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  • Courteous K9

When is the Best Time to Start Training?

Updated: Mar 26

Puppies

We have found that the ideal time to start training your new puppy, especially in a group class environment, seems to be between 10-12 weeks. At this age they aren't as sleepy as they are from 8-10 weeks old so they are more interested in the training and able to concentrate for the duration of class. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't start training when you bring your puppy home, but you can do some things at home rather than in a longer group class setting. If we wait until the puppy is over 12 weeks old, they tend to be more pushy and they could have possibly formed some bad habits by then. Again, that's not to say that you shouldn't take a group class if you can't get your puppy in until then. Just be aware that you might be dealing with some issues that the younger puppies are not experiencing yet.


Adults:

Young dog walking nicely with their owner

A phrase that drives us crazy at Courteous K9 is "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." You absolutely can! It is never too late to start training your dog. In fact, your dog is probably going to really enjoy the time they get to spend with you training, and everyone will benefit from having more structure around the house that comes with more training. If you are struggling with training your dog, it is important to look at how you are interacting with them on a day to day basis. Are you following through with rules and expectations? Are your interrupters or corrections working for your dog for unwanted behaviors? Are you training the skills that you want them to display? Are you being consistent throughout the day? Not just in a training session? Remember, if they are able to practice unwanted behaviors (not coming when called to come inside, jumping on the counter when you are busy, barking at people out the window, etc. it will be much more difficult to see improvement on the behavior as you are allowing them to practice that. Management is your friend when you are unable to be consistent with your dog! All of the above reasons are why Board & Trains can be effective programs as it acts like a hard reset for your dog. As soon as they are dropped off in the new environment, there is a lot of structure, training sessions to train the new desired skills, follow through to uphold expectations, and lots of management at first!


Newly Adopted/Rescued dogs:

If you rescue or adopt a dog, do not wait to start training it. Just like the reset that comes with a board and train program, a dog that you newly adopted is experiencing the same thing by bringing it into a completely new environment. So it's really important to implement that training and structure from the get-go. Some places will suggest you wait anywhere from 3-6 months before you start training so the dog can adjust and build a relationship with you. Instead, if you start training right away, you can build that relationship more quickly by doing something fun together! You don't have to start with anything super complicated- you can simply play some food games and then add in some sits and downs. As your relationship grows through training, and your dog progresses in their skills, we can start teaching and asking for more complicated behaviors.


Just keep in mind, it is extremely unfair to let our dogs do these unwanted behaviors without any consequences for a long period of time and then become upset with them. It's a lot easier, and saves us a lot of headaches, if we are clear and consistent from the beginning!


If you are local to Rochester, MN click this link to learn more about our in-person training options:



If you are not local, check out our online classes below!




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