Sit, Stay, Come: When and Why to Start Puppy Training
So, you have a new member of your household. Congratulations! There are few things as heartwarming and joyful as adding a new puppy to your life. As you may know, puppies not only bring fun, smiles, and cuddles, but also add a whole new level of work and many questions, too.
Fear not! The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center have some great information to get you and your puppy started off on the right foot.
First Things First
To start, be aware that your puppy has been learning since birth! Good breeders start handling puppies and socializing them right away. And, your puppy will be learning just as soon as you bring them home. Early socialization and positive reinforcement help to make sure your puppy becomes a wonderful companion.
When to Start Puppy Training
In the past, formal puppy training was recommended to be started after 6 months of age. But developmentally, this juvenile stage is actually a very poor time to start. Puppies are learning from every new experience, so starting this late misses good opportunities to teach the puppy how you’d like them to behave. And, at this age, they’ve already begun to solidify behaviors that might not be desirable, requiring re-training.
Young puppies have short attention spans, but you can expect them to start to learn good socialization and housetraining as young as 7-8 weeks of age. They are learning at every interaction! Puppies can learn basic commands as early as 3-4 months of age.
The Basics Before You Begin
Make sure that your puppy is protected from disease before taking them out, by bringing him in to see us 24-48 hours after they’ve been at home with you (we should be your first trip together). We’ll talk about a safe and effective vaccination schedule.
While you’re waiting for your puppy to be able to safely go out and about, you can start to familiarize them with your touch, going slowly so as not to overwhelm. Get them used to having their body, tail, paws, ears, and mouth gently handled. As they become comfortable with this, it will be easier in the future for you to give medications, trim nails, clean ears, brush teeth, and give baths.
Why Is Puppy Training Important?
Once your puppy is protected from disease, you can begin socialization training. This early puppy training is important for many reasons. Socialization is the process of exposing the puppy to different environments, people, and pets in a controlled way, with the goal of teaching them that new experiences are good and safe. Exposing puppies to different things before they learn to be fearful can minimize fearful and aggressive behaviors in the future.
Early socialization helps build the bond between your puppy and your family. Sadly, studies show that dogs who are poorly socialized tend to develop behavioral problems that might lead to their being surrendered to a shelter. Proper socialization will help make puppies more tolerant of changes in their environment and prevent behavior problems in the future.
In puppy training classes, puppies are exposed to other puppies and their owners. This gives them the chance to safely be around other dogs, as vaccination is generally required of all participants.
In basic manners or obedience classes, puppies learn commands, such as “sit”, “stay”, and “come”. Basic obedience is not only an important way to make sure your dog is a good canine citizen, but it also ensures that they can be safely navigate the world with you. A dog who doesn’t come back when called can be a danger to others and to themselves.
Puppy training is an exciting and new way to bond with your puppy, and to start a partnership with your dog that will last a lifetime. In fact, we have puppy training and socialization classes starting soon, so check our calendar often for the next upcoming class. We’re excited to embark on this journey with you. Please contact us for more information.