When Should I Start Training My Puppy?

April 22, 2022

Training Schedule for Puppies

Ready to get started training your new puppy but unsure where to start? Let’s breakdown your training goals by your puppy’s age and development! 

Puppy Training Goals by Age

8-10 Weeks

This is typically the age when most puppies join their families! They are adorable little fluff balls and may sleep a lot the first week you bring them home. This is the perfect time to start their new routines in your home. We would recommend focusing on the following goals during this time – 

  • Start a potty training routine
  • Crate Training
  • Introduce your puppy to appropriate toys 
  • Puppy-safe socialization 
  • Name Recognition/following exercises 
  • Bonding with the family 
  • Introducing a leash

10-14 Weeks

Now that your new puppy has likely settled in, their little personalities will be on full display! If you are just now getting your puppy, start back at our 8-10 weeks goals. For everyone else, lets continue with these training goals – 

  • Continue our potty training routine 
  • Continue crate training 
  • Puppy-safe socialization – This is your highest priority!
  • Introducing appropriate manners 
  • Continue offering appropriate toys and monitoring chewing
  • Introduce leash walking 
  • Introduce the “come” command 
  • Body handling exercises
  • Preventative resource-guarding exercises
  • Create an appropriate food economy 
Dog Stages and What to Expect

14-20 Weeks

Your puppy will likely be fully vaccinated during this time and is ready for even more adventures! Their attention spans are also increasing and are ready for longer training sessions. Socialization will remain your number one priority. We can always teach a dog to “sit” but there is no substitute for proper socialization at an early age. If you are just now getting your puppy start back at our 10-14 week training goals. For everyone else, lets continue with these training goals – 

  • Maintain the potty training routine – Your puppy should be sleeping through the night 
  • Maintain crate training- Your puppy should be sleeping through the night along with being crated any time you can not supervise them. 
  • Continue puppy-safe socialization – Your puppy should see a minimum of 25-30 people and dogs per week. This does not mean that they should interact with everyone! 
  • Continue working on appropriate manners, especially in public – it is hard to resist an adorable puppy! 
  • Continue monitoring your puppy if they are out with you and offer 8-12 appropriate toys at all times. 
  • Continue body handling and preventative resource guarding exercises
  • Start practicing recall in public 
  • Improve leash walking around heavy distractions
  • Start formal obedience training
  • Continue using an appropriate food economy

5-7 months

Your little puppy will likely be looking more like “teenager” at this point and potentially acting like one as well! You should begin reaping the benefits of all the work you’ve done to this point! Potty training accidents should be a thing of the past, along with losing shoes and any “land shark” behavior. Socialization continues to be a primary focus of your puppy’s development. Remember, it is not enough for your puppy to only “see” people, dogs, noises etc but we also need to develop positive associations with them. If you are just now getting your puppy, start back at our 14-20 weeks goals. For everyone, else lets continue with our training goals- 

  • Your puppy should be fully potty trained- great work! 
  • Your puppy should be completely comfortable in their crates – nicely done! 
  • Overall, your puppy has great manners – Fantastic job! 
  • Continue focusing on socialization. Aim for 25-30 new people and dogs, along with new environments and playing with other friendly dogs.
  • Improve/maintain leash walking and recall skills around different environments and distractions. 
  • Improve/maintain all obedience commands around different environments and distractions. – Remember, if you do not use it, you lose it! 

7-12 Months

Can you believe your puppy is almost 1 years old?! You have done a fantastic job preparing your puppy for all life’s adventures and you are ready to enjoy them! If you are just now getting your puppy, start back at our 5-7 month old training goals. For everyone else, we recommend continuing all of the following exercises until your dog reaches maturity around 18 months – 2 years old

  • Continue socializing your puppy to different people, dogs and environments. You should also continue to be selective of which dogs your puppy interacts with. You should look for dogs that look like “Jello”, loose and wiggly! If you see a dog that is engaging in lots of staring and is very stiff, I would recommend not meeting that dog, especially if they are on leash. 
  • Continue working on your dog’s body handling and preventative guarding exercises. 
  • Maintain/improve your dog’s obedience skills 
  • Continue crating your dog when you leave the house until they are at least 1 year old. 
  • Have fun!