The First Trick Sticks!: Why You Should Train Your Dog to Sit or Down First

11/11/2016
by Jess Rollins

By Jess Rollins
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The first thing I taught my little dog, Ollie was to lie down on a mat. I can't remember why that was but I can tell you that to this day, five years later, Ollie gets so excited to see me put anything blanket-like on the floor that I can barely get it on the floor without him leaping over my head to get on it. Which got me thinking about this topic! Since then, Ollie has learned dozens of tricks and "commands", but I think this one is still his favorite.

For some reason which science can probably explain, the first trick or command that you train your new dog or puppy is very powerful! Dogs seem to remember their first trick and perform it better than others even into their senior years. The first thing you teach your new dog or puppy will cement in his or her little brain and he or she will be likely to offer the behavior when wanting a treat or ball.

Use this great opportunity to teach your new dog a behavior that will be useful and definitely not annoying. Sit or lie down are great choices for first behaviors. I would recommend that you do not teach your dog to shake paw or speak as your new dog's first trick as you will probably be rewarded by eager scratches for a ball or barked at for a taste of your pizza crust. And if this happens, it's not the dog's fault! He has learned you like those things and has not yet learned that you like other things better sometimes!

Here's how to teach your new dog how to sit and down

What is the first trick you taught your dog?

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