Answer: You can start training a puppy at 7 to 8 weeks of its age. This is a good time to teach basic commands.
Little puppies don’t yet know how to behave, so they tend to bite, jump on people, pee in the house, bark, and so on. The owner’s job is to teach his pet good manners. Then he will grow up to be a good, non-problematic dog.
Why start training a puppy so early?
Some may think a 7-8 week old puppy is too young to be trained. Indeed, it used to be that even trainers recommended starting training only after all vaccines and boosters had been passed.
But in the end, trainers often had to deal with puppies that already had behavior problems. That’s why it’s now recommended to start training and socialization early.
At 6 months of age, puppies begin a transition period, so they are prone to disobedience and bad behavior at this time. So it’s best if you start lessons before 6 months of age.
What if your puppy is older? Start over as it is described below.
What commands should I train my puppy first?
The first thing you need to teach your puppy is its daily routine. Your new family member should know where and when it eats and goes to bed, when and what things it can play, where it can go to the toilet. The daily routine makes the puppy feel more relaxed, and it lays the foundation for further training.
Along with the daily routine, at 7-8 weeks, you can start training a puppy basic commands such as:
These commands will help the puppy throughout its life, so you need to learn them. Use these commands to stop unwanted behavior like barking, jumping, chewing things, biting legs and hands. These commands will also help to calm and stop your dog at the right moment, like when you’re putting on a harness or washing its paws.
Repeat the same command 2-3 times a day. Your lessons should be short, 5 minutes each, as puppies can't concentrate for a long period.
Of course, you need to make sure that the puppy knows its name. You can also start at this age:
- leash training (until the puppy is vaccinated, then you can train it to leash at home);
- socialization (introduce it to new people);
- crate training;
- potty training.
This training will go on for a long time, up to 1 year.
See the video for details on initial puppy training:
How quickly do puppies learn commands? It all depends on the dog. One week is enough for some, but for others it will take more than a month. The main thing is not to give up!
Puppy training schedule
Once you start training your puppy, you need to keep going and do the training regularly. You must have a schedule. This is the key to success.
You can see an example of a 4 week training schedule in this table:
We’ve already talked about what to teach a puppy at 7-8 weeks. So what to do next?
- At 10-12 weeks you can begin to teach not to bite and some new commands (Place, Down, and Heel at home, Fetch and Drop-It). If you haven’t previously put your puppy on a leash and harness or crate, it’s time to start doing so. Also, continue socializing by allowing your puppy to approach calm dogs.
- at 12 weeks. Continue to reinforce basic commands, make it harder, train it in different areas or combine several commands. If your puppy has already learned simple commands, add new commands.
- After 16 weeks, in addition to all the previous points, train your puppy to walk on a leash beside you and not to pull.
To make it easy for yourself and not to forget when and what command you need to teach, write everything in a diary.
The earlier you start teaching your puppy to be orderly, the better. This will make it easier for you to cope with your puppy in the future.
If you don’t train your puppy, you will most likely end up with a problem dog who is not easy to live with. Sadly, these pets are then sent to shelters and blamed for their misbehavior (even though the owners are to blame).
Those who can not do puppy training at home for whatever reason can use the services of special schools.
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