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Top Tricks to Teach a New Puppy


New puppies are exciting, but they can get into a lot of trouble just as quickly! By starting on the right foot, you can help ensure your puppy stays safe, healthy, and learns a few things along the way. These top tricks to teach can help make training a new puppy a breeze.

The basics of training a new puppy

The most important thing you can do when training a new puppy is to stick to a routine. Routines help your pup learn the rules, and a routine can help set them (and you) up for success. It’s great for preventing accidents and helping your puppy know what’s expected of them. 

There are also a few supplies you should have on hand with a new puppy. In addition to the basics such as food, water, bowls, toys, and treats, be sure to also think about puppy-safe bedding. Crates, X-pens, and baby gates are also great to use to limit access to rooms until your puppy is trained. And, a high-value treat used only during training can help keep your puppy motivated to learn.

Watch me

This trick is the perfect one to teach first. It’s a great way to get your puppy’s attention so they know it’s time to listen. It’s also useful to use outside of training if you need to get their attention in a distracting situation. Start by placing a high-value treat under your puppy’s nose. Then, bring the treat to your face and ask your puppy to “watch me.” Once they make eye contact, praise and give the treat.

Take it gently

Most puppies are still learning bite control, and depending on when they were removed from the litter, may still struggle with it. Teaching “take it gently” is great for impulse control and keeping your fingers (and any tiny hands) safe from accidental nips. Start by placing a treat in your hand and balling it into a fist. Then, bring the treat to your puppy’s nose, letting them sniff it. If they begin to nip, a loud “ouch!” can help them learn what they’re doing is painful. Once they calm down, or only lick or sniff your hand, offer the treat.

Leave it

This trick is an important tool to keep your puppy from getting into something they shouldn’t. This includes dropped medications, toxic foods, or important items. It can also help keep your puppy away from garbage when on a walk.

Sitting on the floor, place a treat on the ground and cover it with your hand. Your puppy may paw at or attempt to nibble your fingers. Gently ask them to “leave it” and then wait until they get bored or settle down. Then, give a fresh treat from your other hand or pocket. It’s best not to give the treat you were asking your puppy to leave so that they learn to avoid the item even when you remove your hand.


Recalls are important to keep your puppy safe. This trick is best taught with a long-line or 20-foot leash attached to your puppy so that you can grab the leash if they wander off. It’s also important to always keep your dog leashed when outdoors, even if you’re sure they’ll listen.

Let your puppy wander around and sniff for a bit. Then, in your happiest, most excited, highest-pitched voice ever, ask your puppy to “come”. The excited voice and attention will get them curious, and most puppies will come running over. Once they do, praise and reward!

If you have a puppy that likes to play the “keep away” game, you can also run back a few steps as you do this to encourage them to approach.

Sit politely

Similar to “take it gently”, “sit politely” is a great tool for impulse control. You’ll employ the same technique of slowly offering your puppy a treat or toy. Begin by asking your puppy to sit. From there, you’ll “airplane” the treat from your chest height down toward your puppy. If they get too excited, ask them to sit and try again. Once your puppy can stay seated the entire time, praise and reward with several extra treats.

These top tricks for training a new puppy can help instill some good behaviors from the start. If you’re looking for additional training help, check out the 10 things dog parents should know about potty training. Or, learn about some more impressive tricks to teach as well as how to clicker train your dog.


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