When to Start Puppy Training and How to Prepare Your Puppy for Training

when to start puppy training

Do you have a new puppy that just won’t stop barking? Listening to a dog’s incessant barking can be a frustrating and stressful situation that leaves you asking, “what should I do?” We talk a lot about why dogs bark, but puppies have different needs and reasons they bark. This BarxBuddy guide discusses puppy training from start to finish.

When Is a Puppy Old Enough to Start Training?

The younger a dog is, the more difficult training can be, which means you’ll need to exercise even more patience during the puppy-training stages.

  • 7 to 8 weeks: Begin socialization with other animals, people, and the veterinarian
  • 8 to 16 weeks: Introduce simple commands, like “sit”
  • 3 to 6 months: Begin potty training, “no bites” commands, and redirecting unwanted behaviors
  • 6 months: This is when real training can begin

In the past, experts recommended that dog owners hold off on puppy training until they completed vaccines and boosters. The downside to waiting this long was that puppies had already gone through critical growth and development periods. Adult behavior patterns begin to settle in during the juvenile stage, around 6 months. As long as your pup doesn’t have health issues, you should begin socialization (positive exposure to other living beings) around 7 to 8 weeks. This period lets your pet develop relationships with other dogs, animals, and humans while learning how to behave in different settings. Inadequate or lack of socialization during the first three months of a dog’s life can lead to behavioral issues that manifest through fear and aggressive behaviors. However, life-long socialization can help support positive behaviors in your dog.

While you may hesitate to train your pup when it’s a tiny, clumsy ball of fur, young puppies, like human babies, have short attention spans. However, puppies can learn basic commands like sit, stay, and come at early ages. Training your pup from when you bring him home helps ensure a foundation for the good behavior he needs going forward.

beagle or hound puppy
The younger a puppy is, the shorter its attention span and the less likely it is to retain your training efforts.

How to Stop Puppy Barking

What can you do for young puppies to help them not bark, especially at night? The first thing you need to do is relax; puppy barking is normal. We know it can be stressful, but any apprehension on your part can make the situation worse. A puppy coming into a new environment needs time to adjust, so keep your expectations realistic; your well-trained dog is not going to show up overnight.

Remember: Your puppy is not fully developed, physically or mentally. As he or she learns about their new world, your pup’s going to have endless needs, with you providing most of them.

How does your pup let you know his or her needs aren’t being met? Lots of barking. So, instead of trying to eliminate your puppy’s vocalizations altogether, focus on teaching him when it’s OK to bark and when it is not OK. When it comes to training, similar to young children, positive reinforcement, not punishment, is key to stopping your puppy’s behavior. Providing praise and love can help your puppy grow into a well-adjusted, well-behaved dog.

why teacup breeds make the best pets

‘My puppy won’t stop barking!’ Why do puppies bark so much?

They need potty breaks or they’re hungry, stressed, or lonely.

When training a dog of any age or breed, the number one rule is: Be consistent. Whether it’s during the day or at night, provide consistent rules and responses to your puppy’s behavior. Reward good behaviors. Interrupt and correct bad behaviors, but don’t punish. Dogs don’t associate bad behavior with punishments; they associate punishments with the person doling out the punishment.

Whether you’re crate training your puppy or house training without a crate there are a few tips that’ll help reduce your puppy’s barking:

  • Make sure your puppy’s crate is the appropriate size. The dog should be able to stand up and turn around comfortably in its crate.
  • Feed and water your puppy as your veterinarian advises. Puppy’s eating and drinking habits will differ from adult dogs.
  • Exercise that puppy! A tired pup is less likely to cry, whine and bark out of boredom.
  • Always rule out underlying health issues. If you’ve met your puppy’s needs and it is still crying or barking, it might be time to visit the vet.

tired puppy
A tired puppy is a good puppy. Make sure your new dog gets plenty of exercise and play time.

Puppy crate training tips

If crate training, provide a comfortable, relaxing space. Filling their crate with a blanket or cushion, non-destructible toys. A garment of yours with your scent can make your pups’ crate feel (or smell) more like home. When it’s time for bed or quiet time, put a blanket over the crate (allowing for plenty of air flow). Your puppy may calm down if their crate is dark and they can’t see you.

You might need to place the crate near your bed at night and gradually move it toward its permanent location, a few inches a day as the puppy adjusts to the new surroundings.

We do not recommend the BarxBuddy ultrasonic training device for dogs under 6 months. The sound from the ultrasonic trainer might scare them, and puppies’ attention spans are incredibly short.

How Can You Prepare a Puppy for Training?

Focusing on your puppy’s emotional well-being is essential before you begin puppy training. You must make sure that your puppy feels safe in your home and around you. Creating structure and building a relationship with your puppy will help solidify a loving, trusting bond between you, which will help you and your pet with the teaching-learning training process. Also, ensure your puppy has received his first deworming and at least one round of vaccines seven days before his first socialization class or training session.

chow chow puppies
Socialization is the first step with puppy training. Get them used to other animals, visitors, and caregivers.
  • Expect to commit to training your puppy every day. This doesn’t mean you have to make every interaction with your puppy an “official” training session; instead, incorporate your training into your pup’s daily routine.
  • Ensure the environment is quiet, so your young puppy isn’t easily distracted by other people or noises. With that said, know your dog will not always be on point, at least in the beginning.
  • Buy high-quality treats that are approved for puppies. Because puppies have different dietary needs versus adult dogs, speak with your vet about ingredients that are appropriate for your pet.

As pet parents to a new puppy, the nights seem long right now. Trust us, they won’t be that way forever.