Getting a puppy is often an exciting experience. These adorable little creatures bring a lot of excitement into your life as an owner. Of course, they have to be trained to be good future canine citizens. How soon such training should begin is often a matter of debate among dog experts, although most will give a general timeline. For more on this, visit

 However, the reality is that everything you do in your puppy’s presence is part of training. From the moment you acquire the puppy, everything you do either reinforces or discourages a certain behavior. Training in this context refers to formally enrolling your puppy in a dog training program specific to their age. However, as an owner, you should know that whatever you do (or don’t do) in your puppy’s presence tends to encourage particular behaviors. For instance, it’s common for many puppies to do what they want if you, the owner, are busy with some activity. This is usually the result of their learning experiences. Always remember that puppies learn from the day they are born. At first, that learning is passive, involving getting used to their environment and taking note of various stimuli. The mother and other littermates are prime sources of learning at this stage. However, they continue to absorb as much knowledge and experience as they mature.

Training has already started from the minute your pup walks in through your front door. 

Average Age for Starting Puppy Training

Many experts and dog trainers believe that you should enroll your puppy in a formal training program as soon as they are 7 weeks old. Some recommend such training to begin much earlier. In some cases, they recommend starting as soon as the puppy is 3 weeks old.

Learning Socialization and Obedience Commands

At 7 weeks old, a puppy still has a very short attention span. However, they can absorb some socialization skills and can even master some obedience commands like “stay.” 7 to 8 weeks is an ideal age for a puppy to internalize many of the obedience commands. Here, the use of positive reinforcement and gentle commands has been shown to be effective. It’s also at this age that you should introduce your puppy to other species and people. For instance, if you have other pets like cats, now would be the time to let the puppy come into contact with such other animals and explore new experiences. This includes interacting with visitors.

Formal Training Classes

One of the major benefits of enrolling in informal puppy training is that the instructors are usually certified and experienced in handling puppies. Some owners, especially those owning pets for the first time, usually prefer formal training classes for their puppies instead of any home training. This can be anywhere between the 7th and 12th week of a puppy’s life.

In addition to providing basic and advanced command training, certified instructors are also trained to identify the early signs of behavioral issues that could lead to a problematic dog later on. A good dog trainer will be able to spot such issues and offer a solution. Such a solution could be in the form of immersion training or specialized individual sessions to address your puppy’s particular issue. Group training, as part of formal training, will be beneficial to your puppy. There, it can socialize with other people and puppies in a regulated environment.

Of course, there’s always the issue of vaccination. It is recommended that your puppy gets all the shots before resuming any formal training. This is not only for its own good but also for the health of the other puppies at the training facility. That’s why some dog trainers recommend that a puppy should be introduced to any kind of formal training until it has gotten all the necessary vaccines. This could sometimes take up to 4 or 6 months.

The drawback of this recommendation is that it ignores a crucial fact. This has to do with a puppy’s socialization window. This is the period in the weeks after birth. Because a puppy is learning and absorbing experiences at a significant rate, there’s always the chance of developing undesirable behaviors early on in its life. This, of course, means more headaches for the owner because such behavior will need to be remedied later on. Such remedies include enrolling the puppy for behavior modification training later, which may not produce satisfactory results.

That’s why getting a puppy started with formal training within the 7th to 12th week of life after birth helps to avoid any such negative consequences.