From 8 weeks old to 8 years old, we can train them! There is some truth to the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. You actually can teach an old dog new tricks but it’s much easier to teach a new young dog with no bad habits than it is to break the old bad habits of an older dog and replace them with new habits. We often use the example that dog’s brains and behaviors are shaped like concrete. When they are young their brains are like a soft, wet, and pliable concrete that is being mixed with all the ingredients. From the moment you bring your new puppy home at 7-8 weeks old, their behaviors and habits start to take shape as their concrete foundation. Layer by layer, the habits they learn (whether good or bad) start to take shape. With daily repetition and over time, these habits begin to harden in the mind and the concrete starts to harden into a permanent habit.
“When I have to pee it’s okay to pee on the carpet because that’s where I always go.”
“When I want to chew something I know I can go to mommy’s closet and pick out a pair of shoes to chew on.”
“When I want someone to let me out of the crate, I know all I have to do is bark as loud as I can and someone will let me out.”
“When I’m hungry, I know there is very tasty human food left on the table and counter-tops for me to eat.”
“I know about all of these things because I’ve done them before and I will keep doing them because I am a dog. I eat, pee, poop, chew, bark and I know these things. I can do them whenever and wherever I want because nobody has ever taught me different.”
Is this the concrete foundation you want to lay out for your puppy? Of course it’s not!
That’s why take great pride in shaping every moment and aspect of your young puppies life when they come to us for a 3-4 week board and train program. Everything they do is structured and planned out. We have been doing this a long time and know first-hand what we, as dog owners, want out of our canine partners. We set all of our puppies up for success from the beginning and set them on the right path towards success throughout the rest of their entire life.
Many of our clients reach out to us before they have even brought their puppy home. They know from past experiences how much work it takes to raise and potty train a puppy. We do all of that for you. In addition, we imprint them with all of the obedience we train into our adult dogs. Yes! Most of our 12 week old puppies who have completed our 4-week puppy board and train program have obedience training as good as and usually even better than their 1-3 year old counterparts. Why? Because we are starting with a clean slate, a blank canvas, a dry sponge that is ready to soak up all the information we feed them. We get the best results from training puppies because there are no bad habits to eliminate. We can spend all of our time building in what we want instead of taking away the bad habits they have learned.
We have other clients that reach out to us around weeks 9-12 after they have been dealing with their puppy for only a few weeks and can no longer handle the barking, whining, poop and pee messes, and puppy biting, etc.
Whatever the age of your puppy, the answer to your question of “When should I start training?” is always the sooner you get them into training the better!