The old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog, new tricks,” is not accurate. However, it is true that it is easier to train a puppy than to raise a full-grown dog. This is because dogs are, to a large extent, learning all the time. They, like humans, are constantly learning something new every day. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, it’s best to teach your puppy as early as possible. So, when should you start puppy training?
Many people have asked, what would be the appropriate age to train puppy? Many believe that when your pet is 2 weeks old, that’s the correct age to begin training. In fact, there is no definite age to embark on your puppy training, it really depends on how fast your puppy learns.
Obviously, the earlier you start training your puppy, the sooner he will be able to learn. Dogs who are 3 to 4 weeks old would need more time and effort to be trained and get used to people. This is also the time that they should begin to socialize with other dogs. No dog can learn socialization if they are not introduced to other dogs.
Week 4 to 7 is another very important time in which most puppies picking up their learning. They learn everything they know from their mother till week 7. They are then either weaned or put up to a new home. If they are orphaned or abandoned after the 7 week, then it is unlikely that they will ever get proper socialization. They will always suffer from fear.
So yes, week 7 is very important in a puppy’s life. It is advisable to adopt puppy older than 7 weeks so that he already gets used to people from all different walks of life.
It is also important to begin training your puppy in small steps. Just like small children, a puppy has a short attention span and is only interested in playing. Most puppies attention span is only between 2 to 3 minutes, and anything beyond this time frame is too lengthy, and your puppy will lost his attention, making your training ineffective. You will need to be patient and consistent in your training routines.
Begin with a basic command, such as a “sit” or “wait.” Every time your puppy sits, give him a treat as a reward. If he doesn’t sit, you can repeat the command. Most puppies pick up the command faster when you repeat it several times. Soon he will do the action -“sit” when he hears the word “sit”. With enough practice and repetition, your dog would be able to pick up this command and execute it correctly.
There are also some interesting techniques for teaching your puppy to “stay”. This is done by placing a treat in the center of your puppy’s eye line, and then moving the treat away from him. Your puppy’s nose will naturally follow the treat and he will go to the spot that you had defined and wait there patiently. When he had done that, give him his favorite treat. Eventually, your puppy will learn to stay where you indicated.
There are some important points to remember about training puppies:
1. Don’t ever strike the puppy or punish him. It will be counterproductive and can cause future behavior problems.
2. Always reward your puppy for good behavior. Remember, punishment often leads to fear, which can lead to aggression.
3. Puppies have short attention spans. For best results, keep training sessions short.
4. Train your puppy every day. Make sure you devote personal time to help with the training.
5. Make sure your puppy has all its immunizations shots, and take him to the vet regularly for checkup.
6. Keep your puppy on a feeding schedule. This will encourage him to control his potty.
Keep in mind that using physical punishment to train dog is very negative and counter-productive. Your dog will develop ingrained fears and aggressive behavior both at home and when socializing with other dogs.
You should plan to take your puppy outside at least every 4 hours. Each time you take your puppy outside to eliminate, say “go potty” clearly and enthusiastically. Throw treats on the ground as your puppy is learning to go potty. He will begin to associate going potty with getting treats. By encouraging and praising him for going potty, he will begin to understand that this is what you are expecting from him.
When your puppy has an accident in the house, he must be instantly corrected. Never hit him. Striking your puppy is abuse and is counterproductive. The only punishment you could give would be a loud clap. This will get your puppy’s attention and he will drop whatever he was doing and pick up your attention promptly.
Puppy potty training is the first step to establish a good behavior in your dog. It takes time, patience, and effort, but you’ll be sure to see “rewards” coming soon.