The vast majority of people are under the impression that when they first get their puppy they need to wait until the dog is nearing 6 months to begin training. However, dogs can learn concepts like basic obedience through clicker training as early as four weeks old. Since most puppies don’t leave their mothers until they are at least 8-10 weeks of age, everyone with a young pup is well within the time window to begin the basics. Basic Obedience covers rudimentary skills like sitting, lying down, and walking nicely on a loose leash. All of these behaviors can be put on cue as they are innate actions for the dog to perform. Basic obedience cues aren’t tricks, which is why they’re easy for young puppies to manage once they have the proper motor skills. Young puppies are figuring out how to bond with us and learning what their boundaries are when we first pick them up from the shelter or breeder. We are their gateway to everything in life. One of the best ways to start a puppy in training is to make meal time training time. Utilizing this method you’re creating a dog that enjoys learning in order to earn their food through offering desirable behaviors that you teach him/her to follow. Don’t worry, your puppy won’t go hungry, you’re just breaking up its meals into structured training sessions instead of feeding them from out of a bowl. If you aren’t sure about where to start when it comes to training your dog, try joining a puppy class. If you’re involved in a puppy class, you’ll have a trainer to work with you as well as other new puppy parents to talk with. Professional trainers can provide you with some insight so that training your dog is a smoother and easier process. There are benefits to starting your puppy training early! The dog has less time to develop unfavorable habits, and if you have a guide along the way you’re more prepared for all those crazy in between stages like teething and the rebellious puppy teens. Starting training as early as you can is always a plus, and usually leads to a well rounded adult dog that can frequent events and outdoor bistros with you.
Early puppy training is also great because the dog gets to have plenty of experiences and it becomes easier for us, as the trainer or handler, to shape our dogs based on the interactions that they have. It’s important to remember that proper training doesn’t just revolve around whether our puppies can sit or not, but also includes their social skills and behavior when engaging with members of the same or different species. Critical development periods occur when our young dogs are blossoming into adults and if we’re there to make sure they have positive experiences along the way, this helps them become well functioning household companions. The majority of behavior issues are formed in the onset of a dog’s youth, training them early helps us not only work through those issues, but in some cases, also prevent them from developing in the first place.
If you’re interested in taking a puppy class, we offer them here at our facility. We focus on all the key points that are addressed in the AKC STAR Puppy exam so that your puppy has the best early education available. They will even be successful in passing the exam and moving on to earning their Canine Good Citizenship as their training continues.