Almost on a daily basis I am asked when can a puppy start being trained. Well that actually depends on what type of training you’re talking about, if you are talking about formal obedience training or if you’re talking about potty training.
When can you start potty training? Potty training is something that should start immediately when you bring your puppy home. This is also the perfect time to teach your puppy not to chew on your personal belongings. Personally I like the crate training method of house training. I feel that it’s the most effective and has long-lasting effects. While you’re using the crate to house train your dog it also serves as a way to eliminate a tremendous amount of chewing. Eliminating chewing at this point is very important. I tell people if you have a six month old puppy that is chewing you will have a six-year-old dog that’s chewing, so we want to stop that bad habit now.
How old should the puppy be to start obedience training? I have found that the perfect age for formal obedience training is 16 weeks old (four months). At 16 weeks their minds are like little sponges and they are able to absorb everything you want to teach them.
Quite often I’m asked can we wait for the training until the dog is a-year-old. The answer is sure you can, the only problem is in that one year your dog will develop a bunch of bad habits. By starting early hopefully the puppy will not develop those bad habits.
Another question that comes up, is a dog ever too old to train. We’ve all heard that expression you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well that just isn’t true, you can teach old dogs new tricks.
Getting your puppy used to its leash and collar is very important so when your puppy is about 8 – 10 weeks old get it a small collar and a leash and start getting it used to walking around with a leash and collar on in the house and on short walks.
So now, last but not least, do I need a professional trainer to help me train my dog. The answer is no, you don’t need a professional trainer. However it certainly would make your life easier to have one to guide you through the rough spots and teach you the proper methods of training.