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

Week 1 - Presentation for handlers (no dogs)


  • Shopping list

  • The science of how dogs Learn

  • Handler mechanics

  • Using the marker system

  • Charging your marker

  • Management for unwanted behaviors/Life enrichment skills/potty training/Puppy biting and chewing

  • No-pull gear

  • Normalizing common dog behaviors

  • Ways to enrich your dog’s life


Week 2 - Building engagement and establishing a bond


  • On the leashLoose leash walking skills (leash manners)

    • Teaching the cue “Let’s go”

    • Teaching the dog left and right turns and 180 degree turns while walking on a leash.

  • Teaching attention and focus

    • Teaching stationary attention

  • Hand targeting

    • Hand targeting/nose touch exercises

  • Recalls

    • Backway recalls

    • Recall off a food distraction

  • Socialization challenge


Week 3 - Down and sit for hand signals



  • Lured sits

  • Sit for empty hand (fading your lure)

  • Sit for a smaller hand signal


  • Lured downs

  • Down for empty hand (fading your lure)

  • Down for smaller, higher hand signal



  • Run with me game

  • Restrained recall game


Week 4- Impulse control / Adding verbal cues to behavior


 Adding Verbal cues

  • The correct order of events for adding verbal cues

  • Pairing verbal cues with hand signals


Leave it

  • Anti-and mugging exercises

  • Adding the verbal word “Leave it”

  • Food on the Floor “leave it”

  • walk by food distraction

  • Taking treats gently



  • Down-stay in one-step increments around the dog

  • Down-stay bungies



  • toss and run games

  • Recall to front sit


Week 5 - Impulse Control (Polite Greetings)


  • Anti-jump exercises for jumping on the handler

    • Teach the “off” cue

    • Food coming down from above (dogs stays in a sitting position).

    • Knee and chest taps (dog remain in a sitting position---devil’s advocate exercises)

  • Greeting control

    • Approach and retreat (dog remains on all 4s)

    • Hand-touches while greeting

    • Walk by’s

    • Turn and go’s

    • Alternative behaviors for polite greetings (sit or watch)

  • Recalls

    • Increase distance and speed

    • Recalls using the long line

    • Recall between the people (distraction exercise)

  • Down -stay duration

    • Duration exercises


  • Increase distance and speed

  • Recalls using the long line

  • Recall between the people (distraction exercise)


Week 6 - Generalizing learned behaviors to new locations and different contexts


  • Discussion about fluency

  • Eliminating treats from your body (home set up)

  • Moving to a variable reinforcement schedule

  • Adding distractions to recalls

  • Discussion about safety during on-leash meet and greets with unknown dogs

  • Discussion on no-pull gear for problematic pullers