Puppy Preschool Class Two

Welcome to Week Two

We can't wait to hear the progress of your puppy over the last week.  Hopefully toilet training is going well and you and your puppy are enjoying happy play time during the day and plenty of sleep at night.

This week we will talk about nutrition and then get to work on training some essential behaviours for polite pups to know.  


Diet and nutrition is incredibly important for raising a healthy dog and in order to give them the best start in life, we recommend feeding a super-premium balanced puppy formulated diet from a veterinary recommended brand.   

We don't recommend homemade diets because it is difficult to provide a balanced diet with the correct quantities of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbs.  Similarly our vets are not in favour of the current fashion of raw food feeding.  Raw food, no matter what the claim on the packet,  carries a significant bacterial risk. Not only is it a health risk for your pet but also holds a significant risk to yourself and small children. 

Grain free diets are popular with humans but there has only ever been one recorded family of dogs ever to be coeliac and they were a group of setters in the 1800s.   Grains are proven to be an excellent source of important nutrients and some recent research points towards a link between grain and an otherwise rare  kind of heart disease.   Grains provide energy for growing pups, vitamin E, Linoleic Acid and are a source of vegetable protein.  Additionally Grains are a good source of fibre and help to create a healthy gut microbiome for your puppy.


We recommend Hills Healthy Development and Hills Vet Essentials Puppy as an excellent balanced diet for growing pups of small to medium breeds up to their first birthday.

Large and giant breeds (adult weight >25kg) need a specific Large Breed Puppy food until they are 15 months old as too rapid growth in these breeds can lead to joint problems.

Food can be kept exciting and does not need to be fed from a bowl. Use meal time as an occasion to mentally stimulate your pups’ brain. Try these ways to tire them out by filling:

  • An empty toilet roll and push in the ends

  • A kong toy

  • An empty plastic bottle without the lid

  • A ball with holes in it

  • Empty egg cartons

  • A cardboard box, with extra scrunched up pieces of paper in it

Or you can scatter biscuits in the back yard or over the floor inside dependant on your mess tolerance. This is especially good for puppies and dogs that ‘hoover’ their food.  Your recycling is your friend! Get creative!

Harmful Foods

  • Alcohol

  • Avocado                            

  • Caffeine

  • Candy

  • Chives

  • CHOCOLATE (esp dark chocolate)

  • Coffee

  • Corn cobs

  • Fat trimmings

  • Fruit pips and seeds

  • Garlic


  • Ice cream

  • Milk – dairy

  • Mouldy food

  • Mushrooms

  • Nuts - macadamias

  • Onion

  • Raisins and sultanas

  • Tomato - leaves and stems

  • Vitamins for humans (esp iron)


Training treats work a treat!

Think of treats like currency, a five year old child would be far more inclined to do something for $10 than they would for 5 cents. 

Give a small piece (about the size of a quarter fingernail) and only release once they are doing the desired behaviour.  Mix it up and use a various treats of different value, this will keep the training exciting as they won’t know what is coming next, whether it be a boring piece of kibble or an exciting piece of chicken.

  • Kibble

  • Dried meat or liver treats

  • Cooked chicken – you can boil a bunch of chicken at once, chop it into chunks and freeze small portions that can be taken out to be used over a day or two. 

Some dogs are not food oriented and may take a little longer to discover what truly motivates them. A little more experimenting with tiny amounts of cheese, peanut butter or the more ‘junk food’ types of treats like schmackos may be required. 

Training principles

Dogs communicate through visual cues unlike humans who communicate through talking. It is good to combine hand signals as well as verbal cues when training.


Often when teaching commands, people will say the command again and again before the behaviour has been learnt. This does not send a clear message to your puppy and may be confusing. Be sure to only say the command and release the treat when your puppy is doing the desired behaviour. 

It takes patience and repetition to train a puppy.  Puppies have a short attention span so frequent, short training sessions will always produce the best results. 5 - 10 minutes a day after a play session or walk is the best time to train your puppy.


Sit is one of the best ways to teach your puppy manners.

Asking them to sit for things such as going on/off the lead, before you open a door or while waiting for their food are great exercises. 


  • Hold a treat above their nose – not too high that they jump.

  • Take the treat SLOWLY over the puppy’s head while they sniff the treat, their nose will go up and bottom should go down like a see-saw. 

  • Only release the treat once their bottom touches the ground

  • Say your command ONCE and also only when the bottom is on the ground.

Allow them to sit, release the treat and say the command once to send a clear and direct message.



Look will help when you start to teach stay. It encourages your puppy to focus. 

·    Ask puppy to sit, quietly praise.
·    Show puppy that you have a treat and raise it between your eyes. When puppy makes eye contact, say ‘look’ and release the treat straight away.
·    Progress this one by holding the treat behind your back while asking them to look at you.
·    Gradually phase out treats. 

Look is very helpful when puppies get distracted during training (or at puppy pre-school while other puppies are playing in front of them!). 

Down or Drop

Lying down is useful when encouraging your puppy to settle. 

It is also a precursor to roll over and bang (play dead). 


  • Get your puppy into a sit position and give a little treat.

  • Bring a treat in front of their nose so they sniff it and have interest. They may lick the treat but do not release it. 

  • Bring the treat down in front of them to the floor, between their front paws. Sometimes we need to slowly bring the treat forward or back to encourage pup to go down.

  • Only release the treat once their little tummy is on the floor.

  • Sometimes a mat helps for cold surfaces

  • Only say your cue once they are in position. 

  • If their bottom pops up, make them sit and start again! 

Mat Training

“On your mat” is a great way to teach your puppy to have alone time and is useful for encouraging them to settle.

The mat should be treated as a puppy ‘zen’ zone and they should not be disturbed or woken up when they take themselves there.

It’s great for when there is a lot of excitement in the house – such as a children’s birthday party for example, and allows them a safe place to go when they need some space.

The mat is also a great spot for them when you are cooking in the kitchen. Puppies and dogs love to hang around your feet while cooking which is a potential hazard when knives are out!


  • Pop a treat on the mat so puppy knows they are rewarded when they go there. 

  • Teach your puppy to lay down or drop on the mat and quietly praise when they do so.

  • Treat them from afar when they are on the mat (basically throw treats at them). 

  • Add a cue and point to the mat. 

  • Phase out treats over time. 

© 2019 All Creatures on Hoddle