Basic Manners for Puppies 8 weeks to 6 months / 6-week Lesson Plan

The schedule and fluctuate depending on the needs of the class or individual.


Week 1

Humans only for this lesson / includes class lecture and Demos


  • Shopping list

  • Making the most of mealtime. (Using mealtime for training).

  • How dogs learn

  • Using Markers for communication

  • Learning proper human mechanical skills for training

  • Sit works in all contexts

  • Management strategies for your puppy before he is trained and housebroken.

  • Some basic body handling exercises (prep for grooming and restraint during vet visits).

  • How to avoid reinforcing unwanted behaviors such as jumping, play biting and chewing that is common and natural to most puppies.

  • Understanding and dealing with puppy play biting (force-free methods). This is critical and plays an important role in the prevention of injurious bites later in life.

  • The importance of socialization in young puppies. 

  • Housetraining/crate training protocols. (optional)

  • Intro to no-pull gear for walkies (optional)


Week 2

  • Learn to earn (teach the dog sit is the correct behavior in all contexts)

  • Using splits

  • Sit from standing position/lured

  • Sit and Down for hand signal

  • Stand for lure and hand-signal (optional)

  • Touch targeting (hand)

  • Shaping attention layer 1

  • Continue to "sit to get" in real-life situations

  • Attention Layer 1, exercise 1

  • Recall introduction

    • surprise party

    • back away recalls

    • Premack recall

  • Collar grab exercises (optional)

  • Food bowl bonuses (optional)

  • Talk about no-pull gear

  • socialization and environmental challenge


Week 3

  • Intro to push, drop, stick rules for managing your training criteria

  • Adding verbal’s to the behaviors Sit, Down, Stand and Touch

    • Layer 1- adding the verbal cue

    • Layer 2 -watching for prompt jumping

  • Leave it layer 1

    • Exercise 1 food in hand series

    • Adding the verbal cue “Leave it”

  • Attention layer 2

    • Exercise 1/Adding a verbal cue.

    • Exercise 2/Turn to look at me

  • Intro to no reward markers and release markers.

  • Down-stays (layer 1) on the Mat

    • Food dangles, food on floor, step arounds and Bungie stays

  • Restrained recalls. (requires 2 people)

  • Socialization and environmental challenge


Week 4:

  • Delivering your cues faster and smoother. (The importance of smooth, speedy cues)

  • Random order series for DOWN, SIT, and STAND.

  • Moving to variable reinforcement schedule (asking for more behaviors for less reward)

  • Down stay duration schedule

  • Eliminating treats from your body--house set up.

  • Leave it Layer 3

  • Attention Layer 4 /duration schedule for attention.

  • Socialization and environmental challenge

  • Recalls

    • In and outs --people

    • Restrained with distance for faster response

    • Go through - returns in between legs

    • Socialization and environmental challenge


Week 5:

  • Greeting control

    • hand-touches for greeting

    • walk by hand touches

    • Hand touch and chat

    • Approach (hand touches) and retreat exercises

    • Touch turn and go

    • Anti-jump

  • Wait:

    • At doors, in cars, on walks

  • Adding duration to “stay”

Duration schedule

  • Attention Layer 4

  • Recalls

    • With front sit or down (Optional)


Week 6 (Graduation)

  • Proofing stays

  • Generalizing stays      

  • Body handling and exam prep (optional)

  • Sits and down for exams

  • Watch me (under distractions)

  • Leave it on walks

  • Building recalls in the real world

  •  long line usage and repetitions

  • Recalling off distractions

  • Recalls when you dog MUST comply

  • What’s next/generalizing all behaviors to the real world.

  • Review any outstanding problems

  • Building motivation for alternative reinforcers (toys, praise).

  • Fluency