What age should I start my puppy obedience training?
That is a great question and we often debate two sides of this question. In general professional dog trainers and veterinarians mostly have opposing opinions. The best age to start puppy obedience training with your puppy is as soon as possible. Do not wait! Start your puppy training today.
A puppies mind is open for learning at about 8wks of age. Waiting to 16 weeks of age to start training and socializing negatively impacts how a puppy develops and learns in the world. The first 6 months of a dogs life are critical to imprinting the dogs foundation for future behaviors and social skills. Use everyday to the fullest to bond and build the best relationship through training and socializing that are fun for you both.
Starting at 4 months of age or later can put your dog at an extreme disadvantage to learning. Many ask why. The reason is simple, pups start becoming independent at roughly 4-6 months of age. They would rather explore the world and exert some independence than to train commands or tricks for food. It’s essentially the same as forcing a teenager to watch cartoons geared for a 3 year old and then expecting them to actually enjoy them.
Vets are correct in advocating for your pups safety and health. Most vets do not want you to take your puppy to strange places until after 16 weeks of age. Typically because they are concerned about having all vaccinations up to date. Vaccinations are definitely both essential and important.
Use common sense when taking your puppy out for car rides or to safe places. Keep them protected from interactions with any dogs that you do not know personally. Stay away from dog infested areas, heavily populated bird areas, and avoid all bodies of water. I’m not saying to take your dog into the woods on an excursion but raising them in your home, yard, and neighborhood is NOT enough stimulation for a developing puppy.
Keep in mind that quality of training you receive is equivalent to the amount or learning your dog can accomplish. Don’t limit yourself to puppy groups either. This is another topic entirely, but training a puppy’s basic obedience commands is BEST established one on one WITHOUT the chaos of other puppies around first. Definitely check out our tips on puppy socialization too. Remember to be consistent with your puppies training and socializing. They are learning one way or the other so why not teach them to be their best. If you do nothing with them then they are learning exactly that, nothing.