Dogs have various developmental stages as they grow. They constantly learn from their environment, socializing with other dogs and humans, as well as from dog training.
As dog owners, we know it’s your dream to have a strong relationship with a well-behaved dog. In order to establish a solid foundation, it’s important to have your dog undergo formal training while it’s still young.
In this article, we will discuss when the best time to start dog training is, the timeline for training your pup, and valuable tips to make your dog training successful.
When Should I Start Training My Dog?
You’ve probably heard the advice that you should “start them young”. But do you ever wonder when that is, exactly? Dog trainers used to recommend that training should start when they are old enough to have completed all their vaccines.
However, the problem with this advice is that by the time they get fully vaccinated, some pups have already learned problematic behaviors. Helping your dog unlearn these undesirable behaviors proves to be more difficult than training it to follow commands and learn new skills.
A more recent recommendation from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) states that dogs with no health issues can be trained as early as 7 to 8 weeks of age. At least a week before the first class starts, your pup should have already been dewormed once and have received at least one set of vaccines.
It’s also important to emphasize that not socializing your dog enough within two to three months of its life may result in problem behaviors such as avoidance, aggression, and irrational fears that may continue until its adulthood.
Recommended Timeline for Training Your Dog
If you’ve never done this before, you probably have no idea what skills to teach your dog. So here’s a recommended timeline for dog training that you can follow as a guide.
7 to 8 Weeks Old
- Basic Commands – You can start with the most basic dog training commands such as Sit, Stay, and Come.
- Leash Training – As early as 7 weeks old, you can start leash training your pup inside your house. Because your dog likely doesn’t have a full set of vaccinations yet, It is not recommended to conduct the leash training outdoors or take it out for a walk. What you can do at this point is to just start letting your pup wear its dog collar. Do this for a short amount of time initially, while making sure that you reward it with its favorite treats. Later on, increase the duration gradually, and practice walking your pup around the house while wearing a leash. When it gets all the required vaccinations, you can proceed with training it outdoors.
- General handling – It’s important to let your dog get used to being touched. Start by gently rubbing its paws and ears while giving it exciting rewards such as treats and toys. Getting your dog accustomed to being touched can make visits to the veterinary clinic and pet groomer run more smoothly.
8 to 10 Weeks of Old
- Crate training – Buy a crate for your dog and let it stay inside for 10 minutes at a time. Aside from rewarding your dog as it enters, you can also feed it while inside so it will see the crate as its safe, personal space.
10 to 12 Weeks Old
- Not biting – Dogs use their mouth when being playful or when exploring their environment. However, training your dog not to bite is highly important, to avoid future problems. You can give your pup some chew toys to move its attention away from your hands or feet.
12 to 16 Weeks Old
- Potty training – Dogs love routine. So set a schedule for potty training and make sure to keep it consistent to help your dog learn faster. For example, you can let your puppy out in the morning, after meals, and when playtime is over. At 12 to 16 weeks, your dog should already have good bladder control and can hold it when necessary. Make sure to reward your dog every time it goes out to relieve itself.
When your dog reaches 6 months of age, expect it to be more difficult to train as this is the start of adolescence in dogs. This is the reason experts recommend starting dog training as early as possible.
Another thing to remember is that training should ideally be a continuous process. You can help your dog go beyond the basics and learn more advanced skills and cool tricks. In the end, dog training will not only stimulate the mind and body of your dog but will also strengthen your bond and improve your experience as a dog owner.
Combining adequate socialization with constant training throughout your dog’s life will turn it into a well-behaved and confident dog. Delaware K9 Academy can provide the most appropriate training based on your dog’s age and personal goals. From puppy training to private lessons and 2-week bootcamps, our experienced dog trainers can tailor our services to fit your needs.
Contact us today and let us recommend the best type of training for your dog!