Puppies are a lot of work. From potty training to socialization, they require an incredible amount of attention.
Making sure your puppy is on the right track is necessary for them to grow up happy and healthy.
So how do you know when to start?
Whether you’ve just brought home a new puppy or are thinking about getting one soon, here are some tips that will help you decide when is the best time to start training a puppy.
Let’s get started, shall we?
The Perfect Puppy: Shattering Your Expectations!
When flirting with the idea of getting a puppy, most of us seem to be excited and think about the fun things we’d be able to do with our furry friends--from going on long walks with them to taking cute Instagrams.
In our romanticized imaginations, our puppies seem to be “perfect” and come fully trained.
...and I’m sorry to be bursting your bubble… 😅
Reality hits when we get our puppies home and realize how chaotic these cute creatures can be!
You find yourself on your feet more often than you thought you would, everything seems to be covered in pee, and it isn’t as easy to take those Instagram photos as you thought it’d be!
What’s the Best Time to Start Training Your Puppy?
The right time to start training your puppy is the moment you get them home. Here’s where training your puppy comes into play!
Wait, what!? 😶
Most first-time dog owners don’t realize that dogs don’t come to us at a time when they’re discovering the world around them and building habits--habits that’ll be too hard to change and unlearn once they’ve picked them up.
The training actually begins way before you meet your puppy since its mom might have already started to teach him a thing or two.
The best time to train a puppy is between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. That’s when puppies are most receptive and open to learning new things.
Tips to Getting Started: Puppy Training 101!
So, just to recap, you should start training your puppy the moment you get him.
I know that it sucks to get straight to business with the newest member of your family when all you want to do is to cuddle and play, but it’s the price you’ll need to pay to have a well-behaved dog.
Here are some training tips to keep in mind.
1. Positive Reinforcement Always Works!
Positive reinforcement has time and again proven to be an excellent method for training a dog.
So, what does this mean? 👀
It basically means that you use rewards, that is, the things your puppy likes (usually food and praises) to get him to do what you want.
We’ll get into the technical nitty-gritty in a later blog post.
2. Short and Sweet Training Sessions All the Way!
No, training your puppy doesn’t need to take all day.
In fact, training sessions are the most productive when they’re fun for you and your pooch. Long training sessions can get frustrating and could even strain your relationship with your furry friend.
Psst! Remember those math lessons that left you in tears as a kid? Or perhaps driving lessons with your dad? They weren’t too nice to go through, were they? 🤯😔
So, it’s best to keep them short and sweet.
Experts recommend you spend at least 15 minutes a day training your puppy. So, you might as well divide this time into three five-minute sessions to keep things fun.
3. Consistency Matters
Staying consistent is key to making sure your puppy understands what you’re saying. This means:
Using the same command for a particular action.
Using the same reinforcement.
Consistently rewarding good behaviors.
Ignoring the destructive behaviors you’d like to see less of.
Inconsistency is confusing!
Think about it yourself. Wouldn’t you be confused as hell if the person you like plays hot and cold with you? 😜
4. Remember, Practice Makes Perfect
Once your puppy has gotten the hang of a particular command at home, it’s time to raise the stakes and try out the command in different situations and places, like during walks, at puppy kindergarten, etc.
This will help you feel more confident and in control no matter what happens!
3. Patience is Key
Okay, let’s revisit math homework with dad on Saturday mornings. 😪
Wouldn’t it have been nice if your dad could have been a bit more patient with you? I mean, we all know that he meant well, but it wasn’t what he said---it was how he said it!
It’s important to remember that your puppy has only been in this world for a couple of weeks and is learning many things at once.
So, remember that accidents happen and it’s a part of the process.
If you’re feeling frustrated or impatient, it is best to take a break and start the training session again once you are feeling better.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
The Ultimate Puppy Training Schedule: What’s the Best Time to Start Training a Puppy?
We know how confusing it can be to figure out the things your new puppy is ready to learn and the things he isn’t.
So, we decided to create this ultimate cheat sheet for you!
Getting used to the schedule and recognizing his name
Getting your pup used to a schedule that you’ve created--food time, walks, and an average day in the life, along with teaching your dog his name.
Teaching your dog where they can go potty and incorporating the potty schedule.
Basic Obedience Commands
This includes basic commands like sit, come, lay down, etc.
Teaching your puppy to stay inside his crate during certain times of the day.
Slowly introducing your puppy to new faces and people, starting with your close friends and family.
Redirecting the Chewing
Teaching your dog to chew things that are “acceptable,” like chew toys.
Continuing socializing your puppy with other animals and people who frequent your house.
Intermediate Obedience Commands
This includes commands such as stop barking, down, and heel.
The Leash and Harness
Introducing your pup to the leash and harness and teaching them to be comfortable in them.
This means asking your puppy to stay at a particular stop for a few minutes before letting them go ahead. This teaches them discipline.
Impulse Control Training
Teaching your dog to be patient when you’re doing things like setting up their food and water bowls.
This includes commands like leave it and stay, which are harder to teach your dog.
This includes using a few commands together, such as Sit > Stay > Down > Sit.
Continuing socialization by introducing your puppy to other animals and people.
Staying consistent with the commands you use and trying them out in different places and situations.
You can start taking your dog on longer walks to improve his heel-ing skills and practice leash/harness walks,
Weaning off the Food as a Reward
This is also the right time to wean your puppy off the treats--they’re too many calories!
I hope that this helped ease some of the confusion that you may have been feeling!
Summing Up: The Best Time to Start Training a Puppy
The best time to start training a puppy is when they are still young, between 8 and 12 weeks old. Puppies learn from their mother and other dogs in the litter before being separated from them at around eight weeks old.
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