When Should My Puppy Start Obedience Training?
When you first bring your puppy home, their angelic little face warms your heart so much. The enthusiastic smiles, the excited jumping, even their gnawing on your hand a little is all just so adorable.
Until it’s not.
Puppies are such adorable creatures but they come with some not-so-adorable tendencies that will only worsen without proper obedience training. Cute little yips become loud obnoxious barking, puppy nips start to hurt, and so on.
But when should a puppy start obedience training? Let’s look at a rough schedule.
How Old Should a Puppy Be For Training?
Puppies are like babies. They start learning about their world as soon as they open their eyes and start crawling around. They also learn quickly.
What they learn depends on the environment around them. If the environment is permissive, the puppy will start developing bad habits. But if the puppy is gently pointed in the right direction, they quickly learn what is acceptable.
Mama dogs start teaching them to behave as soon as the puppies are born. But most puppies leave their mothers once they are a few weeks old so they no longer have this input.
What does this mean for obedience training? You can and should start training as soon as you get your puppy. Puppies are generally about 7 – 8 weeks old when people bring them home. While they won’t be ready for complex training yet, you can definitely start with the basics of dog training.
But what exactly are those basics? Let’s break it down and look at a rough timeline of when your puppy should or can start learning what.
7 - 8 Weeks Old
Dog training at this age means socializing your puppy and laying the foundations for what type of behavior is acceptable. What does that mean? Play with your puppy!
Stroke their ears and paws and include rewards to help them get used to being touched. This will make vet visits easier later on.
You can also put a collar or harness on your pup for short periods to get them used to wearing it. Then add the leash and have them walk around with you indoors.
Use mealtimes as short training sessions. Offer your puppy a bit of food, but use it to put them in a sitting position while giving the cue “sit.” Reward immediately once they sit. Continue with short bits like this until they associate the word with the action.
8 - 10 Weeks Old
If you want to crate-train your dog, this is a good time to start. Bring them to the crate for short intervals when they are already calm. When they go inside, give them a reward.
It is also a good idea to feed your puppy in the crate to help make it a positive place for them.
10 - 12 Weeks Old
It’s usually about this time that things start getting intense with your puppy. They put everything in their mouth, including your hands, ankles, and shoes.
It’s impossible to get a puppy to stop biting things altogether, so it’s important to redirect instead. Teach your puppy what’s not okay to bite and have plenty of toys and objects available that they can chew on.
12 - 16 weeks
At this point, you can start potty training. Before this, puppies can’t really hold it so you should be offering plenty of opportunities to go outside to avoid accidents as much as possible. However, around this age, they start developing enough bladder control and can learn to wait.
But be patient! They won’t get it immediately. Focus on rewarding them for going outside and not punishing them for accidents.
Puppies that have received dog training according to this schedule will be doing pretty well by 6 months. From here, it’s just a matter of reinforcement. Remember that dogs are energetic and you need to give them plenty of space and time to run so they can be calmer indoors.
Help with Dog Training
What if you need help with dog training? Perhaps you feel you need a little guidance yourself or don’t have extra time to dedicate to the task.
The friendly folks here at Ruffger’s Dog University can help. We offer dog training near Bonita Springs as well as doggy daycare for those with busy schedules.
Whether you’re looking for dog boarding near you or a good dog trainer, we can help. Contact us today to learn more!