Dog Training Commands 101: How Do You Train An 8-Week-Old Puppy To Understand Basic Dog Commands?

Puppy Training 101

While some people think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, many think the same of tiny puppies and tend to put off puppy training and teaching basic dog commands until 6 months of age… or later.

However, a puppy is never too young to learn certain things. In fact, you can (and should) introduce puppy training from the day you bring them home!

We’re not asking you to set up a training session as soon as you walk through the door — because your puppy will be far more interested in her new home than learning something new. But once she has settled, you should start some short training sessions focusing on very important basic dog commands.

So which commands do you concentrate on first? And how do you teach those commands to a cheeky puppy who is far more interested in running around with your slipper in her mouth?

Here are the 5 most important dog commands you should begin teaching your puppy right away…

For each of these basic dog commands, you will guide pup to where you want her to be. There is room for error — which means she can (and will) succeed regularly. You praise and reward her regularly, and she learns that training is actually lots of fun!


How to teach a puppy the “Sit” command:

Advanced Tip:

Lie Down

How to teach a puppy the “Lie Down” command:

Advanced Tip:

Leave It

How to teach a puppy the “Leave It” command:

Advanced Tip:


How to teach a puppy a release command like “Okay”:

Advanced Tip:


How to teach a puppy a recall command like “Come”:

Advanced Tip:

The Bottom Line

While you may not think there are many commands here, that is sort of the point! You don’t want to overload your puppy. Just work on one basic dog command for a week and see how it goes.

Spend no longer than 15 minutes a day on these dog training commands — especially at such a young age. Any longer and your puppy will get bored… or tired!

If your dog is getting distracted, just end the training session on a positive note by requesting something of your puppy that you know she can do. It will be much easier to entice your pup into the next training session if she knows that good things always happen during training!

After it’s clear that your puppy has learned these important commands, you can begin to phase out the food rewards. You can still give treats occasionally as a reward, but you don’t necessarily want your puppy to expect food rewards every time you give basic dog commands. Once they understand a command, sometimes give treats and praise, and other times just give lots of praise and excited play time as a reward.

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How to train an 8 week old puppy - basic dog training commands puppies understand

Our guest contributor, John, is the founder of All Things Dogs. He’s a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a graduate in Animal Behavior and Welfare, and a recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.