How much is that puppy in the window? The one with the waggly tail?
We all know that classic childhood song, but most of us don’t do our shopping at pet stores anymore. And even if we did, how much the puppy costs shouldn’t be your first concern.
Instead, the song should go, “How well behaved is that puppy in the window?” Because as cute as puppies are, training them is a lifelong commitment.
Want to know when you should start training a puppy and start that lifelong commitment? Learn about puppy age development and training milestones below.
Things to Know About Puppies
If you’re getting a puppy from a breeder or a litter, you know that you can’t separate the pup from its mother until at least six weeks.
Why? The puppy still depends on its mother and its siblings for developmental cues and actions during that time. Taking a puppy away too early puts it at a disadvantage and can lead to behavioral issues down the line.
So, unless you’re fostering a litter, don’t bother training a pup until you’re able to take them home.
Once they’re old enough to be on their own and have most of their shots, they can start training!
Just like infants, you shouldn’t put too much pressure on very young puppies. It’s more important that they play and learn to socialize nicely with other dogs during this period than it is for them to learn to sit or speak.
Call your local pet place, vet, or even dog boarding center to find out about any ongoing puppy playgroups.
We don’t recommend taking a puppy to the dog park when they’re still very small unless you’re going to be next to them the entire time.
When You Should Start Training a Puppy to Go Outside
One of the hardest things you’ll go through with your puppy is potty training. It’s just as hard as training a human, except there are colder (or wet) trips outside involved.
While you can praise your puppy for going potty on pads around the house, don’t expect them to start training, for real, until twelve to fourteen weeks old.
Before that, they don’t have the bladder control to hold their pee until they get outside.
Our best tip for the pre-potty stage is to invest in an excellent enzyme-based carpet spray cleaner and get your carpets professionally shampooed once your dog stops having regular accidents.
How to Train a Dog at Home
Just like there are multiple ways to teach a human the same skill, there are different ways to train puppies. Your best bet is to find online dog training courses that fit the way you want to interact with your pup!
That way, you have the most choices and flexibility with your schedule.
Consistency is Key
No matter what training method you choose, the key is consistency. It’s hard to say no to that little face, but being consistent with your training will benefit you both down the line.
If you have other questions about when you should start training your puppy to do different things, give your vets’ office a call. They’re professionals, after all!
Good luck – and let us know how it goes!