It’s a question that I get asked all the time by new puppy owners – when should I start training my puppy? Many owners are excited at being able to teach their pups commands tricks and are eager to begin their training as soon as possible.
It is very common that owners will misjudge when their puppy is ready for training class – an obedience class can be very stressful for a puppy and could easily overwhelm their senses.
When you first bring home your precious puppy, you should be focused more on making sure they have all their vaccinations, are showing signs of good health and are eating properly. Only after these basic needs have been met should you move your attention to obedience classes or at home training for your furry companion.
The Importance of Socialization For Your Puppy
Another thing you want to focus on is the process of socialization. In fact, one of the main reasons you want to go to training class is to start to socialize your puppy and get them used to other dogs and people.
If you neglect socialization, it increases the possibility that your dog could be dealing with some psychological issues in the future. Yes, dogs can very easily suffer from anxiety and depression, just like humans. To help avoid these complications, you should start the process of socialization very early.
It is advisable to start as early as 3 to 4 weeks old, but if you got your puppy when they were around 8 weeks old that’s fine, it’s time to start now! The most important time for socialization is between 3 weeks and 12 weeks old.
The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) states: “In general, puppies can start socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up to date on all vaccines throughout the class.”
When To Start Training and Obedience Classes
Even if you get your puppy a little later in life, it is imperative to start socialization classes as early as you can! Many vets agree that inadequate socialization during the first two to three months of a puppies life can lead to behavioral issues like phobias, aggression, depression and more.
After your puppy has been vaccinated and gone through a proper socialization process, it’s a good idea to give your puppy some rest time. Have some fun with your puppy and show them how much you love them!
When your puppy reaches 16 weeks old, most vets agree that this is a good time to start taking them to obedience classes. While you can teach many of these things at home, it is advisable that you take them to a professional to start off with, then transfer into home teaching. Supplementing the professional obedience classes with your own brand of at home training is a great way to raise a happy and healthy puppy!
Starting the At Home Training
If you do decide to start training at home, make sure you are following a course or guide from a licensed professional. One of my favorite courses that will lead you through proper training techniques in all phases of your dog’s life is by Doggy Dan. It will get you started on the proper puppy training techniques and lead you easy to follow video tutorials.
Make sure your puppy is getting plenty of exercise and be sure to use the proper techniques when walking your puppy. When you first start your at-home training, focus on basic commands like “sit” and “stay”. This will give your companion a break from strangers and they will start to get used to you as their teacher.
Sit is a great command to start with, and most puppies can learn it quickly and naturally. Show your puppy a treat, then raise the treat above their nose. They will naturally lower their bottom, and when they place their bottom on the ground say “Sit”, give them the treat and show them a bunch of affection!
Puppies sense your confidence levels and will start to act up or see what they can get away with if you are not confident in your actions. This can lead to destructive behaviors like barking too much, chewing and digging, pulling on the leash and other negative actions.
When you first get your puppy, focus more on making sure they are healthy and have receiving all their vaccinations. Then move on to the process of socialization, which should take place between the age of 3 to 12 weeks old. After this process, give your puppy a few weeks break and show them a ton of affection and love! When they reach around 16 weeks old, you can start with some basic at home commands and take them to a professional (or enroll in a quality Online Course) to continue their training.
I hope this guide has been helpful, feel free to comment or send me an email with your personal experiences when it comes to training your puppy. Have a wonderful day!