Puppy Training – Did you know that by the age of seven weeks, your puppy’s brain is fully developed? That means that by the time they’re ready to come home with you, they’re ready to start learning.
In this article, I’m going to tell you about a puppy training schedule by age as well as by the progressions and what level they should be at so that you can give your new puppy the perfect possible start. I’m Malik Waqar and welcome to P4pets.net knowing what you should be doing with your puppy and when is confidence building for any puppy owners. It’s also a great way to measure progressions, and that’s what I want you to think about. Now, before we start, I’m going to encourage you to grab a notebook or grab a notes app on your phone to make notes of the things that we’re going to talk about today. I’m going to break these steps and stages down by weeks.
And then we’re going to get to a point where a lot of the weeks are similar. And we’re going to talk specifically about the progressions that you can go through for your specific puppy.
Now, most puppies come home to their new families around the eight weeks mark. So that’s where we’re going to start our conversation today, and at eight weeks, this is a significant relationship-building time. We’re not going to focus so much on teaching our dog specific skills. But what we are going to do is focus on some of the natural training opportunities that you’re presented with because we’re going to start building a bond with our puppies right off the bat. And I’m going to show you a couple of straightforward tricks to start doing that.
Food is a valuable resource for puppies. They immediately see it as something that they want, and it’s great that it’s can be something that comes through you. So at eight weeks, one of the first things I want you to start doing is taking advantage of natural training opportunities, like feeding your puppy hand, feeding your puppy, you know, you portion out whatever their breakfast or dinner or whatever meal it is, and then you can hand feed them some of that food at eight weeks.
Though we can also do things like saying their name, then feeding them, saying their name, and then feeding them. Saying their name is going to load up value on that new word that they’re hearing. Remember, they don’t know what their name is. So what we need to do is start building value on it, and we’re going to do it by doing things like that name. Then reward.
Another thing I want you to take advantage of is we are using our Method we use “yes,” as a verbal marker to let the puppy know or dog as they’re growing up, know that they’ve done something right. So I want you to start building value on that. “Yes,” it’s going to be very helpful down the road, because you have so much opportunity to make a bond and try to shape a puppy to love, to learn, I want you to do the same thing with that. “Yes,” it’ll be yes. Then reward your puppy. “Yes.” Then reward your puppy.
Now those food exercises are going to get your puppies undivided attention, but we also want to have an opportunity to give her puppy information as they’re moving around and open space when they’re not focusing on us and the food. So I want you to use something like a house line. fIt gives you so much control, and it allows your puppy to make some choices as they move around the area that you’re in as you’re supervising them. So make sure you attach a house line — your puppy.
If you’re not familiar with what a house line is, it’s just a line or a leash that you’ve cut the loop, the handle off, and you clip it to your puppy’s collar so that you can keep them out of trouble and redirect them if you need to.
Keep in mind your puppy has just gone through a dramatic life change. They’ve come away from their litter. They’re now in a new environment, in a new home with new people, so really set your puppy up to be successful. the best way to do that is to ensure it 100% supervision. Make sure that when your puppy is out of the Kennel or crate, that you’re there with them to give them the right information. The info can be a pretty exciting and sometimes scary change for your puppy, so you want to be there to make sure they’re getting 100% useful information.
Now, supervision in mind, I mentioned using a crate. Home is a great day to start training your puppy to love their crate. It’s so important to have a management tool because you want to make sure your puppy can’t get into trouble and that your puppy doesn’t learn the wrong things during this first week home. Your puppy is continually learning, whether you’re there to give them information or not. So make sure you manage them a little bit by teaching them that their crate is a great place to go. At the eight week mark, make sure you’re using your crate for excellent management and that way you’ll be giving your puppy great leadership.
Potty training or house training, however, you refer to it. We’ll also begin the first week home with your puppy, so make sure you’re proactive about this step. You’re probably likely to have some accidents inside, but there are some ways you can minimize that by being proactive, taking them out before they go in their crate after immediately after they come out of their crate. After every meal, after every play session. If they have a nap when they wake up, you’re going to take them outside to go potty. But these are going to be great ways to set them up to be successful.
At the same time, you need to be supervising that puppy. So if you feel like you can’t keep your 100% close eye on them, put them in their crate.
Another added step that you can do is put up some baby gates; puppy proofs that room. So your puppy can’t make any bad decisions along the way. So, you know, blocking off some of the areas where they might get out and get into trouble is a perfect idea, and it allows you to set them up so that they don’t sneak away and pee on the carpet.
I want to talk specifically about that first couple of nights home with your puppy. In their crate. So remember, this may be the first time that your puppy has ever have had to hold their bladder or bowels in the latter scenario. They may have had an area where they could; if they felt the need, they would walk over there and go. But in this situation, your puppy is going to be in their crate. And what I want you to do to set them up to be successful as elevate that crate, try to make it in line of sight. So if you can maybe put it a, an eye-level beside your bed, or maybe if you’re sleeping in an area that’s nearby the puppy for the first couple of nights, make sure that you can see what’s going on.
They’re likely going to have to go out, and you want to acknowledge that they do need to go out. And then you need to go in and take the puppy outside so that your puppy doesn’t have an accident that first couple of nights in their crate. It’s also going to be a little bit soothing for them to be able to see you as they’re sleeping there at night. So really take advantage of that crate position those first couples of nights home.
Now if you want to level up your eight weeks old puppy training just a little bit, something we’ll often do is start to lure our puppies, only guide them around, showing them some food, having them follow, follow the food with really deliberate hand motions so that we can teach our puppy that the following food is worth something valuable to pay attention because these foundational skills are going to be really helpful in the next coming weeks for your puppy training.
Now at nine weeks old, your puppy’s second week home, you’re probably going to start to get a little bit more confidence. So supervision is even more important at this point. Using something like your house line, you’re going to see how often you’re using it to keep your puppy out of trouble, but it’s so much easier preventing problems rather than fixing them rather than to untrain your puppy to do some of these things. So really focused on supervision.
Your puppy is going to be exploring more, and they’re going to be more active, and they’re going to have a little bit more energy. So you’re going to have an eagle eye. You’re going to keep 100% on eye on them when they have freedom in your home. Once your puppy is nine weeks, you can start to increase the challenge of some of the things, the foundational things that we were doing that week before with them. I want you to continue doing some of these natural training opportunities — hand feeding your puppy. You want to reinforce name, then reward, name then reward with your puppy.
We want to build tons of value on that, and the likelihood is that when we first bring that puppy home, we’re probably calling their name a lot and I want you to be self-conscious about that. Think about when you’re using your puppy’s name because if it’s not followed with some reward at this point in your puppies training, it’s going to start to lose value. So take advantage of these natural feeding training opportunities with that young dog so that you can teach them that hearing that word means something special is about to happen. You can start to include some of your family members at this point in the training with some of the simple exercises saying the puppy’s name. Then rewarding them and marking the “Yes going to loading value on that word. “Yes.”
One essential thing at this point is that you’re starting to increase the challenge and a little bit of your luring. You’re just showing your puppy that things are going to get a little bit more complicated. You’re going to have to work a little bit harder for themselves if you are luring your puppy back and forth at this point, maybe you can teach them to spin in a circle or how about you lure them to go through your legs. You’re just bumping up that challenge level and if you’ve spent a week teaching your puppy to follow food and that it can be rewarding.
These things accomplish easily, but what we’re trying to do is teach our puppy that we can level things up and it’s lots of fun, and we’ve already shown them that the value of it, that when they do something for you, they get rewarded. So start to increase the challenge a little bit.
Another thing I want you to be doing at this point is handling your puppy’s collar a lot. You’re going to gently reach in when you reward your puppy and take their color and then reward them. You’re going to reach around maybe the other side, take their collar and reward them. Your puppy is going to have their collar handled a lot over the next few weeks, and you want that to be a gratifying experience so that every time your puppy comes near, you can take their collar and they know that something good is about to happen. You see, a lot of people have hand shy dogs, they go to reach out for their puppy and their puppy kind of away. You can entirely avoid this problem by bringing you your puppy and nice and close, taking that collar. Then rewarding.
Now with your preparation and a little bit of understanding from your puppy, once you get to the 10 week mark, I’m going to group puppies that are 10 to 16 weeks together because it’s much more important at this learning stage in your puppies understanding and what the progressions are rather than week by week.
But what I’m going to do now is show you the exact progressions that you need to accomplish with your puppy so that you can help them to be successful and what exercises are going to be really important for them to know at 10 weeks old, we can really start to expect some reliable responses from our puppy and now that you have spent some time teaching them how to follow food, we’re going to talk about how to teach them to sit down and stand-in. All of the progressions are going to be the same for each exercise.
I’ll demonstrate the sit because it’s very visual, but I want you to follow these same steps for your puppy as you teach them each skill. Now for our puppies that are 10 to 16 weeks old, we can start to follow a very simple formula for teaching them a new skill, and it’s going to be command stimulus, reward. And I’m going to show you exactly how you’re going to do that with the sit command to teach your puppy to sit reliably. We’re going to start with a treat in our hands, something that you’ve learned through this first couple of X weeks of exercises, something that they like. And then we’re going to follow that formula.
So we’re going to tell our puppy to sit that which is the command than lure, which is the stimulus. And then reward your puppy once they’re in that sitting position. Remember, this is a brand new skill for your puppy. So a couple of mistakes that people will make is that they’ll blend the command and the stimulus so they’ll have the treat and the puppy’s nose. Then they’ll say, sit. All their puppy is thinking about at that point, is the food that’s on their nose. So remember, it always sits, then lures, then reward. Another thing people will do is after a couple of successful repetitions, they will take the lure away, or they’ll stand up tall. They’ll change the picture entirely.
So for this first week when you’re teaching your sit or your stand or your down, I want you to use the command, say sit, then lure, then reward and stick to that for at least seven days.
Now once you’ve put in a solid week of work on this, sit, then lure, then reward. It’s time to make things just a little bit more challenging for your puppy. Now I want you to think in baby steps here. So instead of changing something dramatically, we’re just going to up the ante a little bit. And instead of having a treat in our hand, we’re not going to have any food, but that lure is going to look the same. Something that people often do is once they don’t have the food in their hand as they’re moving away from having to have a food lower on their puppies, knows their hand signal changes and they’ll say sit and change, there’ll be pointing, or it’ll be like the high foot. I mean there’s just a million things they can be doing.
What is challenging for the puppy is that it doesn’t look the same anymore? So that gradual step for this week’s progression, I want you to say sit with an empty-handed lure that looks the same as it did last week. Lure the puppy into position. Once they’re there, “yes.” Then go into your bait, poach, and reward. Now we’ve started, we’ve combined a couple of things there that “yes,” that we’ve loaded value on that marks the moment that your puppy is correct, that buys you the time to go into your Bait Pouch. It also makes it so that you don’t have to have a treat in your hand the entire time, and I want you to work on that step for your sit. Stand and down for the next week.
Now, after two weeks of solid training and significant repetition in well-timed lures, it’s time to test your puppy. So we in week three, I want you to occasionally throw in a sit with as much smaller, lower, or maybe no lure at all and see what you get. A lot of your puppies, if you’re timing this well, and if you’re doing it consistently, a lot of your puppies, the moment you say sit there, little bumps are going to hit the floor. And I want you to rejoice at that moment. I want you to Jackpot reward them. Make it fun. Let them know if they are offering that sort of a fast response that it’s worth it. So really acknowledge your puppy’s success.
Now, if you aren’t getting those reliable sits, I want you to take a step back. Maybe that empty-handed lure needs to be adjusted, and you need to do a few more repetitions of that. Maybe you’re in an environment that’s a little bit too busy for that puppy. There are too many distractions for them. So you need to go back to a quieter environment or a location where they can be successful before you can test. We will post a really important article next week for you as a puppy trainer. I want you to read it after this one, and it’s all about the training principle and how to get reliable skills from your dog regardless of the environment.
Far Too Many puppy owners underestimate the value of handling exercises. There’s, just so much benefit to doing exercises with your puppy. Things like trust, a relationship building, allowing you to touch their feet teaching them to be calm and relaxed in certain situations. There are just a million reasons why you’d want your puppy to be comfortable when you’re handling them, but so many puppy owners overlook those exercise skills. Do these handling exercises And believe me, whether you understand it at this point or not, you will be grateful that you’ve practiced some of the handling exercises when you have a puppy who’s very comfortable when it comes to handling.