How Quickly Can You Start Training Your Puppy?
Puppies are just like toddlers- it's all about clumsy crawls, bursts of energy, full of fun and plays. But it's baffling for puppy owners how quickly these little fur babies grow up right in front of their eyes. While most of us are in awe of our adorable puppies and their silly activities all around the house, we need to remind ourselves that our puppies are growing up. Nipping in our arms may turn into strong bitemarks; clumsy wiggling could turn into destructive tornadoes. In other cases, puppies with a lack of socialisation, physical-mental-verbal stimulation grow up to be sad, unsocial dogs with separation anxiety and other psychological issues.
Undermining a dog's physical strength, aggression, and mental state often result in incidents uncalled for. This is why pet experts and veterinarians always recommend puppy schooling as soon as the pups are old enough to get their vaccines and boosters. The right puppy training school helps your little friend become more obedient, friendly and social with more controlled behaviours. Puppies with a happy childhood and proper early-age training grow up to be the best companions you can ever ask for.
Puppy Training Timeline -
Six weeks is the earliest puppy age when you can start using external stimulation to your puppies. 6 weeks old puppies are still tiny, out-of-the-world adorable babies who spend most of their time sleeping and napping. They are barely ready to switch their daily meals from milk and puppy food to other solid food so that you can start your puppy schooling with crate training. Puppies are very delicate and clumsy at this age, and collars or leashes are not recommended. So to avoid any accident while they are playing around, training those to stay within the crate and be comfortable in their own little den filled with chewable toys could be the first step of puppy training at home. By the time they are 7 weeks old, they become quite playful and need more space to wiggle around. So consider expanding their main playground area and keep the breakable items away.
6-8 weeks may be too early for potty training, but puppies around this age can barely hold their bladder for more than 2 hours. So along with crate training, what you can do is to prepare a routine for your puppy that includes taking him to a particular elimination spot every 2-3 hours. Lastly, encourage your little furry friend to be brave and explore different corners of the house or other toys. Give them proper verbal and visual stimulations with positive human interaction to develop a connection with their surroundings quickly and organically.
Puppies at 8-10 weeks are still very tiny and irresistible. If you happen to bring a puppy at that age, you will be lucky to be a part of all the transition periods and development phases your little buddy goes through. Around this age, puppies are still very much dependent on their owners for pretty much everything. So while you're spending a great amount of time with your pup, you might as well start home training with playful steps and tricks. Puppies this young have a very short attention span, so you need to be patient and consistent with the gentle teaching process. If that doesn't work, lure them into it with delicious treats. You can teach them basic positions like "sitting", "standing", and “staying" which puppy schools excel at training effortlessly.
The most crucial part of home training your puppy in this phase should be potty training. Initially, it might not be easy to teach them how to hold it indoors and eliminate it only at some specific spots outdoors. So for the starter, you can arrange paper and puppy pads for your pups to eliminate. Monitor your puppy's diet and daily activities when setting up a schedule. Next, walk your puppy to the same spot at the scheduled time. This will help the puppy learn when and where to go when s/he has. Remember, your puppy is still very young. No matter what, always try to keep a positive, loving environment for them, so they grow up to be happy, confident, well-behaved, social dogs and your best companions.
12- 20 Weeks
Twelve weeks is the common age for puppies to be adopted and rehomed. Puppies usually don't get stimulations from new places, animals or people before 12 weeks. So even though puppies' activities are still only limited to play, eat, drink, sleep and eliminate- you will notice some physical and behavioural changes. For example, they may want to eat more than before and be active longer than before. Puppies around this age range are also extremely playful and curious about their surroundings. It's estimated that puppies at this age have almost 80% developed brains. This means they start to learn what they like, what scares them or what makes them feel safe. So understanding the emotional growth phase your furry friend is in and making them feel warm and comfortable is very important to fasten a lifelong bond you always hoped.
Around the age of 16-20 weeks, puppies grow up to be more curious, so this is the ideal time for you to start socialising with your pup. Take them for a daily walk, give them treats, and introduce them to other animals and friendly strangers. Ideally speaking, 12-18 weeks is the age range you would like to start training your puppy with positive experiences and regulating their behaviour with fun and educational training methods.
6 Months and Above
Puppies are constantly learning from their surroundings, regardless of their age. While puppy owners should mostly focus on training puppies early, training puppies above six months and more could be easier in some cases, with proper mental and physical stimulation. However, delayed puppy training inevitably means some missed opportunities for the puppies to adapt some behavioural traits. Why?
At the age of 6 months, puppies reach their adolescent period or development stage, which involves major physical and behavioural changes. Different motor skills to the physical development, so your puppy might start exhibiting some general traits of territorial dominance, including growling, nipping, raised hackles, staring, low-range barking. These aggressive traits might not be directed towards you, but it might become a problem around houseguests, strangers or other puppies. So once your pup is around this age, don't take the risk of schooling them all by yourself. Let the training phase begin in a friendly environment by local trainers at a puppy school as soon as possible. As puppies start solidifying adult behavioural patterns around this age, they might get a little out of control at times. So last but not least, get your pup to get used to collars and leashes.
When to Hire a Professional Puppy Trainer
One of the biggest setbacks of do-it-yourself puppy training is the lost time. When it comes to training and disciplining puppies, they require undivided attention on a daily basis. Unfortunately, many puppy owners don't make puppy training a priority because of their busy schedules.
However, what they don't realise is, little puppies being goofy and fumbling around with curiosity and job grow up to become uncontrollable little monsters with endless energy and full-blown intimidation. Accidents and injuries caused by poorly trained grown-up dogs are very common in Australia. Some of these aggressive and out-of-control dogs end up being dropped off at shelters, which is solely a result of lousy and irresponsible dog parenting.
Whereas most pet experts recommend engaging and educational puppy training school for the pups of 8 weeks onwards, many puppy owners these days prefer to train their puppies at home by themselves. However, if you happen to be one of the lucky few to successfully train your puppy without professional help, we congratulate you!
But if you are new to puppy parenting and have a busy work life, don't waste your puppy's precious time and valuable moments of reinforcing good behaviours. Unless you can give your puppy consistent training schemes using modern, punishment-free methodologies right at home, consider From a Dog's View puppy training school conducted by professional trainers with hands-on experience. If you reside in Melbourne, you can find our puppy school nearby Moonee Ponds and Yardville. Our six-week puppy program is segmented into 6 lesson categories, including structured training and playtime for pups between 8-14 weeks of age. Our highly interactive and skill-based puppy schooling program covers all the lessons puppies need to learn in a warm and friendly environment, surrounded by loving companions and super supportive trainers.