Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated by humans. When did it happen? Over 15,000 years ago.
Fast forward to today and they’ve become man’s best friend. In fact, they’re one of the most popular pets in the world.
In the United States alone, there are over 75 million of them!
Thinking of adding one to your family? If so, you’ll want to do your homework. For one thing, training a puppy can take a lot of time and effort.
Need some help? Looking for some tips? If so, you’re on the right page. We’ll be going over everything that you need to know about the training process below.
So make sure to read the rest of the post!
When Should You Start Training Your Puppy?
The old recommendation was to wait until a puppy has had all of their vaccines before starting training. Unfortunately, that means that many puppies would already have behavioral issues by the time they start their classes.
Because of that, many trainers now recommend that puppies begin training as early as 7 to 8 weeks (assuming that they do not have any health problems).
For example, they can start socialization classes (ideally, they should have had received at least one set of vaccines). That way, they’ll be less likely to have behavioral problems down the road.
A General Puppy Training Schedule
Here’s a basic puppy training schedule that you can use. Don’t worry if your pup hasn’t learned everything outlined in it, you can always go back and fill in the missing areas!
7 to 10 Weeks
Potty Training: Generally speaking, the best way to do this is to establish a routine. More specifically, you want to take them outside every two hours (e.g. after waking up, eating, and playing). Make sure to reward them every time they eliminate outdoors.
Crate Training: Now’s the time to get them used to their crate. If anything, it’s an essential part of housebreaking as they usually don’t like soiling their sleeping quarters. Not only that, but it’ll provide them with a safe environment when things become too overwhelming.
Socialization: As mentioned earlier, you want to start the socialization process as soon as they’ve received their first set of shots. For example, you can socialize them with your friends and family. The goal is to get them used to these interactions so that they won’t develop any behavioral issues later on.
Name Recognition: Say your puppy’s name when you’re playing and interacting with them. Eventually, they should catch on that you’re calling them and when they do, you can reward them with some food and love!
10 to 12 Weeks
Introduce the Leash and Harness: Assuming that you haven’t already done so, you can introduce your puppy to the leash and harness. If you want, you can let them wear the items around the house first—that’ll help them get used to wearing it.
Basic Obedience Commands: Introduce basic commands such as “sit”, “come”, and “down.” For the best results, make sure to use high-value treats. If necessary, you can also enroll them in dog training classes.
Continue to Socialize: Continue to socialize your puppy. Ultimately, the goal is to introduce them to as many things as you can while they’re still in their critical period.
3 to 4 Months Old
Command Combinations: As your puppy learns more commands, you can start to combine them. For example, you can teach them how to “sit” and “stay.” If anything, it’s a great way to keep them engaged!
Socialize With Other Puppies: Once they’ve received all their vaccinations, you can begin to socialize them with other puppies. For example, you can organize a playdate with your friend’s dog.
4 Months to 1 Year
Reinforce All Commands: Now that your puppy has learned most of the basic commands, you can reinforce them with the 3 “D’s”—distance, duration, and distractions. That is, you want to add more distance between you and your pup (while they’re performing each command), and have them hold each command for longer periods of time with distractions added in between.
Keep Up With Your Training: Believe it or not but puppies do go through a rebellious “teenage” phase. During this time, they’ll try to test their limits, seeing what they can get away with. Given that, you want to be firm and consistent with your training.
Other Tips For Training a Puppy
- Training sessions should always be ended on a positive note. For example, you can leave them a treat or lots of praise. That way, they’ll be excited to continue next time.
- Don’t scold your puppy when they bite or nip you. Instead, yell loudly and pretend to be in a lot of pain. Most will be so surprised that they’ll stop what they’re doing immediately.
- Always reward good behavior. For instance, you can give them toys, treats, and praise—whatever they like.
- It’s important that you puppy proof the home. Socks, shoes, toys, etc, should all be put away. After all, you never know when they might get into things
- Never hit your puppy—it’ll only make them fearful of you. Not only that, but it’ll destroy their trust in you.
Bringing Home A New Puppy
And there you have it—a guide on when to start training a puppy. Remember, you can always hire a trainer if you need some help with the process!
Looking for more dog-related posts? Then check out the rest of our blog!