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Puppy training: When should I start training my puppy?

How old was your puppy when you started training her?

I believe it’s never too early to start training a puppy. And since most puppies are already 8 weeks old or more when they go to their new homes, that is a perfect age to begin basic training.

I actually prefer to adopt dogs that are at least a year old or more. Not because they’re trained (some are, some aren’t), but because their energy levels and personalities are clear.

Still, if I ever adopt a puppy, she will be learning all kinds of tricks and commands right off the bat. She will be better than all the other puppies. 🙂

By basic puppy training, I’m referring to:

  • Potty training
  • Basic rules and manners
  • Beginning obedience commands
  • Not to pull on the leash

Zeus learned sit and stay at 12 weeks

Some puppy owners don’t begin training their pups right away. This is often because:

1. The puppy is so cute and little, so no one minds when she has bad manners.

2. The puppy’s owner is afraid of training the puppy incorrectly, so she doesn’t train the puppy at all.

3. Some puppy owners expect puppies to be naughty because that’s just what puppies do.

They’ll be better when they’re older, the owner thinks.

Well, not really. Not unless you teach her.

If someone allows a 16-week-old puppy to get away with bad manners, it won’t be long before a 9-month-old puppy is getting away with the same bad manners.

Dogs need to be taught the rules. It’s unfair to expect them to change just because they’re no longer little puppies.

So, how should someone go about training his or her puppy?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so here are some easy tips:

1. Manners and rules

What expectations do you have for the adult version of your puppy?

For example, if you don’t want your future 75-pound Lab jumping on you, then don’t allow your 7-pound puppy to jump on you.

If you don’t want your future adult Pomeranian on the bed, then don’t allow your Pomeranian puppy on the bed.

If you don’t want your future German Shepherd dog pulling on the leash, then don’t allow your puppy to do so.

2. Basic obedience training

Puppies are very capable of learning the basic commands – sit, down, stay, come.

I took my family’s golden retriever puppy to obedience classes, and she had all the basics down by the time she was 12 weeks old. A blog I follow called Alfie’s Blog mentioned that Alfie the Entlebucher mountain dog also knew the basics when he was about 12 weeks old. His owner sets a great example for her blog followers.

While every puppy will learn at a different pace, the key is just to get started teaching the basics. Work in short sessions of just 2 or 3 minutes multiple times per day. Your puppy wants to eat? Have her sit first. She wants a toy? Have her sit. Keep your goals simple and go from there.

I also highly, highly recommend enrolling your puppy in a puppy obedience class. This will give you a refresher on how to go about training your puppy, and it will give your puppy the valuable experience of socializing with other dogs her age.

3. Potty training

I won’t go into the details on puppy potty training because there is so much info out there already. I just want to add one thing:

Get rid of unnecessary steps when you are potty training a puppy.

If you want your adult dog to go potty outside, then that is where you should take your puppy.

Skip the newspapers. Skip the puppy pads. Skip the fake grass pads or whatever else. These just add confusion.

Sure, there are always exceptions. Some people live on the 20th floor in New York City apartment buildings, and it’s impossible to get a puppy outside on time.

However, most of us do not have that kind of excuse. We’re just too lazy to walk down one flight of stairs. Or we use the cold as the excuse. That’s confusing to the puppy, and it’s not fair.

If you want your adult dog to go potty outside, then take your puppy outside. Every time. Just my two cents.

For those of you who have adopted a puppy recently (or not so recently):

What is your #1 puppy training tip?

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