One popular question almost every dog trainer has been asked in their career is, “when is the best age to start training my dog?” And, the answer nearly all dog parents get almost immediately is as soon as you start living with your dog. That’s basically around eight weeks of age. From the minute they walk into your door, every interaction you have with your dog is dog training. It doesn’t matter if it’s a slight touch or a single word; you are training them.
Dogs are constantly learning, and the training they receive from an early age helps lay a foundation that sets the stage for how they behave as adults. This is why it’s essential to provide your puppy with appropriate training and socialization to enable them to grow into confident adults over the years.
Basic Training Timeline
Like human education, training your dog happens in different timelines. And, it’s essential to ensure that you stick to them, as it helps your puppy learn commands quickly and remember them. Here’s a training timeline you can use to teach your puppy different commands.
7 To 8 Weeks Old
One common aspect about young puppies is that they have short attention spans. So, you can start by teaching them basic commands like stay, sit, and down. Make sure you say a cue like “sit” once. Also, use a treat to help position your dog into a specific position. Once they master a cue lie sitting, give your dog some praise and a treat.
At this age, you can also start leash training. However, it has to be indoors, as puppies aren’t fully vaccinated at this age, making it unsafe for them to walk outside with other dogs around. For this training, start by allowing them to wear the harness for a short time while giving them treats.
Once your puppy receives all their vaccinations, you can take the training outside. Then gradually increase the duration they spend with the harness slowly. Once your puppy learns how to come towards you, you can walk around with the leash on. Make sure there are no distractions.
It’s crucial for your dog to get used to being touched. And that comes with sufficient training. Start by gently rubbing your dog’s paws and ears while rewarding them. By using this method, you enable them to get used to having those areas touched. It also makes nail trims and veterinary visits less stressful even as they get older.
8 To 10 Weeks Old
It’s essential for your dog to view their crate as a calm and safe place. For this to happen, you can start bringing them to the crate every day for at least 10 minutes when they are relaxed. Also, throw in a reward for them every time they go into the crate, which will help create a healthy and positive environment.
10 To 12 Weeks
Teaching Them Not To Bite
At ten weeks, puppies become pretty mouthy. And, as they explore the world, they want to put everything into their mouth, including your ankles and hands. It’s vital for you to teach them not to bite you. Whenever they start biting your ankles or hands, ensure that you direct them to an object like a toy.
No pet parent wants to have a dog that goes to the bathroom anywhere in the house. That’s why it’s essential to create and maintain a schedule for your dog to follow when it comes to potty training. Always make sure you take your dog out every morning, after playtime, after eating, and before naps. By creating a consistent routine, your dog learns how to control their bladder. Also, every time your dog goes to the bathroom outside, reward them with a treat.
Training your dog isn’t easy, especially during the first few weeks. Here are several tips you can use that will help you keep going.
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
Every dog trainer has a different method of training a puppy. But, there’s one thing they do agree on, and that’s positive reinforcement. This is the process of rewarding your dog every time they do a particular command. This process helps to encourage them to continue behaving the way you want. However, for this method to be effective, you’ll have to find out what rewards work best for your dog. Also, every time you give your dog a treat, make sure you accompany it with praise.
Keep The Sessions Short
Puppies have a short attention span. Therefore, make sure you keep each training session short. It should average between five to 15 minutes every day. This duration allows you to end the sessions on a positive note and keep them excited for the next session.
Always make sure you are consistent in your training approach. Try to use the same hand signal or work when teaching your dog basic cues. It’s also essential to reinforce the behaviors you desire regularly. So, if your dog wants to go to the bathroom, always stop what you are doing, let them out, and immediately reward them for going outside.
Like young children, puppies are still learning and growing. And, they will make lots of mistakes and may sometimes not understand what you want them to do. Therefore, try to exercise as much patience as possible. Also, remember, puppies learn differently. So, stick with the training and don’t get too frustrated whenever your dog fails to recall a particular command.
Training your dog as early as possible allows them to enter adolescence with all the skills needed to become responsible adults. It also sets the stage for you to strengthen and solidify their skills in different settings ensuring they don’t get distracted in public places like dog parks. But, if you ever require help training your dog, Ridgeside K9 Ohio is here to help. You can visit our website for more information: https://www.ridgesidek9ohio.com/
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