Puppy Training FAQ

Are you feeling overwhelmed with puppy training? You are not the only one! Check out our experts’ answers to some of the most frequently asked puppy training questions.

What is the first thing you should train your puppy?

The first thing you should train your puppy on is proper socialization. The socialization period for puppies is 3-12 weeks, so your window of opportunity is small! Socialization likely affects many other behaviors critical for puppies as they grow into adult dogs. Capitalizing on your puppy’s socialization window is crucial to preventing more severe problem behaviors later in life. We recommend starting potty training, crate training, appropriate toy play, and socialization. Training your puppy on these topics will get them started on the right paw!

Can an 8-week-old puppy be potty trained?

The age at which puppies are potty trained depends mainly upon what is done to help teach them proper potty training. An 8-week-old puppy can be potty trained if a suitable housebreaking program is implemented with a breeder or rescue agency. With appropriate scheduling, it’s not uncommon for an 8–10-week-old puppy to sleep 8 hours at night and hold their bladder for 3-4 hours during the day. Puppies can keep their crate and home clean and should begin asking to go outside to potty.

What age should you do puppy training?

Puppy training should begin at 8-9 weeks or as soon as you get your puppy! Topics should include manners like socialization, potty training, crate training, chewing, puppy biting, and jumping. Puppies should also be introduced to collars and begin leash walking and off-leash following exercises. Obedience behaviors like sit, down, stay, come, and go to your place should start anywhere from 10-14 weeks.

What are the first 5 commands to teach a puppy?

The first 5 commands to teach a puppy are sit, down, stay, come, and heel. These basic commands can take your puppy through adulthood and into almost any environment they will be exposed to. Your puppy can learn these obedience behaviors at a young age, which will help manage problem behaviors and allow them to show off their skills in social settings, further challenging them and enriching both of your lives.

What kind of training is best for a puppy?

The best kind of training for a puppy is one that relies heavily on the use of positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a process that strengthens future behavior by the addition of a reward after a behavior occurs. Positive reinforcement encourages a puppy to love learning and the training process. Puppies can learn obedience behaviors quickly when taught using positive reinforcement, not wanting sessions to end and wanting more! The use of positive reinforcement can help reduce problem behavior by teaching puppies alternative, more appropriate ways to get what they want (e.g., attention, food, play).

What is the most effective way to obedience train a puppy?

The most effective way to obedience train a puppy is to start in a quiet and distraction-free area. Put your puppy on a leash and have them drag it in case they get distracted. Begin using a food lure to guide your puppy into the position of the obedience command. As soon as they are in place, say good and give them a food reward. Repeat as many times within 1 minute as possible. Soon you’ll be on your way to fading the food lure to a hand signal. Once your puppy complies with your hand signal, begin adding a verbal command before giving the hand signal. For example, say, “sit,” pause for 2 seconds, and deliver the hand signal.

What is the best age for puppy training?

The best age to start puppy training is 8-9 weeks or as soon as you get your puppy! Manners should begin immediately, including socialization, potty training, chewing, puppy biting, and crate training. Manners are the most significant priorities for young puppies because those behaviors are time-sensitive and typically worsen with age. Obedience training can be started as early as 8-9 weeks but are not as time-sensitive. If you are enrolling in professional training, I recommend waiting until 14 weeks so the trainer can keep your puppy’s attention for what is typically a 1-hour training session.

What are basic puppy manners?

Basic puppy manners include socialization, potty training, crate training, chewing, puppy biting, and jumping. The socialization period is from 3-12 weeks for puppies, and focus should be placed on exposing puppies to a large variety of people and other friendly, vaccinated dogs across various environments. Potty training and crate training should begin immediately after your puppy enters your home, if not before. Puppies should be provided 10-15 appropriate toys to prevent chewing and play biting, which tend to become problematic around 10-12 weeks. Jumping occurs at all ages but typically becomes quite evident —and troublesome—around 12-14 weeks of age!

What are the 3 Ds in puppy training?

The 3 Ds in puppy training are distance, duration, and distractions. Distance refers to how far away a handler is away from a dog. Duration refers to the time between reinforcers. Distractions refer to the variety and intensity of stimuli in the environment. These 3 Ds in dog training can be applied to nearly any obedience behavior.