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What Age Should I Start Training My Dog?

What Age Should I Start Training My Dog?

Puppy Training Ages – How Young Is Too Young?

Most experts agree that puppies start picking up on commands around three weeks of age. This is the time when they start exploring the world and wean themselves off their mother's milk. You probably won't be able to completely train your puppy to go to the bathroom outside or stop chewing on your furniture this early on, but you can plant the seed for training in the future. Use your puppy's name repeatedly, and use basic commands like “No” and “Good boy” to help him distinguish between good and bad behavior.

Once your dog is fully weaned, you can begin using treats as rewards. Before that, you may want to use chew toys that are made for teething puppies. You should be able to take your puppy to obedience classes and dog parks as early as nine weeks. If you do not have other dogs in the house, you may need to ease your dog into the social environment so he does not get overwhelmed. By this time, your dog should be used to basic commands and should be even easier to train moving forward.

Adult Dog Training Ages – How Old Is Too Old?

With adult dogs, the question is not so much “when” to train them as “will it matter?” Older dogs are not as quick minded and eager to learn as puppies, especially if they did not go through any training in their younger years. With that in mind, you can still teach an old dog new tricks if you are patient and willing to work with him. You may spend a great deal of time repeating commands and figuring out which motivation tactics your dog responds best to, but in the end, you can get almost any dog to behave correctly with the right tools on hand.

In some cases, it helps to pair an older dog with a well-trained younger dog so he can learn from the other dog's behavior. Be careful with this though, as it may yield the opposite results. The trained dog may start to pick up on habits from the untrained dog, which could leave you with a big mess on your hands. If you do not think your dog will respond well to another pet in the house, work on training him one-on-one until the behavior adjusts.

At the end of the day, the time to start training an adult dog is now. Even if it takes a while to get the results you want, you will be glad you started as soon as you did.

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