That Puppy is Too Young to Train!
Whew! I hope that caught your attention, because it is time to debunk some myths when it comes to dog training; and reveal why once this might have been true!
I can’t tell you how often I have heard “I don’t train my puppies until they are 6 to 9 months” or worse “2 years!”
I think each time my mind hears this; I have a small stroke inside and I am afraid I don’t hear much afterwards at least for a while.
I actually get criticized in some circles for “obedience training too young”.
This is ridiculousness if you ask me; but then I stop to wonder WHY anyone would subscribe to this kind of mentality or thinking.
If I think about it or you think about it you will realize it is because people are used to using compulsion corrections, and training collars when they think about dog training.
And, in that context I would have to agree; any dog is too young for those types of training tools ;)
Most Hidden Fence Brands…
Recommend that a puppy be at least six months old. Why? They recommend this because incurring a shock or an incredibly negative stimulus can be traumatizing.
The same is true for prong collars, choke chains and other devices used to force a puppy to comply.
So when someone says “That puppy is too young to train” I remember they must be under the impression that I am forcing him in some way to comply with my commands.
But They are WRONG!
I am convincing him that it is in his best interests to comply to my commands and to listen to me and pay attention to what I like.
I begin training my puppy the moment his cute little paws cross my door frame and perhaps the minute he is enveloped into the security of my arms. Everything from there on out is a training experience and opportunity to teach him what I like and therefore what is rewarding to him!
I can’t imagine waiting till a dog is 2 years old to begin training. EGADS! Can you imagine the behavior problems and high probability of aggression and entitlement he would have?
This is a big reason dogs and puppies end up in shelters. People are waiting for some distinctive time to get started and instead they just get stuck in a rut of not training at all.
The dog gets everything he wants, or worse, he gets ignored and so he begins to feel like he is entitled to everything he wants and needs in this life.
People are creating monsters that are very hard to curb at a later date!
You start right away the moment your puppy enters your house and you begin rewarding the good behavior you want to continue to see. You reward your puppy with praise and with a treat when he sits, lays down, keeps all four feet on the ground, goes in his crate etc.
Once he begins to understand what you like he will begin to show these behaviors to you more often.
Then you can introduce the clicker (for more on that click here).
And once he understands the game and the value of the “click” you can begin to shape his behavior and get him to do exactly what you want him to do.
By starting out young you are avoiding bad habits and bad behaviors and teaching your dog from the start what life with you is like and what your expectations are.
I Started at 6 Weeks (more on not getting a puppy that young here)
When I brought my young baby home, I got started right away.
By the time he was 9 weeks old he was potty trained and he could also, sit, lay down, put his head down, give me eye contact, and was beginning to learn stay!
Because I don’t use force, there is no reason for me not to start as soon as possible. And although he is still a naughty puppy sometimes, he is better than most puppies his age!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.