Puppy Training

Dear Liz;  We recently got a new, 8 week old puppy and are wondering when she’s old enough to get into training?

Signed, Excited in Essex

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Dear Excited!

Congrats on the new baby!!!

As far as training goes, she can start right away, as long as it’s at home with you!  It is not, however, recommended that she even be allowed to touch the ground where other dogs have been until she’s fully vaccinated.  There are a LOT of germs out there and being so young, it’s very easy for her to pick them up while out walking in the park or other places where dogs tend to be, so keep her at your home until the vet says it’s ok.

Now, as for training at home, here are a few pointers!

  1. Decide on names for commands and make sure everyone uses the SAME words.  Telling your pup to “down” can mean get down, lie down or go down the stairs.  Decide which one it means and make sure EVERYONE uses the same terms.

  1. Decide which type of training you want for your puppy.  There is “clicker training”, food based reward training, praise training, etc., so figure out which one you’d like to use.  Not sure?  Ask around to see what opinions you get…
  1. Decide on a trainer!  You checked out pre-schools for your kids, so why wouldn’t you check out trainers?  Go see a few classes (without your pup) and see who you like.  If you’re going to spend the money to properly train your dog and you HATE the trainer, no one is going to benefit.
  1. Start training now!  Get basic commands started with your puppy.  It’s very easy to do, but don’t expect your puppy to have a long attention span.  Maybe 5 minutes at a time, several times a day.  Or better yet, every time you interact with your puppy, try a command!  Don’t expect a genius at first – puppies just don’t have that ability yet.  Make it a fun time and your puppy will love it.

Remember that training doesn’t just end when the class ends.  It’s an ongoing experience for both you and your puppy.  But make SURE that your pup is fully vaccinated and vetted before you start anything.

Have a blast!!!

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