Before Teaching Your New Puppy Voice Commands, Teach This!

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puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

The end of last year was an exciting time for our family, we added a new puppy to our home! Literally, a few days after Christmas we dove right in and got ourselves a little Border Collie girl. This has been our very first experience having such a young dog and let me tell you it’s been a ride.

We quickly learned that there’s a reason why people make comparisons between infants and puppies. That pretty much sums up a puppy if throw in words like destructive and nippy too. This is an extremely difficult time for newbie dog owners, to say the least.

We knew from the beginning that Border Collies are very active, working dogs. They need a purpose in life or they will destroy whatever they can get their mouths on. To try to tame some of Oreo’s (Yes, the kids named her after the cookie!) energy we love to take her out with us whenever we can.

puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

Now that’s she older she is more interested in looking out the window than chewing on the seatbelt.

puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

One of our favorite places to take her is Tractor Supply. They are pet-friendly so she goes right in with us and helps us shop for her food and supplies and other rural goodies we may need. Every time we visit we always come across other doggie parents and their pups. She, of course, flips on over so the “Pawrents” can give her belly rubs (one of her favorite things ever!) and sniffs her new friends.

It’s a friendly store with such a unique, homey environment. Half the fun of shopping there is we never know what we may come across. This time it was CHICKS!puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog All kinds of baby chicks, ducks, and turkeys.

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Oreo’s mind was going a million miles a minute staring at all these cuties.

puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

These shopping trips are always very mentality stimulating for Oreo which is great. Sometimes mental exercise can be just as good as physical exercise. That’s why we also have her participate in puppy kindergarten classes where she learns voice commands.

These classes are such a great source of information for new puppy parents. They’ve helped give us an insight as to why her little puppy mind does what it does. The first thing they had us teach was a bit of a shock to us as newbie puppy trainers but it totally makes sense – the Reward Marker.

Installing the Reward Marker

The reward marker is a short word that lets your puppy know they did something right. Totally makes sense to have a way to let your dog know you are happy with something they did, right?

Choose Your Reward Marker

You want to pick a word that’s easy to say yet not used often. Common reward markers are “bingo, “pop”, “tag”, etc. Whatever it is just make sure you don’t normally say it in everyday conversation and that’s only 1-2 syllables. The reward marker I use for Oreo is “click”.

Grab A LOT of Tasty Food

Training a puppy is mostly about associating. Dogs do not understand what we are saying but eventually, they associate words with actions.

Let’s say you tell Fido to “sit”. He has no idea what you are babbling about but if you tell him to “sit” and when he does you give him a treat, he’s associating that if I put my butt on the ground when they say that “word” I get something yummy.

Dogs are all about what’s in it for them and we can use that to train them. Stocking up on tasty foods is imperative during training!

Head to your local Tractor Supply Co. to get some of the best savings on pet food during the 5th annual Purina® Days event. March 28 to April 2 will be a great time to stock up on all your pet needs, especially if you are in the middle of training.

Don’t forget to check your newspaper for the Tractor Supply Co. Purina Days insert!

puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

I bought Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice Formula Dry Dog Food and several Purina® Pro Plan® Chicken & Rice Wet Dog Food Cans.

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Oreo couldn’t wait to dig in!

puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog


puppy, puppies, training a puppy, reward marker, purina, tractor supply, dogs, dog

But…during Purina Days you can:

Buy Pro Plan 24-lb.+, Get 2 13-oz. Cans Free!

It’s a great deal! Plus they are high in protein and easy to gobble down. Oreo has to have wet food mixed in with her kibble otherwise she won’t eat it (picky little stinker!).

SO it’s a great time to stock up! There’s so many more special in-store pricing taking place too – visit your local TSC to check it out!

Be Consistent

Do not ask your puppy to do anything. With your puppy on a leash, say your chosen reward maker (“bingo”, “crush”, etc.) and give your puppy a treat. The treat can be Purina® Pro Plan® Savor® or anything your dog really, REALLY loves (chicken, hot dogs, etc.).

Repeat this ten times, twice a day for five days.

For example, I say “bingo” and give a treat, “bingo” – give a treat, “bingo” – give a treat, etc. It shouldn’t take very much time at all.

Proof Your Reward Marker

Still on a leash. On day 5 or 6, test your reward marker by saying it when your puppy is distracted and not looking at you. If your dog looks at you when you say your reward marker, it’s installed. If they do not, repeat the first exercise for a couple more days and try again until they do.


Installing the reward marker is the foundation for all future training. Thanks to doing this Oreo can “sit”, “down”, and “come” on command pretty consistently. She’s still working on “wait” and some other voice commands. It’s definitely a work in progress!

No matter what you do set your puppy up for success and visit your local TSC during Purina Days to stock up on all your pet and rural needs at a great price!

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Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.


  1. I’m not a pet owner but these are really great tips for anyone who has a pet and needs advice on how to teach them.

  2. This is such a cute post! We visit Tractor Supply quite often. I will have to take our dogs next time.

  3. Now this looks like such a great store to go to! I absolutely LOVE stores that let in pets, I’m always keeping my eyes out for dogs when I visit the local pet store!

  4. Amber Myers says:

    So awesome! I’ll have to check out Tractor Supply. I think we have one nearby. We just have cats though, and they don’t like to shop.

  5. Oh my goodness! She is so adorable! My husband and I are thinking of getting a pup after our move. These are great tips. Hopefully it works on the dog we want to get lol.


  6. I don’t have a dog and don’t plan on getting one anytime soon, but I do know how important it is to train your puppy so that it grows up into a well behaved dog. Not once I’ve seen owners that can’t control their own pets.

  7. All I can say is the tips you shared with us here are one of the best dog lovers will find ever. They are hands-on.

  8. When I was young we used to enjoy training our pets to do loads of things, this is useful information for those with pets or hoping to get one soon

  9. Oreo is absolutely adorable! I remember when my pup was only a few months old. I wish I could go back to those days minus the training lol!

  10. We have a lab.pitbull mix dog at home and I am very keen observant of his behavior. I agree when they grew older they became more behave and easy to handle since they were trained in their younger days.

  11. My pup is pretty active too. I know we have to take him on long walks or he’ll be super hyper inside.

  12. Awww Oreo is so adorable!!

  13. Aw how fun that you came across chicks. I love that you were able to take your pup in too. 🙂

  14. Alison Rost says:

    It’s so nice to have pet/s at home, they fill the house with so much love and affection. I think this is a great guide for people planning to train their dogs. It’s so helpful. Patience is definitely a must and so consistency!

  15. Oreo is sooo cute. We buy purina products for our dog too and it’s a guarantee good products they have. Our Solenn has beautiful furs.

  16. I still remember the time our Yorkie girl came home. It was also during a December and she was tiny as can be. Those first weeks where overwhelmingly tiresome and I felt I was in clean-up duty every day. Now, that she’s older I know it was all worth it. We love her.

  17. Dee At My Dee Dee's Diary says:

    This was super helpful advice. I don;t own a pet yet but when I do this will be very helpful!!

  18. Caitlin + Dani says:

    What a great way to start training your four legged friends. Puppies are so exciting!

  19. We’re puppy training right now! Thse are some great tips! I’ll have to try a few of them, thanks!

  20. Kim Lee (@KimsCravings) says:

    What a neat experience! I shop at Tractor Supply frequently and love it!

  21. Dog lover spotted here. Good to teach your pets the right things from basic. I kike the reward maker part though. As its key to any pet training.

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