When to Start Obedience Training for Puppies?
Most of us anticipate the joys of owning a puppy. But it often doesn’t go quite how we expected. Puppies are wonderful balls of curiosity and energy, but they can also be frustrating and exasperating.
If you have the proper responses to the challenges your puppy brings into your home, you will find that they will adjust faster, and it will be less stressful for you both.
When to Start Obedience Training for Puppies
Your dog is never too young or old to start obedience training. As soon as you get your puppy, there are things you should do that will start them off on the right foot. Having a routine is the most important part of making your puppy feel safe and reassured.
- Where their toys are kept
- When they get up
- When they go to sleep
- Where their bed is
- Where their bathroom is
- When they will eat
- Where their food and water is
Never think that it doesn’t matter how your dog is taught these routines. It matters. Using the right teaching method will result in a better behaved pooch that is happy with the boundaries. The wrong teaching method could result in your puppy doing what they want, leaving you frustrated and overwhelmed.
Teaching Words to Your Puppy
The two most important words to teach your puppy from the get-go are “good” and “no.” These words should be introduced at around 2 to 3 months of age. Using these words with the right body language, at the right time, with the right tone of voice will be very helpful to your pup’s training.
Use Treat Training Sparingly
Most puppies love treats, but you can’t use treat training alone to train your pup. The reason for this is that they may not do what they are asked if they are not hungry enough to want the treat. Using treats to initially teach your puppy a good behavior is fine, but once they have become proficient at it, stop the reward.
Use Respect Training a Lot
Dogs are pack animals, and you need to be the leader. A puppy who respects you will pay attention to you. Without respect, you can teach your dog routines and words, but they may decide not to do them.
Improper training from when you first get your puppy will result in disrespect. Respect training is something you need to get right – consistently and completely. One of the best ways to teach your pup respect is by using words and routines.
What if Your Dog is Older Than 3 Months?
You may think that a training schedule for a puppy is different to a training schedule for an older dog – it is not. Whether your pooch is 2 months old, 6 months old, 2 years old, or 6 years old, the training is the same and always starts with routine, words, and respect training.
Crate training, praise, correction words, daily routines, gentleness, acceptance, and house rules – these are vital to your pup’s training.
If you find that your older dog needs some training because they are not following commands, is still nipping your hands when given a treat, or is barking relentlessly, you need to start back at basics, with teaching them “good” and “no.”
Respect must come first, even if it takes months. Once you have the basics mastered, you can move on to more complex instructions like heel, stay, and sit.
As soon as you have this basic level of obedience under control, you can start to implement:
- Walking on their leash without pulling
- Going to their bed and staying in it for extended periods of time
- Coming to you when you call them – every single time
- Obeying “drop” or “give” when you want them to let go of what is in their mouth
- Wait inside a gate or door when it is open until you say they can go through it
These skills all involve your puppy learning these new words. Just remember that knowing what the word means doesn’t mean that your puppy will automatically obey the command. Starting obedience training from as early on as possible allows you to instill good behavior while weeding out bad behavior before it can take root.
By teaching your dog through respect training, their obedience level will naturally start improving over time. Puppies, much like babies, are born without a knowledge of how to act, and will continue certain behaviors if they are not taught otherwise as they are unable to tell the difference between good and bad.