Training Your Puppy, When Should You Start?

Last week we made a post targeted to new dog owners to help pick the right size crate for your new pup. To stay on that same trend, we want to post this week about training your new dog! New dog owners take note!  

"When should I start training my dog?" 

One of the most asked questions by new dog owners. A good one too! To start, let's break down training into two categories: formal obedience training and informal training of your puppy. 

Formal obedience training: This is puppy training in a class-like environment. It will usually consist of a group of other dogs and their owners, as well as one or more instructors. This should start anywhere from nine to twelve weeks of age. The majority of respectable dog training schools will require that your pup have a series of two vaccinations given before starting a class at their facility. This is not only for your dogs safety, but for the safety of the other dogs, too. Most schools will also require that your dog gets a Bordatella (Kennel Cough) vaccination and provide a stool sample. 

Informal training of your puppy: This is the stuff you teach your dog at home! This is the fun stuff! THIS SHOULD START THE DAY YOU BRING YOUR PUPPY HOME! I hope that was clear enough! The day you bring your new pup home you should start the training process. Of course, during the early stages (eight to 10 weeks) it does not have to be intensive. Start with many little sessions. This will allow you to capture as much of your pups attention as possible. Let each session last only five to ten minutes. Then increase the intensity and length as you feel appropriate. The key is to make sure you keep your dogs attention! This needs to be enjoyable for the pup! 

Your dog's learning is comprised of many factors:

  • Socialization - positive exposure to many different people, animals, environments, surfaces, situations, sounds, etc, and teaching the pup how to best react to new things.
  • Innate personality - there is a set type of personality all animals and people are born with.
  • Environment - an enriched environment will provide positive experiences and socialization.
  • In-home work with potty training, crate training, leash & collar training, teaching appropriate stuff to chew on, your household routine, words, basic home manners.
  • Training classes outside the home - where you teach your puppy the essentials of obedience commands, manners, and ability to do everything with the distraction of other people and dogs.
  • Serendipity - what the pup learns on his own - a huge part of early learning!

So what is the short answer here? You should start training your dog day one when you bring him or her home! 

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