Dog owners should start training a puppy starting at seven weeks of age. In the past, many professional dog trainers and veterinarians suggested owners wait to train young puppies until they had received all their vaccinations. However, this meant that many new puppies began obedience training after a critical socialization period in their lives, which typically began when they were three weeks old and ended at four months of age Aggressive dogs.
Most behavioral problems – including fear, aggression and avoidance – take hold by eight weeks of age, making the training process challenging for new dog owners. For this reason, many trainers, veterinarians, and animal behaviorists encourage pet parents to begin socializing their puppy at seven or eight weeks of age, as long as the dog has no health problems. Training in basic commands and leash manners can also begin at this early stage of the puppy’s life; More complex challenges, such as crate training and toilet training, can continue between ten and sixteen weeks of age.
Dog owners can follow a training program with their new puppy. Here are suggestions on where to start when training a puppy:
- Socialization: The basis of dog training is socialization, which consists of presenting your puppy with new stimuli. Socialization begins in the early stages of puppyhood – between three and twenty weeks of age – to acclimatize him to his new home and environment. Introduce puppies to family members and other dogs, expose them to loud noises, and discourage bad habits such as biting or chewing.
- Basic Commands: Teach your puppy the basic obedience commands – sit, stay and come – at seven or eight weeks of age. Give him the verbal cue for each command and use a treat or kibble to guide him to his position. Once he’s done the command, reward him with the treat and plenty of positive reinforcement, or let him know he’s earned a treat with a clicker before giving him the reward.
- Leash Training: Seven to eight weeks is also the right age to start leash training a puppy. Begin leash training indoors until the puppies have received all of their vaccinations. Start by attaching a leash to your dog’s collar and letting him wear it for short periods of time, while offering treats to encourage him to come to you. Once the puppy is on command, allow him to walk inside without the leash, and then move the training sessions outside when he is fully vaccinated.
- Crate Training: Puppies are ready to learn crate training between eight and ten weeks of age. Start by putting the puppy in the crate for ten minutes each day, and reward him with treats and positive reinforcement when he remains calm in the crate. Gradually increase the time spent in the crate: An eight- to ten-week-old puppy can spend thirty to sixty minutes a day in the crate, while adult dogs have enough toilet training to stay in the crate for up to five hours.
- Potty training: Start training your puppy when he is between twelve and sixteen weeks old. The key to puppy training is a consistent schedule. Start by establishing a “potty” – a place where the puppy pees and poops outside – and take him there at regular intervals throughout the day. Puppies need to go to the bathroom when they wake up in the morning, after meals, water and naps, after leaving the crate, and before going to bed at night.
- Walks: Start walking with your puppy when he is between sixteen and eighteen weeks old and acclimatized to wearing a collar. Have your puppy sit before you start walking for the first time, and then cue him to move with a clicker or a verbal command. Initial walks should be short, and over time increase the distance before extending the walks or going to places like a dog park.