Puppy Training Plans

puppy training plans

A new puppy means puppy training. This is where a plan comes in handy. You very likely have a plan for your bathroom and crate training. You are rolling with your socialization plan too. What I want to talk about here are short training plans for teaching your puppy the foundation behaviors that will evolve into life skills.

Why Bother Making A Training Plan?

If you are going to take the time and effort required to teach your puppy, why not make sure you do the best work you can? Let’s look at 3 simple things to pay attention to when you make your puppy training plans. These steps will elevate your training efforts with your puppy partner.

Story Time

A good training session is like a story, it has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning means a connection with the puppy since without their focus and participation nothing will be learned. The middle is what you are working on, for example, teaching the puppy to target your hand with their nose. The ending needs a signal so the puppy is aware that it has ended.

Beginning = 3 for Free

Start with 3 for free. 3 treats to get your pup’s head in the game and let her know a session is about to begin. If there is a particular spot the treats will be delivered during the training, this is a good spot to deliver the 3 for free. After you have marked with a click or a ‘good’ and treated 3 times, pause and see if the puppy is looking interested and enthusiastic. If they are then you can go ahead with the training plan. If they aren’t focused rethink what you are using as a treat. Can you use something the puppy will be more excited about? Is the environment too distracting for the puppy to be able to focus on the session?

Middle, This Is Your Training Plan

Give this some thought. Decide how it will look. How many repetitions will you do or how long you will work, for example, you may set a timer for 2 minutes. What will you use for treats? Where will you deliver the treats. What location will you be doing the training in? Where will the puppy be during the training, for example, facing you or beside you. Think details. This does not need to be complicated.

Sample Training Plan 1

5 repetitions of a hand target.

Puppy is going to be in front of me and I will deliver the treats to her mouth.

In the house without distractions.

Ample training treats that work for this plan and are easily accessible.

Something tasty to offer my puppy after the session ends.

Sample Training Plan 2

15 repetitions of a treat toss game to practice calling my puppy to come.

I will toss treats for the puppy to chase to my right and then to my left. As she is eating the treat I will call her to come. I will reinforce with another opportunity to chase another treat.

In the park around minimal distractions.

Ample training treats that work for this plan and are easily accessible.

Something tasty to offer my puppy after the session ends.

Sample Training Plan 3

5 downs with puppy on my left side.

I will use a target mat for the down and for treat delivery.

I will deliver the treats behind me on a mat after the pup has downed.

At home, minimal distractions.

Ample training treats that work for this plan and are easily accessible.

Something tasty to offer my puppy after the session ends.

Watch this training plan in action on our YouTube channel

Ending The Session

After you have finished the session end it with a verbal cue such as ‘All Done’ or ‘Finished’ or whatever is intuitive for you. Toss a handful of treats on the ground for the puppy.

For the final step in the plan, provide your puppy with something else to do. A food-stuffed toy, a chew on her bully stick.

If you are training well the puppy is enjoying this time spent with you. You are focused on them and providing lots of tasty treats. If this all ends abruptly it is unpleasant for the puppy.

Your aim is to provide plenty of opportunities for positive reinforcement throughout the day. Don’t let the end of a session come unraveled. Providing your puppy with something to do, after a quick bathroom break, will ensure no off-limit item chewing or other puppy funny-business they might get up to.

Plans Change!

Things can go amiss while training such as the puppy doesn’t respond to the cue the way you had planned or they become distracted and can’t focus on the session. Maybe you forget what you are doing. Don’t sweat it! If your puppy can’t focus you can change two things. First, consider what you are using for reinforcement and change it. Second, what is going on around you? Is it too distracting for the puppy to focus on the training?

If the pup misses a cue, cue something different, pause or toss a treat and just start over. No need to punctuate it with oops or an eh-eh sound effect.

If you forget where you are or what you are doing take a break, take a breath. Do a silly dance or play a game of tug. You may be learning new skills so that you can teach your puppy. Baby steps!

Good Plans Are A Trainer’s Superpower

I hope you are inspired to create your own puppy training plans and see how they change your training sessions. You can find more training plan templates and worksheets that we have created for you to use here.

Happy Puppy Training!

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