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When Should I Start Training My Puppy?

People often ask, “when should I start training my puppy?” The answer depends on a number of factors, and when it comes to training a puppy, there are some things to take note of. From the breed of the dog to its environment, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. So, in this guide, we’ll talk about when you should start training your dog—plus, some tips on training.

When Should You Start To Train A Puppy?

Training a puppy is the best way to set you and your dog up for success. It will create a balance between you both, and the results will be worth it. There are a few things to consider before deciding when to start training a puppy, but before we talk about that, let’s look at some reasons training a puppy can be difficult and also how it can be easy.

The Misconception

When people have a puppy and it’s dragging them down the road, jumping off the walls, and barking to its heart’s desire, the person often thinks the dog is the issue. Wrong. The biggest misconception in dog and puppy training is that you are training the dog. In most cases, you are actually training the human! There are tons of behaviors and habits we have as humans that are not conducive to training. The number-one step before training a dog is to train yourself. You have to be aware of your behavior, how you talk, how you reward the dog, how you eat, sleep and the list goes on.

Consistency is the single most important part of any training program and must be taken seriously. If you lack consistency, the training will not stick as well as it could. The effectiveness of training is just as much dependent on your behavior as it is on the dog’s effort.

With all that being said, let’s talk about some other things that may affect your training experience.


What breed is your dog? Depending on the breed of dog, the urgency and intensity required to train will fluctuate. Take, for example, the basenji, a high-energy, intelligent and often very stubborn dog. In a case like the basenji, training should begin as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may create more work for yourself down the road as the dog matures and becomes more set in their ways. Although, it is a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You definitely can.

On the other hand, there are breeds like labs and golden retrievers, and while they can be high-energy, they are much more obedient and manageable. These puppies should be trained as soon as possible, but there certainly is not the urgency as with a basenji. The willpower of some dogs is much greater than others. Some dogs give into submission much quicker than others, and all dogs are different—even if they’re the same breed.


When dogs are puppies, they are much like human babies, think: sponges. The sooner you can teach, socialize and train a puppy, the better. The key here is to take note of the different periods of dog training. At 8 weeks, the age at which most puppies are adopted, training should begin. At this age, puppies can learn basic commands such as sit, down, stay and come.


Where your dog is trained is another critical part of the effectiveness of training. Do you only do training sessions at a puppy class? Do they train exclusively in the yard? The truth is, training for any dog needs to take place everywhere, all the time. If you only train a dog in one location at the same time every day, the dog will know when and where to behave. To avoid this and create a more complete training regimen, focus on doing small training sessions throughout the day with things like stay or heel.

No Age Is Too Old

It’s never too late to get started training your dog. If you hear anyone talking about how old a dog is and how it’s too late, ignore that. While any dog can be tricky, there are tons of resources out there that can help you every step of the way. From books to YouTube to our in-house trainers and programs at Care First Animal Hospital, you are sure to succeed!

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