When you get a new puppy, you often have a lot of questions! One of the most common we receive is ‘at what age can I start training my puppy?’ The quick answer is that your dog is never too young! Although we recommend focusing in on training at around seven weeks of age. Training is not only used for fun tricks to show off, but for safety. You can manage your dog in any environment and prevent them from running off or chewing something they shouldn’t.
It is better to start training your puppy young as puppy training should be done during sensitive periods. This means that your dog is most receptive to learning and remembering these tricks and commands. We will go through our recommended training and at what ages you should implement them. Furthermore, we shall also discuss all the great benefits that come with training your puppy.
Benefits of Training
Training can of course be fun and filled with exciting tricks. However, it can also be life-saving for your dog. As well as hold a real benefit over managing them and their behavior. Here are a few ways that puppy training can help you and your dog.
A Safer Home
Not only does dog training help to keep you safe and your dog, but also it helps to keep your house and furniture safe. If your dog has a high level of obedience then they will listen to your commands. Therefore you can teach them what behavior is acceptable and what is not. This means you don’t have to worry about them chewing through wires and cables or knocking over furniture. Both actions could lead to a serious injury to your pup. Furthermore, a well-trained dog will cause a lot less chaos. Therefore, they should be less likely to run past you, ignoring commands, and possibly injure themselves or someone else.
If you own a dog who can be well behaved on the lead as well as off, you can have far less worries when out and about. Firstly your dog will not run off, an action which can cause them to get lost or run into traffic. Both awful consequences of a dog that does not respond to commands. Furthermore, many dogs can get lost when they run in a different direction than you are in. Your dog may also pull you whilst on the leash or show aggression towards other dogs if not well trained and socialized.
Easier Time For Your Vet
If you are taking your dog to the vet and they require a dental check, for example, a badly behaved dog may try to bite your vet. This will make things quite difficult for your vet and can even lead to your dog requiring an anesthetic, a pricey and worrying occurrence. Furthermore, if your vet is able to check your dog with ease during their assessments, this means your dog will receive a more thorough check-up. Thereby your vet can see any worrying health concerns and let you know as soon as possible. This means that they can get treatment fast.
Puppy Training Timeline
Although many breeders begin training from even a week or two old in very short sessions. So what age can you start training your puppy? We recommend beginning to train your new puppy at seven weeks of age. Here is a clear timeline of training for your puppy from seven to sixteen weeks of age.
7 Weeks Old
At seven weeks of age your puppy can begin to learn basic training as opposed to command-based training. We advise introducing area training to them, which can be defined as understanding different rooms or spaces of the house and their purpose. For example, your puppy can learn where they should be sleeping, if the bed and sofa are off limits or not. They can also learn where they can expect to eat each day and that they should not be jumping or climbing on the table. Use positive reinforcement if attention, verbal praise, and treats when your dog is good to help enforce this learning. Furthermore, your dog can begin to get potty trained to learn where the bathroom is and is not.
8 Weeks Old
You can now increase area training and help them to understand their potty training more effectively. Eight weeks of age is also the perfect time to make your puppy aware that they can bite their toys, but not you or the furniture. Furthermore, praise your dog for taking their toys gently and not snatching them from you. This can prepare them for behaving well around children or the elderly during sessions of play as they age. Remember to be firm with the word no when they bite you or chew furniture or yourself, but do not punish them.
10 Weeks Old
Apart from continuing their current training, you can also introduce proper leash training as well as start to get a firm grasp on their name and the word no. Start leash training by doing small walks in your backyard. Make sure your pup has had all their vaccinations before considering taking them outside your home and yard for a walk. You should also try to aid their learning of their name and generally encourage good behavior. This means making sure that they do not jump up when you are feeding them, show any signs of possessive aggression, and can wait at doors without barking.
12 Weeks Old
12 weeks of age is the perfect time to teach your dog their basic commands. Come, sit, and stay are considered to be some of the most crucial commands for your puppy to learn. When your puppy runs towards you be sure to use the command come and positively enforce this to begin the process of your dog learning come. Stay will require a lot more patience and is often recommended to be taught after sit. Each command will take repetition and patience to help your dog to learn, but every one is important. These tricks can help you safely control your dog both within the home and outside of it.
16 Weeks Old
16 weeks of age is when your dog should start proper socialization, after all the required vaccinations of course. Introduce your dog to other dogs, humans, children, and other animals. Allow them to develop confidence and restraint around all of them that they should possess for a lifetime. Furthermore, you can target their walking based training more as well and encourage structured walking. This is when your dog walks by your heel while on the leash or unless otherwise instructed. This is often trained into your dog by stopping the walk whenever your puppy misbehaves. Then you can continue and reward them when they remain by your heel.
Age To Start Training a Puppy – FAQ
Here are a few bonus answers concerning what age can I start training my puppy. So we can make sure we have answered all of your questions.
Instead of discipline and punishing your dog, we would recommend using positive reinforcement and corrections to help your dog learn. A study conducted in 2014 found that dogs were more attentive and learned better through positive reinforcement as opposed to negative. Never yell, isolate, or physically punish your dog to get them to learn something. Instead, use treats, verbal encouragement, and cuddles to show a dog they are doing well. Just because a dog may learn something through punishment, does not mean it is kind, fair, or that there are no negative consequences. Diminished trust and increased aggression may come with firm discipline.
You should wake up and encourage your puppy to pee at least once every night. They will not be able to hold their urine from the evening until the morning until they are much older. Puppies that are four months old or younger cannot hold their urine and therefore need to be let out regularly so they do not make a mess of the carpet.
Crate training is very important from a young age to allow your dog to feel calm and happy inside their cage. It involves allowing your dog in their crate for gradually larger spans of time to get them used to being in their crate. Note that anxiety, a lack of training, or even health problems can lead to your dog whining in their crate. Make sure your dog is healthy first and foremost, and then gradually increase the time they are left in their crate. Also use positive reinforcement to make it a pleasant experience for your pup and one that they feel happy to do again.
Using a crate cover can be very beneficial for dog crate training. Not only can it reduce your dog’s anxiety by offering a dark and quiet area. But it can also allow your dog to understand when it is rest time in the crate, and when it is playtime. Simply place the cover over the crate and encourage your dog in it to start getting that positive association of a crate cover means time for a nap!
An adult dog should be in a crate for a maximum amount of nine hours at a time. Therefore putting your puppy in a crate overnight is not appropriate. This should be heavily reduced for an elderly dog or a young puppy.
So there you have it, you should know the answer to your question ‘what age do I start training my puppy? We have provided you with a rough understanding of what training you should be using on your pup week by week for their age. The proper age to train a puppy can be as early as you like. But here are the stages and training types we recommend.