This is a question asked by many new puppy and dog owners. Although, you will get different answers from various trainers, the truth is it’s never too early. Dogs and puppy’s begin to learn behaviors very quickly. This can be a good thing, however they can also develop bad behaviors as well. As you can imagine the jumping of a young puppy is cute when they are little, however when they get to be much larger it can become a nuisance for you and guest. By reinforcing correct behaviors early on we can make training easier as the dog matures. An example of this comes when a dog scratches/jumps at a door to be let outside. If we wait until the dog relaxes before letting them out we begin to tech a desired behavior. Later if we need our dog to wait for food or toy they will be more likely to do so. This is because we have made them wait for something they wanted before like going outside. Even slight body cues and verbal words your dog will pick on soon. Most of us have experienced that the sound of a treat bag will get your dog’s attention. Now they didn’t know what that sound was early on, however it was developed quickly by that certain sound meaning food. As you can see starting early is beneficial. I don’t expect an 8week old dog be learning how to jump through hoops, but beginning with basic obedience and shaping behaviors is a great start.
Here are some tips on where you can begin training with your new puppy or dog.
-Short training sessions (2-5 minutes) 3 times daily.
-Teach hand lure with treats.
-Redirect your dog with a toy whenever he or she is chewing on something that’s not allowed.
-Having your dog wait at the door before it opens.
-Use positive reinforcement when teaching basic behaviors (ie: sit, down, going potty outside, ect).