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:
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!