Last Updated on September, 2021
A puppy’s brain is fully developed at the age of just 7 weeks, and this is the age where they are ready to start learning. As you may know, training is incredibly important for puppies or even an adult dog.
Every dog owner loves to have a perfect puppy, and the only way to achieve that is through proper puppy training timeline. Puppies need to be given training as young as possible. Puppies have a brief attention span, and if they are not trained appropriately, they could turn into a very unruly adult dog.
Puppy training sets the foundation and leads him in the right direction when he grows up to an adult dog.
With that being said, most puppy parents struggle to know when and how to start training their new puppy. Not to worry, though! Because in this article, I’m going to tell you about the complete step-by-step puppy training schedule by age. I’ll break these steps and stages down by weeks so that you can give your puppy the best start possible and march towards success.
When Should You Start Training Your Puppy?
As I said before, a pup will be ready to learn at the age of just 7 weeks. However, most young puppies come home to their new families around the 8-week mark, So that is when you should start the training sessions.
8 weeks is the perfect age for teaching your puppy some obedience training and basic commands such as sit, stay and come.
Things To Keep In Mind Before You Start Training Your Puppy
These are some of the vital puppy training tips you need to keep in mind before training your new pup.
It is important to be patient while training your puppy. If you’re not patient and take time away from the process of training, you could cause them to become less attentive or more anxious about their own behavior. Puppies learn best when they’re given time without any interruptions so that they can learn how to behave appropriately on their own.
As a dog trainer, you need to be consistent in your approach. This will help to eliminate any confusion for the pup. However, if you’re inconsistent, you may confuse your pup, and this could cause them not to obey commands in certain situations.
Consistency is especially important when you’re teaching your puppy the basic cues such as stay, sit, and come. While teaching these commands, make sure you use the same hand signal and words, as this will prevent your puppy from getting confused.
Use Positive Reinforcement Training
Training can be done through various methods such as Alpha Dog Or Dominance Training, Electronic Training and Mirror Training. However, the only way to properly train a dog is through positive reinforcement.
The process of this method is to reward and encourage good behavior and ignore bad behavior. This means no rewards if the dog does not act accordingly. Positive training techniques do not involve any form of physical punishment or Harsh reprimands as these methods can lead to future behavior problems and leave dogs feeling fearful and anxious.
Start practicing this training method with something your dog has a strong desire for. It can be either food treats, praise, petting or one of his favorite toy or games. If your puppy performs the desired action, reward him instantly, that’ll make the pup associate that particular action with rewards and will carry it out perfectly every time.
If you want, you can also add clicker training to the mix. Anyways, keep in mind that this training method needs consistency and, most importantly, patience. Also, make sure to use small treats while using food rewards to avoid overfeeding.
Train In Different Environments
While training your new puppy for the first time, you need to take him to a safe, familiar, comfortable and quiet place. You should keep using the same spot until your dog masters the commands.
Once your pup is a pro, you can now take the training sessions to new heights. This is where the real challenge begins. Even if your dog is a master in every command, taking him to a relatively new environment like a public park can produce all sorts of troubles. It will be a completely different experience than training at a place like I mentioned before.
This happens because a place like a public park will be full of distractions. As a result, your puppy might find it extremely hard to cooperate with you, and the sessions can become seemingly frustrating; however, if you want an unruly dog in public, you will have to work hard.
Keep practicing in different environments until your puppy focuses on you without any problems outdoors and is perfectly confident outside of their comfort zone.
Training does not end after your puppy has mastered every command. That is not the way how puppy training works! So even after your puppy is perfectly able to perform every one of your desired commands, you should not end it there. Instead, hold short sessions at least two to three times per week and keep practising the old commands.
Also, keep the training sessions short, motivating and fun. About 5 minutes for each basic cue and 15 minutes overall per day is more than enough.
Training basically never ends. You’ll need to keep training for most of your puppy’s life, even after he becomes a complete adult, as this can keep his skills sharp and create an unbreakable bond between the two of you.
Puppy Training Timeline
Now that you know the essential things before starting the training routines, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty, and that is your puppy’s training schedule. Below I’ve prepared a puppy training schedule that I actually use to train my dogs. It starts all the way from 8 weeks to until a puppy is half a year old.
It contains everything that you as a puppy owner need to teach your pup, from crate training to potty training to puppy socialization. Everything is in here. Using this schedule will allow you to measure your progress while training your puppy and overall make the training process much more straightforward.
8 – 10 Weeks Old
This is the age where your puppy will constantly be learning (they’re learning even if you aren’t teaching). This age is the perfect time for you to introduce everything which is right and wrong to your pup, build a strong relationship and teach them where to play, sleep and potty.
Teach Your Puppy The Daily Routine
Introduce and train your puppy to get used to a good routine that includes all the mealtime, potty breaks, bedtime, playtime and training.
Teach Your Puppy His “NAME”
Teaching your puppy his name is crucial as this will help build a strong relationship between both of you and build a foundation for other necessary training in the future.
To teach your puppy his name, follow these steps:
- With a cheerful and happy tone, call your dog’s name, avoid saying any other words at that moment.
- Once your puppy looks at you after you said his name, reward and encourage him immediately.
- Wait for your puppy to briefly drift away from whatever you’re doing and repeat his name. When your puppy looks at you, reward him with a treat and praise. This will help teach him that he might get a reward when he looks at you.
- Avoid overdoing the process. Saying his name anywhere from 5 to 10 times per session is perfect. Keep doing it, and your pup will seemingly lose interest and get bored, and once he has no interest, it’ll be extremely hard to make him respond the next time.
Basic Obedience Training
Teaching the basic cues such as Sit, Stay and Come is the most important thing. Here’s a Puppy training timeline that you can use to teach those commands you’ll be using throughout your pup’s life.
TO TEACH “SIT”
- Hold a desirable treat near the dog’s nose in a standing position.
- While Keeping the treat close to your dog’s nose, move your hand in a circular motion over his head. As the dog lowers his head in order to seek the food, he will fall on his bottom. As soon as this happens, say the cue “sit” and reward him with that treat you were holding instantly with a praise.
TO TEACH “COME”
- To make your dog come back to you, you’ll need something appealing that’ll encourage your dog to come back. It can be either food or a toy.
- Once you’ve got the supplies that’ll encourage your pup, run a couple of feet away from your dog and say “come” in an excited, encouraging voice. Getting down on their level can help your dog understand what you want.
- As your dog comes to you, hold on to their collar and either give them a treat or let them play with their toy.
- Start by walking away from your dog, then gradually increase the distance. Eventually, you’ll be able to call your dog in and out of the back yard or from one room to another.
Start potty training right after you bring your puppy home. The best way to housebreak a puppy is through establishing a potty training schedule and sticking to it. A schedule will let your puppy know that there are times to eat, sleep, play and have potty breaks.
Establish a designated potty area and take your puppy to that spot every time he needs to relieve himself. Make sure to take your puppy outside every 2 hours and straight away after:
- Waking Up
- During and After Playtimes
Keep in mind that a puppy will be able to hold its bladder for one hour every month of age. This means a 2-month-old puppy will be able to hold it in for 2 hours. Follow these perfectly if you want to avoid any accidents indoors.
Many puppy owners deem the crate as a cruel place, but to be honest, it makes life much easier for both the dog and its owner. Crate training has a lot of benefits:
- It can alleviate bad habits like destructive behavior and make your puppy a well-behaved pet all around.
- Provide security and reduce anxiety while you’re away from home.
- Helps with the housebreaking process.
- Will prevent potty accidents from taking place.
A crate should be used in a proper way. You should never use a crate as a place for punishment, as it can make your dog fear it. Also, you should not leave your dog in the crate for too long as it will make your dog depressed or anxious. Keep in mind that Puppies that are less than 6 months old should be crated for no more than four hours at a time. (1)
Early socialization is important because it is what helps your puppy to grow into a confident adult dog. At this time, your puppy probably wouldn’t have completed the puppy vaccination series. So without taking him outdoors, invite your friends and family into your house and get started with your socialization process.
10 – 12 Weeks Old
The first two weeks are probably the most frustrating and challenging weeks of owning a puppy, and once you get through it, you can start to proceed to the next stages of the puppy training process.
Ward Off Biting
Puppies often bite, mouth and chew on people’s hands, ankles, limbs and clothes when playing, and this is the age where this habit gets a little bit endearing. So even Though it’s natural for puppies, It’s vital to teach them to curb this behavior.
Stop Your Puppy Biting by introducing a chew toy to him. To do this:
- While playing, let your puppy bite your hand. While he’s doing it, take a toy and do whatever you can to make the toy more exciting for him than your hand.
- If your puppy refuses to take the toy, walk away and ignore him for a minute. By doing this, your puppy will know that biting will end the fun.
Leash training is a great way to increase the bond between you and your dog, so it’s important to begin it from the get-go.
- Start training in an area within or from the house, without a leash at first.
- Motivate your puppy to come to you by offering a reward.
- Walk a few steps ahead of your dog. When they reach you again, give another treat.
- Keep following the same routine until your dog is familiarized with it.
- Now, repeat the same process but with the leash and collar on.
- Take your puppy outside once they’re comfortable with having the leash on, go to a quieter area where there are fewer distractions at first. Then, once your puppy learns to do this well, you can take it out in public (after the full vaccination series).
Impulse control is an important life skill that every dog’s need to know. This means a dog should patiently wait if they’re to enjoy things that are rewarding or even fun.
For example, teach them to wait for their meal. You can do this by making your puppy “sit” and wait before you serve them their meals. Once the bowl is in place, and your puppy is still calm, reward him and release him from his sitting position by saying a release cue such as “Okay!”
3 – 4 Months Old
This is the time for you to teach your puppy more advanced training and reinforce the older ones.
Socialization After Fully Vaccinated
By this time, your puppy might’ve fully completed their vaccination series. If so, it is time to show them the outside world. Take your pup to populated areas and make them meet other dogs and people. Also, avoid forcing them to places they seem uncomfortable.
Build Up On Previous Behaviors
Start training the previous commands you taught your puppy but in a more advanced way. For example, get him to a more distracting environment outdoors and work on the “COME” command while also increasing the duration of his stay.
4 – 6 Months Old
At this stage, it’s all about reinforcing the behaviors each and every behavior that you’ve taught your puppy.
Teach Leash Manners
Keep working on leash training and improve your puppy’s behavior by teaching him to walk politely without pulling while on a leash in a densely populated area.
Reinforce The Behaviors
By now, your puppy should have completed all the basic commands. However, it does not mean everything is done. To be honest, training never ends. So keep practicing every behavior even if your puppy is pro, and consider joining advanced puppy training classes.
My puppy Is 6 months old. Is It Too Late To Train Him?
At 6 months of age, your pup is entering the adolescence stage. At this point, you probably should be reinforcing the previously learned behaviors.
But what if you haven’t even started training yet?
To be honest, This is probably the most difficult stage to train. At this point, it’s tough to teach some behaviors. That is why everyone recommends starting training early. However, it’s not impossible. but, there’s so much work that needs to be done, such as alleviating behaviors they learned in puppyhood and things that were trained incorrectly should be taken care of.
With positive reinforcement training, 100% consistency and patience, it’s possible to train dogs of any age, so make sure you follow it.