Puppy Life Skills Training Videos

For these exercise you will need soft treats, and a leash. You use soft treats for three reasons, you can break them into very small pieces, the puppy can eat them quickly, and hard treats crumble which the puppy becomes more interested in trying to eat the crumbs off the floor.

The Cradle and Massage 


  • Teaches puppy to let you, your vet the groomer handle any part of their body without becoming nippy, over sensitive or squirmy trying to get away.  

  • Used for cutting nails, brushing, towel drying, grooming, administrating medication, checking for ticks, and sores.

  • We used a dog tooth brush in this exercise but you should add a towel, nail clippers, and dog brushes.  One way to get a puppy use to an electric clipper or nail grinder is to start by using a battery operated tooth brush.

  • Make sure when you are holding the puppy that he/she isn't too close to your face, if they struggle to get down they may nip at you.  

  • If the puppy starts squirming and becomes hard to hold you want to make sure you don't want to reinforce the squirming by letting the puppy go free.  Use a treat to redirect the puppy's actions, once the puppy is quite, stop the exercise and release the puppy.

  • If you are having a real difficult time doing this exercise, put some peanut butter in a shallow bowl and freeze it, when you want to do the Cradle and Massage get your frozen peanut butter have the puppy eat while you work on him/her.  



  • Teaching the "DOWN" can be difficult for some puppies.

       I don't like to use force, it is better to take your time and          let the puppy use his/hers problem solving skills to figure          what you are asking him/her to do.  We teach by luring              the puppy with a treat.

  •  Have a treat in your hand, put your puppy in a "SIT" in  front of you.  White saying the command "DOWN"  take the treat and slowly move it from the puppy's nose to  the floor, continue to say "DOWN".  You may have to  repeat the beginning of the exercise severely times  because the puppy stops following the treat and pops up.

  •  Once the puppy is on the floor in a "DOWN" position,  repeat the word "DOWN" and slowing feed the puppy the  treat.  By doing it this way your puppy will not pop up,  and you will have a nice quite "DOWN.  When the treat is  almost gone, give your release word, like "ALL DONE, and  have puppy get  up.

The Long "STOP/STAY"


  • "STOP/STAY", "STOP" means you hit your mark or spot, "STAY" means your dog does not move until you go back and release him/her.  You never call your dog out of a "STAY", you can call them out of a "WAIT'.

  • This is for safety, we are conditioning your dog that when he/she hears "STAY", they will not move. Example; if they get loose outside and you yell "STOP/STAY" the dog should stop and will not move.

  • With this exercise you will be adding a location, like bed, place, mat.  You will not be asking your dog to do a "DOWN" or "SIT", this is for the long "STAY",  for when you are eating, having company over or just need a break, so we want the dog to be comfortable.

  • To release the dog, go back and touch the dog, on the head or neck, give a treat and say your release command.

"WAIT" By The Door


  • "WAIT" is the anticipation of another command. You can call your dog out of a "WAIT".  You would use "WAIT" for feeding time, the dog does a "SIT/WAIT", and then you release him/her to eat.  In this video we are showing the "SIT/WAIT" by the door.

  • This exercise is for safety, you are conditioning your dog not to escape out the door, and not to drag you through the door to go for a walk.

"ON" And "OFF"

  • Teaching the dog to have confidence and to trust when you ask him/her to do something, with trust comes bonding and not being fearful.  The exercise is to get the dog use to getting "ON" a foreign piece of equipment, furniture, groomers table, and vet's scale.  

  • You can use a treat to lure the dog "ON" the object or physically help him/her.

  • The objects we used in this video are in most homes, the couch cushion and an exercise step. When doing a training session you can use whatever you have available that would work as long as you know that your dog will not get hurt. Do not start out with the object being too high. Once you scare your dog it will be hard to gain that trust again.  Remember to use the release word "OFF", so the dog knows when to get off the object.

  • Once your dog is getting "ON", remember to release him/her by saying the command "OFF", the objects early, you can have him/her do a "SIT", "DOWN", even a "STAY".

*Important note about training your puppy.  They learn like toddlers so keep your training session short, if you see your puppy is getting tired, end your training session.  If the puppy hasn't performed the command and is tired end with a success by asking the puppy for a command they know, like "SIT".  Your puppy will learn quicker if you make the training session relaxing. The commands in the videos we call  "Life SkillS", so practice them through out the day and in different places, even if it just in the house, this will help the puppy to understand that when you give a command it means the same no matter what time or where.  When picking a release word use something like "ALL DONE", "RELEASE", "FINISH", "BREAK".  Do not use "OKAY" for your release word, people say it too often, and it will confuse the puppy.  Example; if the puppy is doing a command like "SIT/WAIT" and you say "OKAY" to someone there is a very good chance your puppy will breaks the "SIT/WAIT".