Maybe you’ve heard veteran dog owners and novice trainers throw some advice tips about when to train your dog—and that training a puppy early is a big no-no. Right? If you’ve followed that advice, then you’re in for a big problem ahead.
One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is waiting for their puppies to grow before they teach them basic commands.
Training your pup when he’s six months old is like sending your kid to school when he’s already in his teens. Imagine all the inappropriate behaviors and entitlement he has picked up by the time he reached that age.
Although possible, it will be hard to correct the behavioral problems they have acquired while you’re procrastinating and putting off training.
Some dogs will not be too pliable to unlearn the bad and absorb the good. They might end up with anxiety, aggression, and a host of other problems that will eventually lead to euthanasia.
The best time to teach your dog
You’ll get different responses when you ask folks when is the best time to teach puppies. Some people would say you’d need to wait until your dog is 2 months to 6 months old.
The right time might be different per individual dog owner, but a good rule of thumb is to train your pup the moment he sets foot in your home.
Even a 5-week-old pup can be trained already. Of course, your methods have to be different when you’re training a few weeks’ old pup versus an adult dog.
Obedience training for pups and adult dogs: what’s the difference?
- Always use a generally positive approach,
but not purely positive that your dog is in control of your training instead of you controlling him. Giving treats is the most popular way of training dogs; you can employ this initially but don’t overdo it.
Puppies’ stomachs are small and fill up easily. Also, relying on treats means your dog will not follow your commands when he is not hungry or when he’s not in the mood.
- Keep training sessions enjoyable and fun.
Don’t overwhelm your pup with long hours of training and a number of commands all at once. You’re only setting your fur-baby to fail if you confuse him with too many things to absorb.
- Be firm in teaching commands, but do not shout or talk loudly.
Of course, there’s no need to say this, but just to emphasize, never hurt or hit your puppy when he can’t pick up as fast. When he seems tired or confused, take a break and resume training after a few hours.
- You may train your pup to walk on a leash,
but do not yank on his leash, especially when he’s wearing a collar.
- Do not teach complicated tricks to your pup.
Some difficult commands like SPIN are meant for adult dogs. Puppies are not as coordinated and they may feel frustrated if they can’t successfully execute the movement. It will be difficult for them to learn later on and your training classes will be in vain.
Five Basic Commands to Teach Your Dog
While in a squat position, open your arms and say “come.” If he walks toward you, give him a verbal praise in a cheerful tone. Do not grab him or move toward him as she gets close to you.
Squat in front of your pup. Place one hand on his rear legs while the other hand is on his chest. Apply gentle pressure on his chest, as if you are pushing him, and against his rear knees while you say the word “sit.” Reward him as soon as he is sitting.
Some owners use commands like “forward” or “let’s go” instead of heel. This command is a relaxing way of walking together: the pup is walking beside you while you are holding the leash loosely.
To do this, hold your dog’s leash in your left hand and his favorite toy (preferably a squeaky one) in your right. Position the toy in front of him while you’re walking, with the toy slightly above your dog’s head.
Make him focus his attention on the toy as you give the command. When he loses focus, squeak the toy to get his attention. Praise him when he gives attention to the toy for more than 15 seconds.
A successful stay command means your dog remains sitting until you give the release word. It can be as simple as GO or OKAY. Give the SIT command. With his leash attached, keep him in a sitting position on your left side.
Hold the leash loose while you turn your body to face him. Hold your palm open in front of his face and say STAY.
Take a few steps back. Go back to your original position after a few seconds. Put on foot on the leash so he won’t be able to jump up. Say the release word and reward him if he stays.
Let the pup sit beside you on your left side. Your right hand should be behind his front legs while your left is on his shoulders. Say DOWN while you gently push on the puppy’s shoulders. Stroke his back for a few seconds to relax him. Give him a treat or verbal praise.
Just like children, puppies have short attention spans. You better keep your training sessions short and enjoyable. At least a five-minute session, three times a day is enough.
When it starts to feel like a burden, your pup may feel frustrated. If you lack the skills to do obedience training on your own, you can have a professional do the job, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t initiate even the basics.
Because some trainers would require your dog to be vaccinated before they start with their training, it’s good to start basic lessons with them first. This will boost their learning abilities and will make it easier for them to absorb advanced lessons in the future.
Do you want to have a calm, obedient puppy that is ready for training? CLICK HERE to watch this FREE Step-by-Step Video from Doggy Dan’s Puppy Program!