Many pet owners ask when is the right time to train and socialize a puppy. This is an important step in how well a puppy learns skills they need to become a behaved adult dog. Your friends at Union Lake Pet Services are here to explain the right time and techniques for these lifelong skills.

A new puppy is full of exuberance, curiosity, and lovable qualities. This is a special time for you to bond with your four-legged friend. A lot of changes take place in a puppy’s development and behavior in those first months. This is why training and socialization are crucial during this period of transition into adolescence.

Ages 6 to 12 Weeks: Begin with the Basics

This very young age is when a puppy starts to learn the rules of the home, as well as how to be handled and interacted with. Socialization starts as soon as you bring your puppy home, with regular attention from members of the family. Since your pup hasn’t had all of their vaccines yet, you cannot safely expose them to other dogs, but you can begin socializing by getting them used to being handled.

This formative time is when you should start teaching your dog basic commands, such as “sit” and “stay”. Using a reward (and a clicker if that is your method), click or treat your youngster each time they respond to your command.

Ages 7 to 12 Weeks: Housetraining and Expanded Basic Commands

At this age, puppies should be able to go outside to relieve themselves and have fewer accidents. They should be familiar with the rules of the home, such as where they should sleep, if they are allowed on furniture, when normal feeding and exercise times are, and so forth. Some dog owners find that crate training is helpful when adjusting their pet to potty times and the times when they can play quietly while you work.

You can continue teaching basic commands, adding “drop it”, “come”, “down”, and “leave it”. These are important to keeping your pet safe as you reinforce their response to you. Having your pet’s attention at all times is a big part of effective training. Does your pet know their name, for example? If you need to up the ante on positive training and reward methods, please consider training classes with ULPS

Remember that consistency and positive rewards, which include verbal praise, make for success when training your puppy.

12 Weeks and Older: Master Level

If you haven’t already, this is an ideal time to enroll your pet in puppy training and socialization sessions. These classes are safe and supervised, and are geared towards the needs of young puppies. The first few months of a puppy’s life is the most important to their later social development and behavior. Exposing your puppy to other dogs their size gives them confidence and the tools to interact safely, and it instills great behavior as they grow older.

This is a time, too, when your puppy will want to be more independent. They may push some rules or act out in ways you don’t appreciate as a test of their independence. This is sometimes when you need to teach your puppy how to play without biting, chewing, or other forms of aggression. 

When Is the Right Time to Train and Socialize a Puppy?

Bringing a new bundle of joy into the home is a wonderful time, filled with excitement and love. Training a puppy, much like teaching a young toddler, can come with some challenges. With patience, consistency, repetition, and rewards, your puppy will learn the ropes and be a star pupil in no time.

Would you like more information on the right time to train and socialize a puppy? Please contact us!