puppy training

At What Age Should You Start Dog Training?

Whether you’ve adopted an adult dog or a new puppy, chances are you have a few questions about life with your new four-legged friend. A great way to get off on the right foot is to start dog training when appropriate to do so. It will help strengthen the bond with your dog while growing together. One of the first questions many new dog owners have is, what’s the right age to start training your dog? In this article, we’ll discuss the ideal time to start dog training and share a few training tips to get you started! 

Why You Should Train Your Dog

Training your dog is an essential part of pet ownership and isn’t something you should gloss over. To begin with, training your dog helps encourage good behavior and also helps to keep him safe and happy. For example, teaching your dog to sit or lie down on command will help you be able to call him off inappropriate behavior, like sniffing a stranger or getting into the trash. 

Training your dog is also a great team-building activity for both of you. As you work with your dog, you each learn how to communicate with each other, increase trust, and create a partnership. 

When to Start Training Puppies

It’s important to remember that puppies should be treated like newborn babies; You can’t teach them new things immediately, but you can encourage good behaviors and set the foundation for a good routine. For the period from 8 to 20 weeks old, your ONLY job is to create a routine and structure, manage those puppy behaviors, and socialize your pup to all kinds of experiences. Remember to never say the word NO to a young puppy, and to use distraction and redirection to encourage good behaviors. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for a lot of good puppy videos that will help you during this time!

Socialization is key during this time period, as there are many benefits to getting your dog comfortable around other dogs and humans early. However, it should be in a somewhat controlled environment, rather than a dog park with unknown dogs and vaccination status. Learn more about the importance of puppy socialization here: This article also addresses why many feel the benefits of early socialization outweigh the small risk of being only partially vaccinated.

If you’re looking for structured socialization for your puppy, Argos Dog Training offers a Kindergarten-1 class (8 to 12 weeks, $120 for 4 sessions at noon) and a Puppy K-2 class (13-20 weeks, $180 for 4 classes at 1:30pm). The group socialization classes are held on Saturdays, outdoors, in Lower Mills, Dorchester. We do require all puppies to be vaccinated appropriately to their age when coming to Argos Dog Training.

Details about all of our dog training services can be found here. We don’t recommend starting more formal puppy training until 5 or 6 months when your furry friend is mature enough for it to have meaning.

Training Adult Dogs

If you’ve rescued an adult dog, it is still possible to train them, so don’t believe the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Training an adult dog may take extra time and patience, but it will help your dog adjust to its new life with you and strengthen your relationship. 

Training Tips

Whether you’re training a puppy or an older dog, there are three things you need to keep in mind: 

  • Go Slow. Be patient and keep working on a command until it is learned. 
  • Get the Right Reward. High-value treats, like cooked chicken, may motivate your dog to work harder during training. 
  • Be Consistent. Work with your dog each day to reinforce commands and expectations. 

Contact Argos Dog Training

It’s never too soon – or too late –  to start training your dog. As the expert dog trainer in the Boston area, Argos Dog Training can help you with all of your training needs. Give us a call to learn more about our group training programs or one-on-one sessions! We’ll be happy to setup a consultation to determine which program would be best for your new furry friend.