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1 October 2022


Tricks for Treats: 5 Fun & Essential Cues to Teach Your Pup

We break down the most basic cues and their purpose to make training fly by for you and your pup.

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When you bring a puppy or new dog into your home, it’s important to teach them basic obedience and manners. This is so that your dog knows how to listen to you and you can keep them safe. We looked at 5 of the most important cues you can teach your pup and a few tricks to help them learn quickly.


Wait, or stay is an essential and diverse cue. Having your dog wait while you’re getting a package (instead of running out the door) or if you accidentally drop their leash can be critical and even save them from getting into serious trouble. You can also use this cue at a door, gate, or crosswalk when you’re out and about.


Watch or “Watch Me” is one of the best cues for getting your dog to focus on you. If you need your dog’s attention quickly, having “watch me” in your arsenal will bring that focus. For example, if you’re walking in a crowd or you see a deer, cyclist, or another dog on a trail, getting your dog to focus on you instead of the distraction can help your pup stay calm, particularly if they are reactive or have a high prey drive.

Sit or Settle

Almost every pup learns to sit at one point or another. This cue can be useful when you want an excited puppy to calm down and stop jumping or to keep your pup in one place for grooming, nail trims, or oral care. The sitting cue may be harder for senior dogs or any pup with hip or joint issues, so it’s important to remember the intention and use “settle” to calm your pup and get their attention rather than focusing on the physical act of sitting.


Teaching your pup “come” or to run to you when you cue it (regardless of the word you use) can be helpful for more than just getting them out of the dog park. “Come to me right now” can mean “leave that person or thing alone,” “don’t get too close to that dead bird,” or even “get in the car for an adventure.” Try to make it fun and exciting for your pup to come when called; this will help you get your pup back by your side regardless of the situation.

Leave It

Once your pup understands the concept, this cue can be applied in numerous ways. “Leave it” can mean: don’t put that stick, trash, leftover pizza, or chicken wing. It can also mean “don’t engage with that person, baby, or another dog,” depending on the context. Unlike the “wait” cue, “leave it” should be used for situations where your dog isn’t going to get the thing he or she is after. Wait, on the other hand, is temporary, and you will want to be sure to “release” or “break” your pup from this cue every time.  

How long does it take to teach these cues?

Dogs learn at different speeds, but for the most part, they all share a short attention span. Plan to work on these cues in short (5 minutes or so) sessions. As your dog becomes more consistent, your training session may be less about training and more about reinforcing in real-world applications.

If your pup is struggling with one of these cues, you can either end that session and work on something else or break it down even further to set your dog up for success. Patience and consistency will go a long way and ensure all your training sticks. And don’t forget to celebrate any wins along the way.

Reward your pup for a job well done!

When teaching your pup new tricks, it’s okay to use plenty of treats! Ollie’s new Jerky Strips are perfect for the job! These meaty treats are made with human-grade, all-natural ingredients and are free from corn, wheat, and soy. Our treats come in three flavors: Chicken and Apple, Beef and Sweet Potato, and just Sweet Potato.

For training, break jerky into smaller bites for on-the-go lessons and easy reinforcement. Remember that our jerky (or any treat) should not be used as a meal replacement and should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s diet.

The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.

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