always prioritize their well-being and safety. With time, practice, and mutual understanding, you and your puppy can develop a strong bond and enjoy a happy and well-behaved life together.