At what age can I start training my puppy? Can a tiny puppy handle obedience training?

Almost every puppy owner client I have asks me these questions, so I thought I’d address them in the blog, since it seems to be a big concern.

Here are my answers to those questions:

  • First, you can’t start too early. Puppies are extremely motivated – they’re hungry, growing, and laying down mental highways, all of which make them learning machines.  I start my puppies as soon as their ears and eyes are open.
  • Second, Not only can a tiny puppy handle obedience training,  training during the early days of a  puppy’s life will imprint a love of learning and teach the puppy to be an enrichment-seeker.

Interested in seeing this in action? Check out these two videos of me training some four week old puppies.  These are old home movies I took myself before I knew anything about video, so please forgive the quality:

Automatic Sit

Powering Up the Clicker

Now, my answers are specific to When Pigs Fly training.  If you don’t already know, we free shape as much as possible, and use reinforcement-based training.  What this means is that we are never asking the puppy to do anything (no luring, no compulsion, no “showing” the puppy what we want) – the puppy is offering to do it.   By definition, if the puppy is doing something, he’s ready to do it, because it was his idea.

I encourage you to start teaching your puppy as soon as you get him,  no matter how young he is!

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One Response to At what age can I start training my puppy? Can a tiny puppy handle obedience training?

  1. Sunny says:

    This is some thing I need to find more information about, many thanks for the article.

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