Spoiler alert: there is no one specific age to start training your dog. There are only age-specific drills. And this is why we say so:
Dogs, like most intelligent animals, start learning as soon as they are born. However, at that stage, they have a short memory span. So, your puppies might not be ready to take your complex commands yet.
Even with the short memory spans, puppies can sense their environment and mimic their parents. And that is why it’s best you don’t patronize illegal puppy mills. If you do, your puppy would have learned the feeling of withdrawal, rejection, and fear from the mum at an early stage.
Unfortunately, behaviors set at such early stages are difficult to break. In other words, a sad puppy will grow into an emotional wreck that is hard to train.
We doubt you’d like that – a sad dog that rebukes training!
So, do well to buy your puppy from registered breeders that use pet-friendly techniques and make their dogs feel loved. Puppies from such sources learn happiness from an early stage and are easy to train.
That said, let’s get back to the question but with a mild adjustment: what age is your dog fit for your command training?
The simple answer: as soon as you get the dog from the breeder! And that is often 2 months.
However, note that you can’t bombard your 2-month old puppy with various training commands. Instead, adjust the drills into age-appropriate schedules where your dog can assimilate them with ease. But how?
This post will guide you!
Here, we have itemized what you can train your dog starting from 2 months until it’s a year old. Sounds great – doesn’t it?
Let’s get to the details then!
5 Age Timelines To Kick-start Training Your Dog: The Age And The Corresponding Command
You probably just ushered the new puppy from the breeder at this age. So, only teach it the basics. What basics?
- Potty training
- Name recognition
- “Sit” and “come” commands
The first thing you want to teach your puppy is about the potty. Failure to do so and your house will be a mess soon.
About potty training, you should first figure the limit your puppy can go before needing a break. You can do that by dividing the age of your dog (in months) by 2.
In the case of a 2-month old puppy, the dog has a 1-hour threshold before needing another potty break.
After the potty training, the next important detail is name recognition. Since you will be calling your pet that in the long run, it is best that you tune the name into your puppy’s ears early – and with treats and conditioning.
After name recognition, you should also start socializing your puppy with the environment. About that, commence this stage with only your close friends and family.
Lastly, start with the basic obedience command such as sit and come. And from there, you can move to the succeeding timeline.
At this age, you will increase your dog’s obedience commands. About that, you can now add commands such as “down.”
Either way, you should stock your treat store. You will need the rewards to appreciate your dog’s efforts. And it’s also a key instrument to make your puppy learn fast.
This stage is also when you will know if your pet is restless. If indeed your dog loves playing, you should introduce a few fetch games. This age is also a time to introduce a leash.
Furthermore, improve the socialization you did at 2months. This age is the time to meet new people and unknown environments. Take your puppy on walks and let it learn of the usual noises around the neighborhood.
Lastly, introduce control training. By that, we mean disciplining your dog to wait before rewards and treats.
By now, your dog is more matured and has already passed basic command training. It’s okay to start the complex schedules now.
But, pedal down on the complexity. How so?
Remember to stick to short phrases, and instead of devising new ones, combine the old commands.
About the combination, arrange the commands in series that are fun and engaging for your dog. If it gets the sequence right, don’t stop. Keep repeating the routine and do well to appreciate the efforts with a treat.
After, repeat the schedule both indoor and outdoor. In particular, try the command outside your usual training locations to see if your dog still responds. If it does, go over to the next phase:
Introduce your dog to other dogs. We will advise that you do that with vaccinated puppies of about the same age as your pet.
At this age, your puppy should practice the commands more in public places and outside the home. To spice the training, take your dog to new locations such as parks.
Once you get to these new locations, first let your dog look around and play. After, do a roundup on the commands you’ve trained so far and see if your puppy still remembers it.
Another thing you want to improve here is the heel and leash command. Your puppy is growing old and big fast; you don’t want it causing a public nuisance. For that reason, re-evaluate your control commands and reinstate calmness even while in public places with distractions.
Lastly, it is high time you stopped rewarding your puppy with food and treats. Start praising it with words.
Remember your “good boy” commands! This age is when you use them more with gestures and stroke on the back. Doing this will save you from expenses on treats and also mark the maturity of your dog.
6 Months – 1 Year
By now, your puppy should have mastered all of your commands. By that, we mean it understands potty, crate, and outdoor commands. More importantly, your puppy has a solid lead on public conduct.
Say your pet meets all the stated standards, then, good work! But don’t stop training just yet. Instead, add a new level of spice.
At this age, try to utter your commands from afar. Another thing you should do is introduce more distractions. Now, check if your pet still obeys.
If it does, increase the duration of the commands and keep doing so. Remember that training never stops. So, do well to continue the routine and introduce new tricks. Else, your dog will get bored.
We hope this has been helpful!