When Should I Start Training My Dog?

The second you meet your dog!

Dogs learn on their own every second from every association and every consequence. Whether you like it or not, you’re training your dog from the get go!

You should begin training your puppy the moment you bring him home because he is learning anyway. Use positive reinforcement to teach your puppy to come when called and sit politely for petting. Immediately begin training an automatic sit, lots of eye contact, and response to name. You can begin to train anything right away. Do not wait! Join a group class or take a private lesson to get started off on the right foot.

Socialization goes hand in hand with dog training. Do note that socialization does not simply include meeting dogs or a visit to the petstore. It’s about teaching your dog what’s expected him in certain situations like waiting politely when guests arrive. The pet store is still the best place to socialize.

Socialization also means very carefully evaluating if you puppy is afraid of something and addressing it with a Certified Trainer. This key socialization period is about 8 to 14 weeks. You can see why its important to get that first set of shots as early as possible! You never want to delay this~

Please view this link to Dr. Sophia Yin’s excellent socialization checklist!  It’s an opportunity to explore the things that you probably do not realize you needed to socialize. Remember that phobias and fears frequently escalate.

But what happens when your vet says that your puppy needs all 3 rounds of shots and rabies before leaving the house? Just in case, print out the linked articles for your vet. Ultimately make being an advocate for your dog is the most important part!

The real problem is your veterinarian may not be aware of the guidelines from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB). The AVSAB “encourages veterinarians to recommend puppies be socialized before the vaccine series is complete.”

This is serious business. While veterinarians are appropriately concerned about infectious disease in young puppies, the fact is that behavioral issues—not infectious diseases—are the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age, according to the AVSAB

Then, keep training some more. Your dog continues to learn as he grows up, and you’ll want to keep his skills fresh and his manners polite. Continue to reinforce behaviors you like with attention, pets, playtime, and occasionally treats. Consider taking a few group classes all the way until you earn your Canine Good Citizen award – more on that later.