Tender Care Animal Hospital


(309) 266-1182

300 E. Courtland


(309) 243-1755

9809 St. Route 91

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Puppy Training

At What Age Should I Start Training My New Puppy?

July 2018 | Posted by Tender Care Animal Hospital

The minute a new pet owner gets a puppy, the question about when to start dog training arises. Over the years there have been many different perspectives on when is the best time to begin, but sifting through all these opinions can be incredibly challenging. The "tried and true" rule had always been that training should start at six months of age. However, that is no longer necessarily true. In fact, many are seeing success with training starting as early as eight weeks of age. When training is started at an earlier age, training should take place in the home until your puppy has received his or her complete series of puppy vaccinations.

Here at Tender Care Animal Hospital, we have seen dog owners have good early success with teaching their puppy basic commands and potty-training their puppy.

Training Your New Puppy at Eight Weeks

Breeders do not typically allow owners to take their puppies home until they are at least eight weeks old. Until that time, a puppy needs to be around his or her mother and littermates to learn life skills such as bite inhibition, communication, pack order, appropriate play behavior and other fundamentals. Techniques such as clicker training, shaping, and lure-and-reward training are not stressful even for younger puppies. In fact, starting with these techniques at a young age can encourage good habits your puppy will carry into its adult life. Puppies 8 weeks old are still are a "blank slate." Eliminating bad behaviors early can make training, and therefore both dog owners' and puppies' lives easier later in life. It is best to start training and encouraging good habits from day one.

What Sort of Early Training is Best to Start?

Keep in mind that eight-month-old puppies do not know much about the world around them. This means that any training you do undertake at this early age needs to be basic and should come without correction. Don't expect to see dramatic results right away; training your puppy is a process. Still, it is reasonable to begin working on basic commands, including sitting, lying down, staying (with no distractions), rolling over and shaking hands. Eight weeks is not too early to start familiarizing your puppy with basic commands and what is expected of them when these commands are given.

Of course, every dog is different. Certain breeds will be more accepting of training earlier than others. But as soon as you puppy hits that eight-week mark, any breed should be able to learn a few basic commands. Be patient, be kind and take your time. If you can do that, you will be rewarded with big changes in your dog in just the first several weeks.

Professional Dog Training

If you find you need help from an expert dog trainer, Tender Care Animal Hospital has a trainer on staff. K9 Excellence is happy to help you with your puppy's training. Calvin and his staff offer private in-home training so that you are able to make a good start with training your puppy. K9 Excellence also offers group dog training classes or private lessons by appointment. We are proud to offer professional dog training classes that allow the flexibility for success. Whatever your training needs may be, reach out to our professional dog training team at Tender Care Animal Hospital in Morton, IL at 309-266-1182 or Peoria, IL at 309-243-1755.

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