Puppy parents are always searching for answers to when they can start training their young puppies? Training a puppy is not like you will rotate the magic stick around the puppy, and he will be all tamed and ready to go to the outside world. There are many steps in training that puppies learn over time. There are some things that a young pup can learn easily, while on the other hand, there are certain other training techniques that a puppy learns with their age in order to become a well-trained dog.
One cannot start puppy training right after it’s born. At least for the first 6 weeks of age, puppies are unable to learn anything. Till then, let them examine where they are living and with whom they are living.
When the Dog Is 7-8 Weeks of Age
When the dog reaches 7 to 8 weeks of age, one can start with the puppy’s basic commands and official training.
Basic Obedience Training
Officially you can begin the obedience training of the puppy. Start with the basic obedience commands such as sit, stand, come, and go. Among these, the first start with the commands sit and come. They are easy for puppies to comprehend. A new puppy might feel difficulty understanding the commands. Make it easy for him and use a hand signal. For example, when you say the word sit, keep your hand in the air such that the palm is facing the ground. Now lower the hand slowly to make him understand that you want him to sit. At first, he might sit with his butt and four paws on the ground. If you want him to lie down on his belly, sit again and keep moving the hand downwards. He will surely understand.
Similarly, when you want him to come to you, sit at some distance from him and say the word come. Then, just like in the above case, use hand gestures again. We usually use the same gesture to call a noisy crowd.
Remember that both the vocals and the hand gestures matter at the beginning of the training. Try dropping the gestures once you think you have spent enough time giving the puppy basic obedience training. If he obeys, congratulation! But if he does not obey, you might need to put some effort again for some days.
Leash training is easier than most new puppy owners think. All you need is a leash, a collar, and some indoor practice. Firstly introduce the collars to the puppy. Make him wear it during playtime to become used to it. Next, start holding the leash and make him walk in the backyard. It’s not like a puppy does not know how to walk; he will gradually learn to walk on a leash. After the puppy has become used to walking on a leash, try taking him out in the neighborhood and then to the dog parks.
Choosing the right collars for the dog is really very important. There are some training collars, namely shock collars, E-collars, vibration collars, prong collars, and chain collars. All these collars are used for training the dogs. When the dog does not obey, they give a stimulus to make him realize that the training session is going on. If used properly, they are safe for an adult dog, but the puppy might not tolerate them. The shock from these collars can cause several health problems, and the puppy’s life might be at stake. It’s better to avoid using these collars. Instead, buy harnesses. They are completely humane and pose no risks.
Leash training the puppy at a young age is very beneficial. As the puppy grows, he gets even better with the on-leash training.
When the Dog Is 8-10 Weeks Old
After 8 weeks, when the puppy has learned some simple commands, it’s time to progress with good behaviors. So. it’s the time when the crate training appears on the scene. It is important that the puppy learns to live in a confined environment. He will have a soothing corner of the home, away from all the hustle and bustle of the streets. He will be away from the unnecessary fireworks and thunderstorms. Moreover, crate training your puppy can make him more gentle and tamed. He will not wander in the home chewing on mats and wires. Chewing these things destroys the house’s aesthetics, but it also poses health risks such as gastrointestinal blockage, stomach upset, and choking hazards. Instead, give them a chew toy.
Just lay out some puppy pads underneath the crate, and you will not have to do extra cleaning of the floor. As the dog lives in a small designated corner, fewer accidents and fewer injuries will be. If you start training the puppy at a young age, you will observe many benefits later. For example, when the dog gets adult and hears a thunderstorm, he will run to his crate to get peace instead of fussing about it.
It would be great to teach the new puppy its name by this time. It’s beneficial that when you are a bit far from him, and he is not looking at you, you can call out his name to get his attention. Make him sit close to you when you decide to introduce the puppy with its name. Make eye contact with him and call out his name. At first, there will be no reaction, and the puppy will be sitting with blank expressions. Call out a few more times. When he starts responding to his name, treat him or just say “Yes.” Then add a command word with his name. For example, let’s say you name him Fido; start saying “Fido sit” instead of just sit. Feed him if he obeys the command just like he was doing before introducing his name. Positive reinforcement is important to encourage the dogs and learn more at every training step.
Name recognition is also important when you have other puppies at home too. If each of them has his name, it will be easy for them to respond to you.
Socializing With Family and Friends
Socializing a dog is very important. Start socializing with the new pup at home. Call over friends and family and play with the new puppy. It would be okay to let the dog out of the crate. But before the socialization training sessions, it would be thoughtful to make sure that the dog had his potty break by checking out the pee pads.
Starting puppy socialization classes at home can be a great idea. It can avoid unnecessary fear and aggression later in the dog’s life. The puppy will be more confident and happier. Instead of being scared of new places and strange people, the puppy might get excited to go out. Training your puppy is way easier than training a dog. Puppies have recently opened their eyes to the world. Whatever you teach them would bring a new exciting thing or a new lesson. They tend to memorize more than adult dogs. Adult dogs have spent their life remaining confined in an area. They don’t know how it feels to meet new people. The dog trainer and a vet would recommend you the same thing: to begin training at the early stages of his life.
When the Dog Is 10-12 Weeks Old
Teaching Good Manners
Finally, the puppy’s age is about to be 3 months. He should learn some manners now. Set up some rules and stick by them. If you don’t want dogs to sit on the furniture, pick them up and put them on the floor right when you catch them climbing a sofa. No sleeping on the furniture is also part of the same rule. Wake them up even if they are sleeping soundly. Prepare separate crates and beds for them and teach them to use them.
Never feed the dog if you don’t want to ask for food at the dinner table. Even a single bite can ruin all the previous training sessions. Instead, feed them separately in their bowl and whenever they beg, point out the bowl and ask them to eat from there. Similarly, use the pee pads from day one of the puppies at home and potty trains them in a controlled environment. First, allowing them to use the floor and later introducing the pads won’t develop the habit fast enough.
Socializing by Taking Him Out
By now, it’s time to let the puppy out in the fresh air by now. Introduce him to other dogs in the neighborhood. Take him to dog parks. Try to interact with pets from other species like cats. It will help with socialization a lot. Meet with the pet owners too. Introducing the puppy to strangers will prevent jumping and barking at the guests. It will make the trips to vet clinics easier and more comfortable. He won’t lose his senses at the sight of a crowded market, either. You will not be worried about the dog attacking other dogs and humans on the way.
Before teaching the dog to socialize outside the house, ensure all their vaccinations are done. Vaccination prevents the diseases beforehand to prevent both the dog from getting sick and the expensive vet bills. In addition, vaccination is important for your furry friend so that he will not get any disease from puppies during puppy socialization classes. It is also important for the other dogs so that they don’t get sick because of your dog. The most common diseases against which a dog must have vaccination include kennel cough, rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and influenza.
When the Dog Is 12 to 16 Weeks Old
Potty Training Outdoors
Enough with the indoor potty training. Continuously using potty pads can be a burden on your finances. It’s time to upgrade the dog training. Shift the dog from the crate or an ordinary potty pad to a grass pad. Dogs love the smell of grass and love to pee on it as it feels natural. Moreover, it is easy to clean and reusable compared to pee pads. You can’t start with outside potty training directly because dogs have a faster metabolic rate than humans and need frequent potty breaks. It would be better to train them to pee on grass pads at home and introduce outdoor potty training.
After the dog becomes accustomed to grass pads, start moving the pad towards the outer door. Don’t move it too fast. Move a few inches so that the dog does not notice much difference. Then wait for a few more days and move a few inches again. Of course, it would be a time-consuming process, but it is important. After the pad has arrived just in front of the door, wait for a few days and move the pad outside the house. Still, keep it in front of the house and not in the backyard. After a few days, move it to the backyard where you would like the dog to pee or poop. The dog will stop differentiating the grass pad from the real grass on the ground, so removing the tray would be fine. Now the dog can have his potty breaks easily outside the house, and you don’t have to deal with any accidents inside the house.
Hold tight! More training classes ahead. It’s time to introduce some more commands to the puppy’s life. Start training your puppy by revising some previous commands. It’s just a warm-up. Now teach him to stay in a place. Ask him to sit and start moving. If he starts walking too, say “Stay” and start walking again. Besides staying, teach him how to wait. Say the same word, stay and leave him alone in the room for a few minutes. Watch over him through a camera. Similarly, make them accustomed to the word “off” when they try to be too clingy. Teach them to drop off the things so that when they are eating human food that’s not safe for them or is eating mud, you can stop them from a distance. Finally, teach them to respond to the word “No” and “bed.” The first one will help you stop them from an unnecessary act, and the second one will teach them to lay in the bed.
Make use of positive reinforcement with the introduction of each new command.
Teach Him Games
Making the dog play with you will keep both of you happy. There are certain games that you can teach him. You can go with hide-and-seek first. It is a fun game as dogs have an amazing sense of smell; they can find you in no time. Next, teach them to fetch the things for you. Use a ball or a bone for this purpose. Make sure the size of either of them is neither too large nor too small. The larger one will be difficult to hold, and the smaller one can pose a choking hazard. Remember, a healthy dog is way more important than the dog learning new tricks and games.
You can also go for agility training. This kind of puppy training can keep him in a good physique and provide him with mental stimulation.
When the Dog Is 4-6 Months Old
Wean Off Food Rewards
Training your puppy with treats and rewards is important in the early stages of life. But if a puppy eats too much of it, he might start depending on treats and won’t listen to you if you don’t have any. So it’s time to make good behavior part of the pup’s life. But it never means you can drop off the positive reinforcement. You still have to pat him on his back and use vocal markers to make him realize he is doing a good thing.
Let Him in the Neighborhood
When the dog has become accustomed to the neighborhood completely, and if he has made friends with other pups in the town, you can let him go for a short trip. It will make the dog realize the owner trusts me and give him a sense of freedom. But before letting the dog out, it would be better to make him wear a GPS collar. Then, if by any chance, a pet thief comes to encounter your pup or the puppy himself forgets the way back home, it can help. Moreover, don’t let them go out for long and set some boundaries. As soon as they cross the boundary, take him back home.
When the Dog Is 6 Months to a Year Old
Continue All the Commands
All the necessary training is completed after the 6 weeks and before the 6 months of the dog’s age. After 6 months, make the dog revise them over and over again. Strengthening the puppy’s habits at a young age can help avoid accidents later in life. Call it a side benefit or what, but it will help you and the puppy have a stronger bond.
Keep indulging the dog in socialization. Take him out on walks every morning. If you are not a morning person, evenings will do. Potty training the puppy outside the home will also let him make friends with dogs in the town. Let the friends come to the home and set the puppy free of the crate. But make sure he has learned the basic manners. If you think you cannot keep up with good socialization, enroll him in a socialization class. But if you are training the puppy by yourself, be confident in all the moments. The owner’s mood greatly impacts the puppy’s mood, too.
How Long Should Be the Daily Training Session?
Keep the training sessions short. The dog can get bored easily and lose interest in the training. Just like humans, dogs too have short attention spans. Use these facts, and don’t train the dog for more than 15 minutes a day. Then, for the rest of the day, keep repeating the commands so that he learns them. If you have other family members with you at home, ask them to make the puppy repeat the actions.
If the puppy had a training session in the morning and seems perfectly energetic in the evening, indulge him in another session. But don’t make it part of the routine.
What to Do if the Puppy Gets Distracted Easily?
Distractions will definitely surround your dog. For example, while you are asking him to come, he might have his eyes on his favorite toy, making him disobey you. If you live in a busy town, the noise of traffic outside the house can also distract the puppy. It will be even greater if you are training him in the backyard.
Besides all these distractions, it’s your responsibility to train the dog. Be more firm and a bit strict while training. If possible, seek professional help.
Puppy training has different steps, and all of them need to be carried out step by step. Start training him when he is at least 7 weeks of age. Start with obedience training and leash training. After a few weeks, give him crate training. It will make your life easier as well. Make the puppy recognize his name. Next, start with the socialization process.
Remember, it should be evolving. First at home, then in the neighborhood, and then in the parks and other places. Teach him manners. Give him potty training. Engage him in other games and activities. Make sure to treat him to encourage him. After he is a year old, revise all the training and try to take away treats so that he does not depend entirely on them.