How Soon Should You Start Training with Your New Pup?

how-soon-start-dog-training
One of the most common questions we get asked is:
 
“How soon should I start training with my puppy?”
 
The answer is always…now. Yesterday, really.
 
Whether you’re working with a professional or training on your own, training should begin the day you bring your new dog or puppy home.

Consider this:

1) Puppies have a primary social development window that closes around 16 weeks of age.
Before then, they need to be exposed to all of the people, animals, objects, and environments that they will need to be comfortable with long-term.
Put simply, later is too late.
Take advantage of your puppy’s most formative weeks by making interactions safe and fun; the goal is for your pup to come away from each interaction feeling good. More on that here.
2) Many newly adopted dogs (and certainly new puppies) have no knowledge of the strange expectations we have in our domestic human world.
Don’t chew that.
 
Don’t eat this.
 
Don’t go there.
 
It’s our job to help set fair rules and expectations from day one, and stick to them. It’s also our job to let our dogs know what they CAN do.
We’re good at telling our dogs “no” and correcting things we don’t like, but we’re a bit less apt to let them know when they’re doing something we like.
Be sure to catch your dog doing the right thing, and you’ll find that focusing on the good eliminates much of the behavior you don’t want.
By the way, it’s never too late to start this, even with an older dog.
3) Training shouldn’t be scary or painful for your dog.

No dog training should be so unpleasant that it requires your pup to be of a certain age to get started.

While good puppy (and adult dog) training involves setting firm rules and boundaries, punishment should never be painful or frightening. This can lead to the development of additional unwanted behaviors, including fear or aggression.

The vast majority of “bad” behavior we see in our practice involves a dog that either doesn’t know what’s expected of him, or doesn’t yet have the impulse control to do it.

Teach your dog the correct behavior, practice until your dog is fluent in multiple situations, rinse, repeat, and enjoy the results.

4) Your dog’s adolescence can be a reflection of their early learning.

Adolescence is a tough age that isn’t talked about enough.

If you wait until 6-8 months of age to begin training, chances are your cute little puppy will ave turned into a bull in a china shop.

Adolescent dogs can be impulsive, poor listeners, and downright annoying.

But if you put real work into the first several months of your pup’s life, you can actually mitigate many of the issues that come with adolescence.

We teach our puppy clients impulse control and early learning skills that carry them through adolescence and beyond – and that’s an investment worth making in your pup!

One thought on “How Soon Should You Start Training with Your New Pup?

  1. I am currently fostering a 5 1/2 mo old puppy with Angels. He had a 4 week puppy obedience class with the family that adopted him and now needs an adolescent class with us (he was returned because of family dynamics). Would love info on classes and costs.

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