So when is it good to start training your puppy? Is it ever too late? Or too soon?
Those are questions we hear often.
I guess the first thing to realize is that dogs at all ages are constantly looking for information from you and from the environment, and they take note of consequences. Everything that happens to a dog of any age makes an impression and consequently elicits a response that affects behavior.
I see “training” a dog as a way of life; how you interact with your animal companion day in and day out. Which behaviors you purposely reinforce as you move through the day is what makes for the best kind of reinforcement.
A “lesson” is time you set aside to teach the dog a particular set of skills is necessary to allow the dog to practice and fully understand what your given cues mean.
So yes, training games should be part of our lives, but if that’s all you do you will have a rather erratic result. Then all of the dog’s skills are divorced from the actual practical and useful application.
When it comes to timing (when should you start), I am more interested in finding the best opportunity for the dog to be open and enthusiastic about taking in specific information and playing along with the teacher. In my experience harping on one particular skill too long or getting obsessed about fully teaching something in one fell swoop can be detrimental both to the dog and the human. When frustration and desperation about timelines enter the picture it’s not good at all.
An example of that would be if you asked your dog out of the blue to shake paws with a stranger on the sidewalk and the dog is too distracted and you respond with disapointment “ he did it in class” or “he did it for the trainer” kind of situation.
So my answer to the question: When is it best to “start” training? As soon as you bring your puppy home and as you long as you have your dog! The lessons will be different but always valuable and enriching.
We believe that best results are achieved when “training” is not only a fun and happy time for both the human and your puppy but actually an integral part of how you relate to one another. We embrace positive reinforcement in our force free training and thrive on your success with your new puppy.
Let us help you and your puppy develop good habits that last a lifetime.