When to start puppy training

Elsa as a baby, ready to learn.  

When do you start puppy training?  Ah, that is the question.  Well, in the olden days, wayyyyy back when I was a young'n; the start date for training was around the six month mark.  Why six month?  Because that is when the trainers thought that a puppy had enough neck muscle to withstand collar corrections.  Ugh, it makes me shudder just writing that statement.  It is sad but true.  

Now that we are into 2015, exactly 40 years from when I started my training, I have an entirely different perspective on it all.  First let's talk about the word "train."  Training is the word we use when talking about educating our canines.  To teach is to train.  To train can mean to practice for a sport as well but when humans use it in regards to dogs it usually means to educate or teach. 

Training should not mean that you are planning to inflict collar corrections.  It should mean that you are going to educate your new little fluff ball on the ins and outs of living in a human world.  After all they are dogs and not humans so living in a human world takes an education to do it well.   

Training a new puppy should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home.  Maybe give your new baby the first day to sleep off the excitement of the big transition but then it's at it.  You may be thinking "really? so young?"  Yep.  But let me say this, learning about the world that your little canine addition lives in requires that we teach them about it.  

Training does not just imply sit, stay and come.  Training means learning about everything.  What to touch, not to touch; where to pee and poop and where not to.  Training means learning to sleep in a crate; how to go up and down the stairs.  It will incorporate bite inhibition; playing and interactions.

Sit is the very first behavior that you can teach.  It is easy and can be taught in a matter of minutes.  Once you have that you can use it for many different things.  Training should be a constant, not a five minute session each morning and afternoon.  There will be times when you teach a new behavior and put it on verbal cue but that is just a fraction of what training incorporates with puppies.  

Life changes drastically when a puppy joins your family.  Their life as they have known it, living as a member of a litter with Mom is gone.  Everything from that removal moment is new.  So when your puppy seems like they are being naughty; just stop and think how new it all is for them.   Just imagine how much they have to learn.  So when someone asks "when do I start training?"  The answer is easy, right now.  You have a big job ahead of you, so get to it.