When Do I Start Training My Puppy?
Looking at puppies for sale and contemplating adding a little ball of fun to your family? Puppies are so cute and cuddly that you can waste endless hours just playing around with them. It is sort of like using the Internet!
If you aren’t careful, that small bundle of joy can grow into an unruly adult. Dogs age quickly, so the question becomes when is the optimal time to start training your puppy to avoid ending up with an undisciplined terror?
Scientific tests have actually produced an objective answer. The answer is after the puppy turns 8 weeks old. Why 8 weeks? This is the point in time when most puppies become cognizant to the point they can take training. Prior to this, most of their actions are based on pure instinct and any lessons will simply not take. There was once a good bit of debate on this topic. Certain trainers felt it was important to condition the puppy a week or two after they were born. Other trainers were of the opinion waiting till the puppy was one year old was a better approach since the dog would no longer be clumsy.
Just because your puppy starts to understand and retain lessons at 8 weeks old does not mean you should put them in 24 hour training. The younger the pup, the slower they should be introduced to training to avoid overwhelming them.
You Named Me What?!
The first topic should be to familiarize the puppy with their name. The key here is positive reinforcement and eye contact. Bring your puppy into the room with you. Sit down on the ground and call your puppies name in a positive, clear voice. You puppy might look at you because you are making a noise. If it makes eye contact with you, give it a treat.
What if the puppy does not make eye contact? Wait a few seconds and calmly call its name again. Repeat this until it looks at you and makes eye contact. Then reward it with another treat. As this process continues, the puppy will start to associate the name with a positive reaction from you and eventually realize this odd word is their name.
When conducting this training, be very careful about what you say. Simply put, don’t say anything other than the puppies name. This will just cause confusion for the pup. For example, do not say “Come Maggie.” Just stick with “Maggie.”
A second issue to pay very close attention to is your tone of voice. If you start to get frustrated or angry, stop the lesson. Dogs are highly tuned to tones in sounds. If they start to associate anger or fear with their name, you have a massive problem on your hands. This is the last thing you want to teach your puppy.
Puppies are fairly simple to train once they get comfortable with the process. Make sure to wait till your little fur ball turns 8 weeks old and then slowly start introducing them to new concepts. Before you know it, your cute little puppy will be a well behaved adult.