How to obedience train your puppy before it’s 10 weeks old

Puppies are constantly learning, whether it’s from their environment, from socializing with people or other animals, or from direct training.

This creates a critical foundation that will set the stage for their adulthood. Providing puppies with the appropriate socialization and basic puppy training allows them to grow into confident adult dogs.

Follow this step-by-step puppy training guide to set you and your puppy up for success!

When Can You Start Training Your Puppy?

Training a puppy starts as soon as you bring them home, which is typically about 8 weeks of age. At this young age, they can learn basic puppy training cues such as sit, stay, and come.

Tips for Training Your Puppy

Here are some basic puppy training tips to get you started.

Use Positive Reinforcement

There are many different methods of training your puppy that you might have heard about or even seen in person with a dog trainer. However, there is only one acceptable and scientifically backed method of training, and that’s the use of positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a reward to encourage a behavior you want. The use of punishment—including harsh corrections; correcting devices such as shock, choke, and prong collars; and dominance-based handling techniques—should be avoided, because these can produce long-term consequences that result in various forms of fear and anxiety for your dog as an adult dog.

To apply this, first find out which rewards work best for your puppy. Some puppies might find something as simple as a piece of their normal kibble exciting enough to train with, while others might need something tastier, like a special training treat.

Then there are the puppies that are not motivated by food at all! For those puppies, try to find a toy they enjoy that they can get when they do a good job. Praise is also a way to positively reinforce a puppy. Petting or showing excitement and saying, “good job!” may be all you need for basic puppy training.

Keep Training Sessions Short

When training a basic cue, keep the sessions short, about 5 minutes each, and try to average a total of 15 minutes per day. Puppies have short attention spans, so end your session on a positive note so that they are excited for the next session!

Use Consistency When Training Your Puppy

It is important to be consistent in your approach to cues and training. Use the same word and/or hand signal when you teach your puppy basic cues such as sit, stay, and come.

It is also important to reinforce desired behaviors consistently, even when it’s not convenient. So if your puppy is at the door needing to go outside to go to the bathroom, stop what you are doing, let them out, and reward them for going to the bathroom outside.

Practice in Different Environments

Taking a puppy to a new environment like a park or the beach and asking for a cue is vastly different than training at your house. This is due to the variety of new sights and smells they will encounter outside the home.

Make attempts to practice in different settings to set your dog up to be confident no matter what their situation. Please keep in mind that puppies should not go to areas where there are a lot of dogs until they have finished their puppy vaccination series!

Be Patient

Puppies are growing and learning, just like young children. They will make mistakes and may not always understand what you are asking.

All puppies learn at different speeds, so stick with it and don’t get frustrated. Maintaining a consistent routine with feeding, potty breaks, naps, and playtime will make your puppy feel secure—and a secure puppy is ready and able to learn!

Basic Puppy Training Timeline

So when do you teach your dog the different cues? When does house-training start? Here’s a puppy training timeline that you can use.

7-8 Weeks Old

Basic Cues (Sit, Stay, Come)

You can start with basic cues as early as 7 weeks old:

Say a cue such as “sit” once.

Use a treat to position your dog into a sitting position.

Once sitting, give your puppy the treat and some praise.

Leash Training

You can start leash training indoors at this age. Because puppies don’t have their full vaccinations at this point, it is unsafe for them to be walking around where other dogs walk.

Start by letting them wear the collar/harness for short amounts of time while providing treats. Increase this duration slowly. Once your puppy knows how to come to you, you can walk around inside on the leash with no distractions. You can move the training outside once your puppy has all their vaccinations.

General Handling

Get your puppy used to being touched. Gently rub their ears and paws while rewarding them. This will get them used to having those areas touched and will make veterinary visits and nail trims less stressful when they are older!

8-10 Weeks Old

Crate Training

Your puppy should see their crate as a safe and calm place. Start by bringing them to their crate for 10- minute intervals while they are nice and calm. Reward them for going in their crate. You can even feed them in their crate to create a positive environment.

10-12 Weeks Old

Learning Not to Bite

Puppies become mouthy at this age. Putting things in their mouths is how they explore their world, but it is important to teach them not to bite your hands or ankles. When they start biting at you, redirect them to a more appropriate object to bite, such as a toy.

12-16 Weeks Old

Potty Training

Maintaining a schedule is important for potty training. Make sure to take your puppy out first thing in the morning, after eating, and after playtime and naps throughout the day. At this point they should start having enough bladder control to learn to hold it. Reward your puppy with a treat every time they go to the bathroom outside.

6 Months Old

Puppies are entering the adolescence stage by this point, and it is the most difficult stage to start training at. That is why it is important to start training them as young as possible! At this stage you will continue training to solidify and strengthen their skills in more public and distracting settings such as dog parks.

Puppies, like human babies, do a lot of learning to do in their early months, especially when it comes to navigating their new environment and adopting good manners.

For tips on how to facilitate that learning, we turned to certified dog trainer Kate Naito, who is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator and Manners Program Director at Doggie Academy.

The first thing to do before training begins

Before you even start training a puppy, it’s important to focus on your little one’s emotional health, says Naito, “That means making sure you create an environment in which your puppy feels safe around you.”

Puppyhood training, she says, comes down to two key components:

  1. Relationship building
  2. Creating structure

After all, once a loving and trusting bond exists, it’s much easier (and enjoyable) to teach your dog specific behaviors and commands, such as “drop it” and “heel.”

Growth stage: between 8–16 weeks

Training goal No. 1: Exposure to the environment

At this critical socialization period that ends by 16 weeks, puppies are students of life, Naito explains. They’re curious—and should be learning—about how the world around them works, specifically what things look like and sound like. For that reason, Naito generally focuses on exposing puppies to their environment first before diving into obedience training.

She recommends making sure puppies become familiar (and comfortable) with:

  • Surroundings: Including traffic noises, public transportation, car rides, passersby of all ages and shapes, and other dogs.
  • Activities: Including visits to the vet and body handling.

“The goal is to teach a puppy that the world is a fun, not scary, place,” she says.

Training goal No. 2: Impulse control

The first true behavior training lesson for puppies at this stage should be basic impulse control. “This can come in many forms,” Naito explains, “but most new owners start with a simple ‘sit.’” She likens a puppy learning to sit on command to a young child learning to say, “Please, may I have that?” instead of, “Gimme that!”

At a minimum, families should get puppies into the good habit of sitting before meal time. Ideally, you should also take things further and integrate the behavior into playtime by having your puppy sit before playing a game. “This kind of training can start as soon as your puppy comes home (as early as eight weeks), provided you plan to use positive-reinforcement training,” says Naito.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Puppy stage: By 6 months

By this age, your growing puppy should be well-versed in several lessons.

Training goal No. 3: Polite play

Puppies who learn the lesson of polite play know when to stop (and can follow the “drop it” command), what’s off-limits, and understand what “no biting” means. While your puppy is still teething at this stage and likely has a strong desire to bite and chew things, they should know which household items are toys for playing and which objects are not—for instance, your body and clothing.

“Of course, all this must be done using force-free training,” says Naito.

Training goal No. 4: Housetraining

“This may be a work in progress for several months, but your puppy should be making steady progress with going potty in the appropriate places,” says Naito.

Training goal No. 5: Being alone

Whether through crate training or leaving your puppy in another type of safe, enclosed place, Naito says the goal is to ensure your puppy can stand being left alone for short periods of time.

Training goal No. 6: Recall

Getting dogs to respond to the command “come” early on is important, says Naito. “Even if your puppy doesn’t have a rocket recall, the important thing is that he loves coming right up to you.”

Training goal No. 7: Continued impulse control

By this age, puppies should ask politely for all of their favorite things by sitting first—that means sitting before getting food, engaging in playtime, and so on. “If your puppy is barking, jumping, or nipping for your attention, you’re setting him up for trouble as he gets bigger and stronger,” says Naito.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Growth stage: By one year

By the time they’re one year old, dogs should be making progress in learning of all the polite behaviors they will need for the rest of their lives.

Training goal No. 8: Mastery of these basic behaviors

Naito explains that while the “basics” will vary based on your dog and your environment, these typically include learning to:

    (even with distractions)
  • Come when called (particularly when off-leash)
  • Drop it and leave it

Is it ever too late to teach a dog?

While Naito says it may not be too late to teach particular behaviors beyond puppyhood, this stage is critical—particularly the first three to four months—when it comes to building that emotional foundation.

“If a puppy learns not to trust humans—maybe because they yell and punish, steal his food dish to establish dominance, or force him into scary situations—you will have an uphill battle teaching life skills later on,” says Naito.

Dogs who are afraid of people will have a harder time coming when called. And those who think people may steal their toys won’t be as likely to “drop it” when asked.

You can make progress, Naito adds, but it’s easier to train dogs who start out with a foundation of trust and clear communication. And it’s easier to teach young puppies behaviors like gentle play than it is full-size dogs.

But through positive-reinforcement training, it’s possible to help dogs of any age recognize that it can be fun to behave politely. “In many cases, you can reverse rude behavior quickly by teaching a new, enjoyable way to behave,” she says. In other words, your dog won’t be as likely to run off with your socks if the alternative is to “drop it” and get a treat.

Every dog and every dog’s environment is different, so keep in mind that key training milestones will vary based on your particular dog and your surroundings.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Getting a new puppy is an exciting time for everyone, including the puppy. A new puppy can be a fantastic addition to your home and family, but as with any young animal, they have to learn a few rules.

Start puppy training early

Housetraining, obedience and socialisation – all are important skills that every dog needs, and the sooner you start teaching them, the better. Teaching each skill requires consistency, patience and positive reinforcement to create good habits and build a bond with your pet.

Housetraining your puppy

Housetraining should be the first lesson you work on with your new puppy. You can introduce your puppy to the basics of housetraining from as early as eight weeks, although do not expect or demand immediate success. It typically takes four to six months for a dog to be completely housetrained and accidents are common for up to 12 months, so be patient with your young pup.

Housetraining: daytime vs. nighttime

It may help to think of day and nighttime housetraining separately.

In the daytime an eight-week-old puppy will probably need to urinate at least every hour and to defecate shortly after any meal. Take them outside frequently during the day to get them on a schedule and aid with housetraining.

A sample housetraining schedule might look like this:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After each meal
  • After your puppy drinks more than a few sips of water
  • Once every hour
  • Once before bed

Keep your puppy’s toilet area free of toys and distractions. Do not play with your puppy until they have gone – after which you can praise them. And remember that a dog’s faeces is a common source of parasites and diseases, so every time your puppy leaves droppings, you should pick up the waste with a disposable bag and throw it in your garbage bin.

If your puppy doesn’t go when you take them out, take them back to their bed area (animals do not like to soil their beds), and then try again a few minutes later. Handy hint: give a low and prolonged whistle whenever your puppy urinates – soon they will associate this with a command and, bingo, you’ll have trained your puppy to urinate to your whistle, very helpful before bedtime or before travelling in a car.

The goal is to avoid accidents as much as possible even at such a young age. As your puppy gets older, they will need to go less frequently during the day.

A puppy can typically last longer without a bathroom break during the nighttime than during the day. At eight weeks a puppy will normally be able to wait four to five hours in between, and this will increase to five to six hours by around 12 weeks. At

four months your puppy should be able to sleep through the night without needing to go out.

It is helpful to use a crate for overnight housetraining, keeping the puppy’s bed divided from the rest of the crate. Give your puppy their last meal of the day several hours before bedtime. To avoid any unpleasant accidents during the night, do not let your puppy go to bed until they have peed and pooed.

Finally, never scold your puppy if they have an accident – doing so will teach them that going to the toilet is a bad thing, and they may be reluctant to go, even in their outside area.

Socialising your puppy

There are many things your puppy won’t be used to yet, such as children, noise and other animals. Socialising your puppy early can help them acclimatise to the human environment. Well-socialised puppies are less likely to develop behavioural problems, and proper socialisation can help prevent fears and phobias in the future. Never ever, say, think it’s funny to chase them with the vacuum cleaner.

You should introduce your puppy to as many different people and social situations as possible. Expose them slowly to traffic noise and crowds of people, and let your puppy see large objects move or fall.

Before you introduce your puppy to other animals, perhaps with puppy training classes, make sure they have had their vaccinations and have completed their parasite control (particularly deworming). Keep your puppy at a safe distance from other dogs, and don’t force them together. Whatever the situation, always reward your puppy when they remained calm.

Training your puppy to walk well on leash

Every dog needs to learn how to walk nicely on a lead, whether for their own safety or for legal reasons. But many puppies will pull, making life difficult for you both. To get them used to walking on a lead, start in an enclosed area and clip the lead to their collar. But instead of holding it, let it go and allow the puppy to run around trailing the lead.

Once your puppy is comfortable with this, pick up the lead and give your puppy some treats while you hold it. If your puppy pulls on the lead, drop it and try again in five to 10 minutes. Eventually, after a bit of practice, your puppy will get used to it and you’ll be ready to teach walking on a loose lead.

Loose-lead walking gives your puppy the freedom to explore while you train them not to pull. When your puppy is comfortable walking on a loose lead, try introducing them to different underfoot textures, such as grass, gravel, wood chips and so on.

Teaching your puppy how to heel

Now that your puppy is used to walking on a loose lead, they can progress to heel training. ‘Heel’ is an important command for puppies to learn as they progress in their leash training, but getting to this step may take time.

Start with a short lead, just about 5 cm of slack – any more than this will allow your puppy to pull ahead, which you’re trying to avoid. Always have your puppy on the same side of your body to prevent confusion. Begin walking with your puppy. If the lead is relaxed and they aren’t pulling, mark this behaviour by saying ‘good’ and ‘heel’.

Imagine you are a parent holding your young child’s hand and walking in a busy area. You need to be calm and purposeful, not allowing the child to take control and pull you. When you get to an area where your puppy can have more freedom, let them know this by telling them they can ‘release’.

Training a puppy is fantastic fun and rewarding for both of you. As long as you give yourself enough time and stay calm, it will be a great experience you will remember for the rest of your life.

Learn more about different ways to train your new dog, with this guide to clicker training.

The age of 10 weeks is a magical time for most puppies. It’s when they find themselves in a new — and hopefully forever — home. While pups are old enough to leave their mothers and siblings by 8 weeks, many breeders and rescues prefer to wait until a pup is 10 weeks old before sending him to live with a new human family. A 10-week-old puppy has more time to develop canine social skills with his birth family.

When my Pit Bull-mix Mookie came to live with us, he was 9 weeks old. Within a week, his little personality was more than obvious. He was affectionate but mouthy, and full of energy. He was at the perfect age to learn how to act around our cats, as the 9- to 12-week period is an important time for puppy socialization. Our wonderful kitties seemed to understand he was a baby, and they agreed to play with him. If he got too rough, they let him know, and he quickly got the message. Not surprising, considering that a 10-week-old puppy is ripe for learning.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Puppy with toy. Photography ©Holly Hildreth Photography

Here are some things you can expect from your 10-week-old puppy.

A 10-week-old puppy is going through a critical fear period

Many puppies go through a fear period between the age of 8 to 10 weeks. This may alarm you if you don’t expect it. Your 10-week-old puppy may suddenly act overly afraid of new people, animals or objects, or new situations. If you see this behavior, remember that it’s normal in a pup’s development, and don’t panic. Instead, show your puppy there is nothing to fear by acting upbeat and happy. Resist the urge to scoop him up and soothe him; this will only serve to reward his fearful response. The best way to get him through this period is to set a good example with your own confident behavior.

Bite inhibition

If your puppy spent time with his siblings until at least 8 weeks of age, he should have learned how to inhibit his bite. Brother and sister puppies are great at teaching each other how much bite pressure is too much. That said, a 10-week-old puppy is constantly putting things in his mouth. This will include your hands if you’re not careful. Even though playfulness and teething are the reasons behind this kind of biting behavior, don’t allow it. When your puppy gets mouthy, give him a toy to chomp on. He will eventually learn that only toys are for biting — not people.

Curiosity about his surroundings

A 10-week-old-puppy is learning as much as he can about his surroundings. They are eager to discover the world and will want to explore with their senses of sight, hearing, smelling and tasting.

Provide a safe environment for your puppy to discover. Puppy-proof your house and yard by removing objects and situations that can get him into trouble: anything he can chew on, swallow, fall in or get stuck in. Supervise him at all times, and limit his freedom when you can’t watch him.

Expose him to the outside world in a safe way by keeping him away from strange dogs and areas they frequent until he has received his last set of vaccines. In the meantime, provide him with plenty of companionship in the form of humans (both adults and children) and safe animals, like the other puppies he will meet at a puppy kindergarten class. Remember that at this age, your puppy needs socialization. The key is to give it to him in a way that gives him positive experiences that are both enjoyable and safe.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Doggy Toy. Photography ©Kameleon007 | Getty Images

Peak playfulness.

Puppies are super playful at this age and need lots of safe toys they can chew on and chase. A 10-week-old puppy is also at the perfect age for puzzle toys designed to stimulate his little brain. Puzzle toys work by rewarding the puppy with a treat when he figures out a simple puzzle. As your pup gets better at a basic puzzle, you can introduce him to more complicated puzzles until he becomes a real whiz at solving them.

The bottom line on your 10-week-old puppy

A 10-week-old puppy is at a great age. Your puppy will be active, curious and quick to learn at this stage in his life. He will also be incredibly cute at 10 weeks and will grow quickly, so be sure to take plenty of pictures!

As a new pet owner learning to understand your puppies behaviour is invaluable, and puppy training classes are a great idea. During the ages of 8-18 weeks, puppies absorb new information much easier and quicker than after this age. This makes puppy training so important, so we provide a dedicated puppy preschool. Its also a great way to meet new puppy friends, and be exposed to environments.

We also offer a follow-up programme (Puppy Level 1 training) for Puppies 5-10 months old. This continues the learning process.

What is Puppy Preschool:

This 4 week course is run in partnership with our trainers – Lyn Spathis who has over 30 years experience working with dogs, and Louise Lumsden, a qualified dog behavioural trainer and member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers of New Zealand. Classes are made up of up to 6-8 dogs in our safe dog centres. Our groups are focused to optimise puppy training and learning.

Classes will be held at The Dog Den in Takapuna, and Silverdale in our day care facilities.

We cover basic obedience & socialisation to get your pup to be comfortable, focused & following your directions.

  • Toilet and crate training
  • Learning positive training techniques
  • Puppy problems e.g. mouthing, jumping up, etc
  • Basic obedience skills: recall, sit, down. lead walking
  • How to enhance puppy/owner relationship
  • Puppy parents will also gain an understanding of canine communication, to help understand how your puppy is feeling.
  • We will provide an introduction to doggy day care.

What is Puppy Training Level 1 (5 – 10 months)?

This 4 week course is run in partnership with Louise Lumsden, qualified dog trainer and member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers of New Zealand. Classes are made up of up to 6-8 dogs in our Silverdale centre. NOTE this programme is only available in Silverdale. This programme covers:

  • Recall
  • Loose Lead Walking
  • Release Cue
  • Leave It
  • Dog Games
  • Positive Reinforcement
  • Unwanted Behaviour
  • Enrichment +
  • Verbal Cues
  • E-book and how-to videos

At the end of the 4 weeks, on both courses your puppy will be presented with a personalised graduation certificate and a voucher for 1 full day or two half days, day care at The Dog Den.

How to prepare for our puppy training classes:

  • Your puppy should wear a collar and be on a lead (no choker chains please). Bring a mat or blanket for your puppy to sit on. This will be his or her safe and ‘calm’ area.
  • Please don’t feed your puppy before the class and instead bring your puppies dinner kibble or high-value treats with you to be used as a training aid.
  • We suggest you bring along some of your puppies favourite treats and perhaps a “chewy” to keep them occupied while we are talking.
  • Please do not bring your puppy to class if he/she is unwell. We suggest that you still attend the class yourself to observe what is being discussed.
  • Please toilet your dog before coming to class.
  • Classes are limited to two persons per puppy. If you have more than two family members interested in participating, we suggest alternating weeks between you, to give everyone a chance to attend.

How to enrol:

Takapuna Course Dates (Puppy Preschool only):

  • Thursday 17 March (Takapuna) –
  • Monday 21 March (Takapuna)

Silverdale Course Dates (Puppy Preschool and Level1):

  • Puppy Preschool: 26th March 2022 (Silverdale) Saturday morning 9-10 am (only 2 spaces left)
  • Puppy Level 1: 26th March 2022 (Silverdale) Saturday morning 10-11am (Full)

Enrol online (see below)
Cost is $190 for all programmes and a great investment
To ensure the best protection for your puppy, puppies will need to have had their 1st vaccination to attend. Your puppy preschool course comes with a pass for 1 day for your puppy at our daycare centre, and 20% off your first groom with our award winning groomer. We are also currently sponsored by Blackhawk so there are gifts and puppy food included as well.

Please call us first before enrolling to check if we have any spaces available, as each class sells out.

Payment for Puppy training is due within 48 hours of enrolling to secure your place. Our classes are usually over-subscribed, so we may need to offer the space to the next puppy waiting to join the class if payment has not been made.

About our Trainers

Lyn (courses in Takapuna):

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Lyn is the proud owner of two Border Collies, Cobber and Gusto. Her life and passion is all about dogs! She has worked as a veterinary nurse for over 30 years, taking puppy classes during this time, and also works as a dog walker.

One of her hobbies is Competitive Dog Obedience and she has attained the title of Obedience champion with two of her dogs. She also enjoys instructing at the North Shore Dog Training Club. In July 2020 Lyn and Cobber achieved the title of Obedience Grand Champion.

Her aim in taking puppy classes is to encourage, and see develop positive relationships between people and their pups.

Louise (courses in Silverdale):

Originally from Arbroath in Scotland, Louise moved to NZ in 2008 with her husband and two girls. How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks oldStudied Music at Aberdeen University and spent 22 years as a Music Teacher in Primary and Secondary schools in Scotland, England and New Zealand. In 2020 Louise returned to Uni to study Canine Behaviour and Animal Management. Louise is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers NZ

This was a choice driven by her desire to help others achieve a relationship with their dogs like she has with her dog Putu.

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Set up House-training programme

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Please read booking terms carefully when registering.

NO MASK = NO ENTRY

WONDER PAWS TEEN PAWS COURSE (pups aged 19-24weeks)
5-WEEK LEVEL 1 PUPPY TRAINING & SOCIALISATION COURSE​ €159

With the same curriculum as Little Paws, this 5-week basic obedience course welcomes slightly older, dog-friendly puppies who have had no previous formal training and would benefit from learning the basics and enjoying off-leash socialisation! Helps owners deepen the bond and develop clear communication with their older puppy.

– Sit, Down, Touch Recall, Go to Mat and settle behaviours

– Develop Impulse Control with new skills like Leave-It, Stay, 4-paws on floor

– Behaviours trained using food lures, then quickly progress to handsignals & verbal cues

– Loose-lead walking techniques

– Building a Reliable Recall with distractions

– Carefully supervised off-leash play

– Manage puppy behaviours like play-biting, jumping, chewing etc

– Key socialisation with other puppies, adults and children and novel stimuli
– Dog Safety & Bite Prevention: appropriate puppy handling, learning bite inhibition, trading games etc

– Grooming preparation (happy with hands and brush skills)

– Advice on nutrition, husbandry, care & grooming

– Responsible ownership & meeting your puppy's needs
– Boosts SHY puppies confidence & helps prevent fear-based behaviours


pre-requisite: full vaccinations including canine cough​

location : Wonder Paws at Festina Lente, Old Connaught Ave, Bray A98 F702

duration : 5 x 1hr weekly classes ​ (no classes on Bank Holiday Weekends) ​

age group : 19-24 weeks max

price : €159 per pup

COVID SAFETY UPDATE : 2 handlers allowed PER puppy – MASKS ARE MANDATORY AT OUR CLASSES

Kindergarten puppy training is a popular course throughout the world. These classes are intended for puppies between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months. Puppies are ready to learn and an early start at training and socialization is the best route to establishing the foundation for a great relationship with your dog.

Finding a Class

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Puppy training classes are valuable to both dog and owner, if the instructor understands the unique qualities and needs of puppies. A puppy training class is not just an obedience class with young students. The class should introduce the puppy to basic commands, but emphasis should be on developing a confident, responsive dog. Socialization is a critical component of a puppy class. The instructor should include discussions to address canine companionship issues. “Don’t miss out on the critical socialization period for puppies. Making sure you and your pup have good communication together, socialization to people and dogs, an introduction to obstacles, noises and environments will help build the proper foundation for a well behaved adult dog,” recommends Best Friends Dog Training of New York on its website.

Head Start to Happiness

The website for Beyond Obedience outlines the components of a good puppy class, “Preventing behavior problems through socialization, good management and the use of gentle, fun and effective training methods to guide the puppy through its learning process is a major focus of [the puppy class].” The class should explain principles for house training, puppy play behaviors, destructive chewing, problem digging and chewing and canine pack order. Attention to these topics will prevent problems when the dog matures.

Basic Training

Russell Illig/Photodisc/Getty Images

Young puppies are sensitive and sponges for learning. You can introduce basic commands to your puppy, as long as you stick to positive training methods. The use of food reinforcement and attention is powerful, and harsh corrections are out of place. Best Friends recommends getting “your pup started on basic dog training skills such as: come, polite greetings without jumping, no-pull walking, sit, down and appropriate play.” Classes can vary in how much is covered, but all classes should remain positive.

How to Find a Good Class

Don’t miss the opportunity to take part in a puppy training class, but make sure that the class is appropriate for puppies. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation, or call your local animal shelter for a referral. Of course, a friend’s good experience is the best testimony to a trainer’s ability to teach dogs and their owners. Once you have the names of a few trainers, call and ask about their training program. A good trainer will explain how puppies learn and how their class meets the needs of young puppies. Once you find a class, commit to the sessions and the out-of-class exercises.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Early puppy training is key to giving your puppy the best chance at growing in to a well behaved and social family companion, so start training with your puppy early.

Get your puppy started off on the right paw

Welcoming a new puppy in to your family is such an exciting time and we’re here to help you with each challenge along the way.

Our puppy training classes are designed to provide all the essential early training a young puppy needs, as well as preparing their humans with the knowledge to raise a happy, healthy dog you can enjoy for years to come. To make sure you get all the training you need, we’ve created all-inclusive memberships. That means you can train all you want at the pace that suits your puppy best.

Visit our Dog Training page for details on training programs for dogs 20 weeks and older.

Training puppies is more than just for fun, it’s essential in allowing our puppies to become the best dog they can be. You can get one of our Trainers in as early as 8 weeks, or even before your puppy comes home to start working on your goals immediately. We can help with house training, teething and mouthing, problem behaviour prevention and more. Click here for our private training options.

Once you have completed your profile please contact us to register for your chosen option.

Puppy PReschool (10-20 weeks)

These classes are designed to train puppies on proper manners and obedience foundations to help them become a good canine neighbour that you can take with you anywhere. We will cover exercises, like polite leash walking, not jumping up when greeting, coming when called and much more. Our format allows you the flexibility to come as often or as little as you require.

Classes run twice per week for 50 minutes and you can drop in as often as you’d like. For the best value, we offer a membership. Come as much or as little as you like for the duration of your membership. Puppy Social classes are FREE with every membership!

Puppy Socials ($15 drop in)

In Puppy Social classes we focus on socialization with other puppies and people, as well as behaviour problem solving and prevention, such as mouthing, crate training and handling to make sure your puppy blossoms into a happy and confident dog that you can bring anywhere. These run once per week for

50 minutes and registration in advance is required. We’ve designed these as drop in classes, so you can attend as many sessions as you choose, to suit you and your puppy.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

TRAINING MEMBERSHIPS

Our training programs are offered as a membership that allows you the flexibility to train as much or as little as you like. Classes are offered twice each week and you can attend as often as you like for the duration of your membership. BONUS – attend our Puppy Social for free with your Puppy Preschool Membership. To provide continued socialization for your puppy, we are including 1 FREE daycare half day with each monthly Puppy Preschool Membership.

Our training memberships allow you the flexibility to train at a pace that works for you, your dog and your schedule. You don’t need to wait for the next set to start, just jump in when you’re ready. When you complete each level, you can move on to the next level for the remainder of your membership or renew your membership when it finishes.

Pricing

$295 per month (charged on 1st of the month)

NOTE: Spaces are filling quickly, so please contact as early as possible to register or be placed on our wait list. In most cases the wait list is 1 – 2 weeks or less, as other people move on to the next level.

Puppy Training Recommended age 10 weeks – 20 weeks
**All puppies must be up to date on their first round of shots for Parvo/Distemper. Please click
here to read the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior position statement on early socialization*

You recently acquired a new puppy and other than the middle of the night potty breaks, the first few weeks were pretty easy. The pup mostly ate, slept, gently gnawed on his toys, and waddled along a few feet behind you, never getting too far from sight.

But a few weeks have gone by and that devoted pup has suddenly developed a mind of his own. He is darting into the street to chase squirrels, chewing on the corner of the sofa, and using those piranha-like incisors to clamp down on your hands when you try to pet or brush him.

You’re wondering if you can use dog obedience collars to start teaching better manners but a friend who has trained a few of his own dogs has told you he is too young. In fact, the more people you ask, the more conflicting opinions you get!

It is fairly common knowledge that you should start training your puppy as soon as he comes into your home. Our dogs are taking in information all the time. Each interaction with them is a learning opportunity and basic manners like housebreaking, learning to inhibit play biting and control of nuisance whining, barking and jumping up should start young. It is ideal if the pup grows up never really having learned and ingrained bad behaviors to begin with.

But when it comes to the question of how old is “old enough” to start using an e-collar to train a dog, the truth is, there isn’t a one size fits all answer. Some pups are ready to go around 14 or 15 weeks of age, others should be close to the typically standard prescribed 6 month old time frame before you start.

If your pup is large enough to fit the collar properly AND has an outgoing, boisterous type of personality, you can very likely add an e-collar to the training tool kit and get started earlier than you would if you have a quiet, reserved pup. The more withdrawn puppies should have extra attention paid to exploring the world and experiencing a spectrum of positive adventures rather than focusing on reining them in too soon and creating potential hesitancy.

My personal belief is that the decision about e-collar training should depend on a factor far more important than the age of the dog. A factor that is even more important than the dog’s overall temperament.

In my opinion, the decision should be weighted heavily on you as the operator, your knowledge of the tool, and very importantly, your willingness to put in the needed training time. If you’re a patient person, willing to learn to use the collar properly (or you’re already experienced) you can get started. On the other hand, if you’re only looking for a quick fix to punish nuisance behavior (and not take the time to teach the dog what to do) you should reassess your motivation and the relationship you have with your dog.

If both you and your dog are ready, then go for it and get busy with the collar conditioning protocols and do the work. Put in the practice sessions because collar conditioning teaches your dog HOW to properly respond and have control over the sensation. That understanding will bring a happy working attitude rather than a sullen or deflated one and you’ll end up improving the relationship you have with your dog and more thoroughly enjoying your time together.

The thing that will vary based on your dog’s age, is how much work you can do in a given session and for how long. Pay attention and honor the limitations of your dog’s attention span when you start. Err on the side of caution and keep your sessions short, rather than too long. You will build your dog’s mental endurance as you practice together. And focus on what is going right; help your young dog get it right. Don’t be stingy with the use of rewards and praise.

Once the dog understands how to respond and do as you ask, everything else will begin to fall in line. You will have a well-mannered, happy dog and you will be able to enjoy more adventures together.

Adventures and musings of a behavior vet and dog trainer

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

June 30, 2016 jsummerfield8

Today’s topic is one of the most common questions we get from new puppy owners at our training facility – what’s the point of puppy kindergarten? Can’t we just go ahead and put Buddy in obedience class, so he can start learning the important stuff?

I get it. I really do. Especially if Buddy is a large-breed dog, like a Labrador or a Great Dane, who will be capable of knocking over full-grown adults in a few short months without some training. It seems like a no-brainer that the earlier you start “real obedience,” the better off you’ll be… right?

Well. Like so many things in life, the answer is not that simple.

The truth is, I always cringe a little when I get these requests – I will allow owners to enroll in the class of their choice, but I feel strongly that it is not in Buddy’s best interest to skip ahead. Not because he isn’t smart enough to hang with the grown-ups, or because you aren’t committed enough to do “real” work with him, but for a much more important reason: developmentally, at this age, he has much bigger fish to fry.

Assuming that Buddy is less than 16 weeks old, he is still in his critical socialization period – learning about the world around him, what is normal and what isn’t. (See last week’s post on puppy socialization for more on this.) That means that his “to-do” list looks very different from a 6 or 12-month-old dog’s.

Here are some of the most important things we work on in puppy kindergarten, none of which are covered in our obedience classes for older dogs:

Playtime with other puppies

This is, without a doubt, most owners’ favorite part of puppy class! It’s difficult not to smile in a room full of puppies wrestling and chasing each other. But aside from being fun for everyone involved, off-leash interaction with other puppies is one of the most valuable educational aspects of a well-run puppy class.

At this age, puppies are still developing their canine social skills and learning how to interact appropriately with other dogs – including vital skills like polite dog-to-dog greeting behavior, being gentle with their teeth during play, and reading social cues to determine whether another puppy wants to play or be left alone. Without these skills, many pups grow up to be adults who have difficulty communicating normally with other dogs, putting them at high risk for anxiety or aggression in social situations.

Just as importantly, puppy playtime offers an unparalleled opportunity for owners to learn what appropriate play looks like. We discuss normal play vs. bullying, when and how to intervene if things become too rough, and how to identify good playmates for your puppy based on his/her play style.

One caveat – playtime should not be an unregulated free-for-all! A good puppy class instructor will monitor closely to make sure that puppies are well-matched during play, and separate the class into smaller play groups of 2-3 puppies each if needed. Healthy, appropriate play is very beneficial, but it is important to make sure that more energetic or assertive puppies are not allowed to harass others who may be more anxious or reserved. A cardinal rule of “good” play is that everyone should be having fun.

New objects and different surfaces

An often-overlooked aspect of socialization is exposure to physical things in the environment, not just people and other dogs. If you’ve ever had a dog who won’t walk on shiny floors, or who barks and growls at the neighbor’s garbage can, you’ll understand how important this is!

We make a special effort in our classes to let the pups see and interact with lots of funny objects – they learn to run through a crinkly plastic agility tunnel, hop on and off of a rubberized teeter board and other things that move, and practice getting onto a pretend “scale” to be weighed. By using lots of praise and treats, and allowing the pups to try things at their own pace, we can make these experiences fun and rewarding.

Handling and grooming

Ah… vet visits, grooming appointments, and nail trims. They’re not very flashy or exciting, but they will be a huge part of your dog’s life – so it pays to invest a little time and effort with young puppies to avoid problems down the line.

Sadly, I see dogs every day in the veterinary clinic who cower and shake (or become aggressive) over things as uneventful as having their ears looked at with an otoscope, or their paws handled for a nail trim. It breaks my heart, because no dog should experience so much stress and fear over a simple physical exam.

In class, we practice body handling and vet/grooming visits each week on a table. The puppies get treats for allowing us to open their mouth, touch their paws, lift their tails and palpate their bellies. Depending on each pup’s comfort level, we may progress to brushing teeth, cleaning ears, and trimming nails – all while the puppy munches happily on bits of chicken or cheese provided by a helper, relaxed and comfortable with the entire process.

Trust me when I say that more than almost anything else we teach, these skills are worth their weight in gold. Especially if your dog is a large breed, or one that requires a lot of grooming!

Ultimately, here is the bottom line: the single most vital lesson a puppy can learn is that the world is a safe place. That strangers mean him no harm, that other dogs are not scary, that grooming tools and exam tables are fun. It’s no exaggeration to say that this one lesson, if learned well, will make everything else you do with him for the rest of his life exponentially easier.

I see far more dogs who struggle, both in competition settings and in daily life, because of anxiety or reactivity issues than because they lack the obedience skills they need. If your adult dog is friendly, confident and well-adjusted, we can teach him obedience very easily. If, on the other hand, your dog is reactive towards strange people or other dogs, or so anxious about new environments that he can’t focus, learning anything new becomes dramatically more difficult.

So absolutely, train your dog. Manners are important! But first, let your puppy be a puppy – he has his whole life to learn how to heel, but only a few short weeks to figure out his place in a huge, confusing world.

Puppies can begin learning basic obedience techniques at the age of just eight weeks old, essentially as soon as you bring them home. It’s important that your puppy views any type of training you do as a positive experience that they look forward to each time.

Positive reinforcement is the process of rewarding a puppy once they’ve performed a desired action with something your puppy values. For example, by offering them a toy or their favourite treat when they’ve successfully recognised what’s asked of them they will begin to associate this behaviour with a reward.

But other than teaching a puppy new skills, why is obedience training important for your puppy to learn? We will explore this in more detail below.

In This Article

WHY IS OBEDIENCE TRAINING IMPORTANT?

Obedience training is an essential part of any puppy’s life. It provides both mental and physical stimulation which helps to keep your puppy feeling happy and satisfied from a job well done. Not to mention will make both of your lives MUCH easier.

Reward-based training helps to improve and strengthen the relationship between both puppy and owner. The most attractive reason for training a puppy is because of the joy and ease it brings to a household. A well-trained puppy is much more enjoyable than a puppy that regularly misbehaves. Teaching a puppy to listen to you and learn basic obedience skills allows you to introduce your puppy to more environments, travel more often and leave the house without having to worry about coming home to a destroyed living room.

Another desirable factor for training a puppy is an increased level of safety. Common behavioural skills that are vital for a puppy to learn early on include leash training, teaching a puppy to come when called and proper socialisation skills that teach them how to interact with other people/dogs.

Once you’ve mastered these skills and start to introduce your puppy to new environments you’ll have a deeper understanding of them, how they act in certain situations and how to better support them in a given situation.

Obedience Training Supplies Your Puppy Needs

Before you get started on your puppy’s obedience training journey it’s important to be prepared. These five essential items will help to make your training sessions a much smoother experience, and a well-trained puppy in no time.

1. Clicker

Clicker training is a positive reinforcement based method that relies on marking desirable behaviour using a ‘clicker’ and rewarding them afterwards.

2. Treats

Treats can be used as an easy luring method when teaching a puppy new behaviour

3. Leash & Harness

Leash training is one of the most effective, and useful training techniques for puppy’s to learn and can be taught as soon as they’re brought home

4. Barriers

Puppy supplies like crates, pet doors and playpens help to create a more dog-friendly household that allows your puppy to roam freely in an area of your choosing

5. Teething toys

Puppies love to bite, they will chew anything in reach. Having appropriate teething toys for your puppy will make all the difference when it comes to re-redirecting their chewing behaviour.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Puppy Socialization

We recommend starting Puppy Socialization as soon as you bring your puppy home. These classes are for younger puppies, starting the class at 12 weeks of age or younger, and cover basic socialization including age appropriate play with other puppies, housetraining, walking on a leash, basic grooming, and coming when called. Common problems such as chewing, jumping, digging, and barking also will be addressed. This class meets 1 hour per week for 4 weeks.

Session Length: 4 classes
Prerequisite: None
Fee: $70 (+ membership dues)
What to bring: Small training treats, 6-ft leash, collar, water and a bowl, treat pouch (optional) and a toy.
Please note our allowed training gear.
Read about vaccinations here.

Class Schedule:
Mondays, 7:00pm with Jane
Wednesdays, 7:00pm with Donna
Thursdays, 5:45pm with Donna

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Tweeners

This class is for the older puppies (starting the class at 13-20 weeks of age) and covers basic house manners like walking on a loose leash, socialization, coming when called and age appropriate play. Handlers learn to develop a positive relationship with their dog, leadership skills and responsible dog ownership. This class meets 1 hour per week for 4 weeks.

Session Length: 4 classes
Prerequisite:
None
Fee: $70 (+ membership dues)
What to bring: Small training treats, 6-ft leash, collar, water and a bowl, treat pouch (optional) and a toy.
Please note our allowed training gear.
Read about vaccinations here.

Class Schedule:
Mondays, 5:45pm with Jane
Wednesdays, 5:45pm with Donna
Thursdays, 7:00pm with Donna

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Puppy Basic Training

Puppy Basic Training is a 6 week beginning obedience class for puppies aged 12 weeks to 10 months. Learn basic commands and develop skills in loose-leash walking, impulse control and more.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Competition Bedrock

Every good construction project starts with the bedrock! Even before a foundation is built, solid rock is the key to the successful final project!

At TCOTC, we are now offering a brand-new class we have named Competition Bedrock. If you are on a path to competing someday in ANY of the dog sports: Agility, Rally-O, Flyball, Obedience, Freestyle or even a combination of these, this is the place to start!

In this class dog and handler teams will develop the fundamental skills needed to build that bedrock. These skills include handler focus, impulse control, body awareness, shaping behaviors, targeting and more! Click here to see the detailed list of outcomes for this class. Teams will be assessed by their instructor towards the end of the nine-week session to determine the next step towards achieving their competition goals. Skills in those next classes will be focused on the individual sport although of course there will be some crossover.

This class is for dogs who are 18 weeks of age or older and eligible for tier two obedience classes. A drawing will be held two weeks before the class begins if there are more people on the waiting list than we can accommodate. Preference may be given to current and past club members. Successful completion of this class and Instructor approval are required before becoming eligible for our Advanced Obedience, Foundation Agility, Beginning Flyball and Beginning Rally classes.

Session Length: 9 classes
Prerequisite: Basic Training, Puppy Basic Training, or approved skills evaluation
Fee: $135
Read about vaccinations here.

Socializing your puppy means teaching them to be well-behaved around other animals and humans. Socialization helps your puppy be comfortable in new environments and keeps them confident in new situations.

The first three months of your puppy’s life is important for their development. During these months, the desire to be social outweighs their fear.

What Age Is Best for Puppy Socialization?

There has been debate about whether you should socialize your puppy before they are fully vaccinated. However, puppies can handle new experiences best between 3 and 12 weeks old. After that stage, they become cautious about new things they haven’t encountered before.

Puppies can begin socialization classes as early as 7 to 8 weeks. Veterinarians recommend at least one round of vaccines 7 days before socialization and the first round of deworming.

After the first 12 to 14 weeks of your puppy’s life, continued socialization and introduction to new environments is important. This reinforces good behavior. Keeping a positive environment is important for puppies to feel safe and secure while learning new things.

Why Is Puppy Socialization Important?

A well-socialized puppy creates a behaved, relaxed, safer dog. If your puppy is comfortable in a wider variety of situations, they’re less likely to use aggression in moments of fear. Not socializing your puppy can lead to dangerous situations in the future.

According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the number one cause of death for dogs under three is behavioral issues, not infectious disease.

How Does a Puppy Need to Be Socialized?

There are different methods of puppy socialization: at home, in classes, or puppy playdates. Socializing your new puppy also requires more than meeting new people and dogs.

Your puppy needs to be exposed to new sights, sounds, and textures. Letting children play with your puppy, in a controlled setting, and getting a variety of people to play with your puppy helps as well.

Do I Need to Do Anything Special When I Socialize My Puppy?

When socializing your puppy make sure to take it slow and be aware of your puppy’s limits. Make the interactions positive and give plenty of treats and praise. Everything is new to your puppy, so every encounter is an opportunity to make a positive association.

Try not to stress yourself when introducing your puppy to older dogs, as your puppy can pick up on that. Take baby steps and try to avoid doing too much at once. Take introductions to family and strangers slowly, if your puppy feels overwhelmed they may have a fearful reaction to large groups or settings in the future.

What If My Puppy Seems Frightened During Socialization?

If your puppy shows signs of fear or stress during socialization, remove them from the situation. Taking it slow and introducing different stimulants will help your puppy learn how to deal with the situation. If your puppy shows fear during any situation, even quiet, well-controlled experiences, you may want to seek veterinarian guidance.

Puppy Classes

Puppy classes are a great way for your puppy to learn basic obedience skills and socialize with other puppies. Classes focus on positive reinforcement and allow you to be involved in the training process. Puppy classes let your puppy have a range of interactions and benefits their development as they age.

Vaccinations and Disease Risk During Early Socialization

The risk of your puppy getting an infectious disease is increased before 16 weeks. This is also the best time period to socialize them. Your puppy will not be fully protected until they’ve received all of their vaccinations. But it’s important to socialize them in a safe manner before then.

Don’t wait until they are fully vaccinated, because then you will miss out on the best opportunity to get them comfortable in unknown situations. You should avoid dog parks, beaches, and neighborhood parks until your puppy is fully vaccinated.

Other Safe Ways to Socialize Your Partially Vaccinated Puppy

Taking your puppy into stores, to work, or letting them play in your backyard with dogs you’re familiar with can help them socialize early on. You can throw a puppy party and invite people and healthy dogs of all ages to meet your new puppy.

Taking your dog in a carrier or stroller through busy parks and neighborhoods can help get them used to the sights and sounds. Consider taking them on happy trips to the vet and let them be in the waiting room without getting any shots. Reward them for good behavior.

Show Sources

American Kennel Club: “Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Pup: Socialization.”

American Kennel Club: “Puppy Socialization: Why, When, and How to Do It Right.”

American Veterinary Medical Association: “Welfare Implications of Socialization of Puppies and Kittens.”

American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior: “AVSAB Position Statement on Puppy Socialization.”

The Academy for Dog Trainers: “Puppy Socialization and Vaccination – A Balancing Act.”

Vet West Animal Hospitals: “Puppy Socialisation and Parvovirus Protection.”

If raising a puppy is harder than you expected or tensions are running high in your home because your dog is anxious or aggressive and you’re just not sure how to train a dog then you’ve come to the right place!

The trainers at Canine Solutions eagerly await the opportunity to show you how Positive Reinforcement Dog Training can bring tranquility and peace to your home.

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How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

AGGRESSION & ANXIETY

A reactive, aggressive, or anxious dog is stressful for the whole household. Learn how to manage your dog’s more problematic behaviors.

Begin with an Initial Consultation!

PUPPIES UNDER 5 MONTHS

They’re lucky they’re cute! From house training to socialization, puppies have unique needs. Grow your puppy into a confident obedient dog!

Group Classes or Private Training Available!

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

DOGS OVER 5 MONTHS

Young dogs, old dogs, red dogs, blue dogs, we train them all! Your dog manners and develop your handler skills through specialty classes.

Private Training, Board & Train, and Group Classes.

PCOMING EVENTS

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Learn simple techniques for Canine Enrichment and assemble a Snuffle Mat to take home for your dog to enjoy!

WELCOME TO CANINE SOLUTIONS HOLISTIC DOG TRAINING

You know that anything worth doing is worth doing right and that the quickest fix or cheapest program isn’t always the best for long term happiness and success. You’ve want the best for your friend whether it’s the best food, the best health care, or the best training philosophy. That’s why we use Positive Reinforcement to support the human-canine bond with Force-Free dog training.

You know you have to do the work to get the results you want and you know that it’s time to ask for help. Email us today and take the first step toward manifesting the relationship you wish to have with your dog!

In our most popular programs, we train your dog and then train you to maintain his new behaviors. It’s much faster and easier than doing it yourself, because both you and your dog get the ideal learning experience. Your dog learns straight from the experts, and you get to learn with a dog who is already really well-trained.

Total Immersion Board and Train CampsHow to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Is your schedule too busy to commit to a training class at the same time every week? No time to put aside an hour every day to train your dog? Send your dog to learn to behave like a trainer’s dog.

Our one-of-a-kind Total Immersion board and train programs train your dog for real life. Your dog comes to live with 2 professional trainers like one of our own dogs. We’ll do the hard part of training your dog and establishing new behaviors in a realistic, loving, and safe home environment. When we finish, we’ll do several private lessons in your home to teach you and your family how to maintain and build on what we taught your dog.

  • Faster Results: We can do in 3-4 weeks what would take you 3-4 months
  • Less Work: Dog training means practicing every day. Let us do it for you.
  • Less Stress: Untrained dogs get into all kinds of trouble: chewing things up, counter surfing, jumping on guests, etc. Let us get that under control for you in a hurry so that you can enjoy life with your dog.
  • Peace of Mind: We provide a loving safe home environment where your pup gets constant supervision and attention. No kennels here.
  • Real World Results That Last: We train your dog for the situations he will encounter in real life – cooking, eating, having guests, watching TV, etc. – rather than drilling commands on a training floor. Everything we do is designed to train a delightful family pet.
  • Intensive Support: We train you to make sure your puppy’s training sticks

Programs to Teach You to Train Your Dog

Our group classes and in-home coaching programs give do-it-yourself dog owners all the skills, guidance, and support you need to train a wonderfully behaved dog.

Coaching – In-Home Private Dog Training LessonsHow to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Get in-home private lessons on how to train your dog. Our trainers go wherever your problem occurs, whether it’s your home, office, or the local park. Meet when you want and work on whatever you want. You’re the boss.

  • Convenience: Flexible scheduling with daytime, evening, and weekend appointments available
  • Personalized One-on-One Attention: We’ll work on your goals rather than teaching a set curriculum.
  • Real World Training: We practice training at your home, office, kids’ soccer games or wherever you need your dog to behave.
  • Intensive Support: We’re available by phone and email to provide support between lessons

Group Obedience Training Classes

Puppy HeadStart is an open enrollment puppy training class with flexible scheduling designed to make sure that you master the skills taught rather than with a set time frame. We have openings every week at West Chester, and every other week at the Oxford area location. The course can last anywhere from 6-10 weeks depending on your progress. We also have a variety of group class bundles to meet all of your training needs.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

You just got your new puppy a few days ago, and you’re itching to take the little guy out and show him off around the neighborhood. No big deal, right? You just need to get a leash and a collar and head out the door with him in tow.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

While it’s true that you can start training your puppy to walk with you and obey your commands very early on in her development, you might not want to head out into the great wide world just yet. Veterinarians recommend keeping your pup away from dog parks and avoiding walking outside until after she has had all of her core vaccinations.

You can’t get a rabies shot until your pup is at least three months old, and he won’t receive his final booster until 16 weeks — or longer, depending on when you start the process. Already you’re looking at four months or more, which is a lot of time for a growing dog to have pent-up energy and pick up bad habits.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are things you can do to start training your dog for the walk while you’re still stuck inside.

Introduce the Collar and Leash

As early as a few weeks old, you can introduce your pup to her collar and leash. Wait until she’s doing something positive such as feeding, playing, or getting affection from you and slip on the collar and leash. The idea is both to get her used to wearing them and to have her associate them with positive feelings. If your dog fights against the leash or collar, try using treats or toys to get her more comfortable.

Go for a Walk — Inside

Just because you don’t want to risk taking your pup around the neighborhood doesn’t mean you can’t walk. Attach his leash and guide him around your living space so he gets used to you leading him around. If you have a backyard, you should use bathroom time as another opportunity for leash training by walking your pup out to the spot where you want him to go, instead of letting him have the run of the yard.

Help Him Learn to Follow

Ideally, you want to be leading your dog when you’re on the walk — not the other way around. But this is a lot harder to do with a large adult dog than a tiny pup, so there’s no better time for training than now. All you have to do is put on his leash and walk a few steps. When he inevitably starts to pull, you should turn and walk in the opposite direction. You’ll stop-and-start a lot at first, but eventually she’ll get it. You can reinforce this learning by rewarding him with praise or treats when he does follow.

Practice Obedience Training

By the time your dog is ready to go out on walks, between months 3 and 6, it’s also a good window to start obedience training. Start with basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel,” and “down,” and make sure everyone doing the training is consistent, using the same words and gestures. Otherwise, the dog will become confused.

One of the best ways to teach these basic commands is the “Ask, Tell, and Command” method. The idea is that you first ask your dog to do something, such as “come.” Then tell them to do it using a firm voice if they don’t comply the first time. If that still doesn’t work, repeat the command again and physically pull your pup to you. Regardless of whether your dog comes on her own or you bring her over, immediately offer praise. This will help her to associate completing the action with a reward, and next time she may do it sooner.

Keep up with the training and stay consistent. Pretty soon your dog will obey you without even thinking about it!

When did you start obedience training your puppy? Share your story with us in the comments.

Teach your dog these basic obedience commands for a well-behaved pup.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

When you get a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or an adult rescue, she probably needs some obedience training. More specifically, a well-behaved pup should respond to seven directions in order to become a good canine citizen: Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Heel, Off, and No. Expert trainer Brandon McMillan, Emmy Award–winning host of Lucky Dog and author of Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days, calls these the “seven common commands” because they’re the ones most people will use with their pets on a routine basis. He teaches these training lessons to all of his rescue dogs, in order to help them stay safe and well-behaved, whether they spend most of their time in the backyard, at the dog park, or walking the neighborhood with their human companions. With several 10-to-15-minute practice sessions each day, most pets can master these core skills in just a week or two.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

McMillan always teaches Sit first because it’s the most natural concept for most dogs. It’s therefore also one of the easiest for them to learn, so even pets who are new to training can get the hang of it within a few sessions. And because it’s also a transition command, once a dog can sit, you can move on to other directives.

McMillan compares his favorite dog training technique, Down, to taking the keys out of a car’s ignition. A standing dog could bolt like a running vehicle, because there’s nothing keeping her in place. A sitting dog is like a car in Park, but it’s still easy for her to boogey out of there. But when she’s lying down, you’ve cut the engine. Because the command helps you control your dog, it’s also a great transition to more complicated tricks like rolling over or playing dead.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

A dog who knows how to stay won’t run into the street if she gets loose, so this is one of the most important skills for any dog to learn. McMillan recommends teaching it when your pup is tired and hungry so she won’t get too hyper to focus. And be patient: Most dogs take at least a couple of days to understand Stay and it can take a few weeks to master it. But because it protects your dog from danger, keep a bag of treats or kibble handy and keep practicing until she’s a pro.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

If you plan to take your dog anywhere off-leash, she must know how to come when called. It can keep her safe at the dog park if a scuffle breaks out, get her away from the street if she breaks off the leash, or ensure she stays close when hiking or just fooling around in the backyard. McMillan teaches Come after Stay, since having the Stay skill first makes the process easier.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Dogs of all sizes should learn to heel, or walk calmly by your side, especially if you exercise your pup in busy urban areas where there’s not much room on the sidewalk. The skill is even more important for large or strong pups who naturally pull on the leash. Once a dog can heel, walks will be easier and more pleasant for your dog and your arm socket.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Jumping on visitors or furniture is one of the most common dog issues, so if your pooch can’t keep four paws on the floor, don’t despair. Get her to stay off by turning your back when she jumps up, grabbing her paws and shaking a plastic bottle filled with pennies while you say “Off,” suggests McMillan. All of those things discourage jumping, so try a few to see which clicks with your pet.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Some trainers teach both No and Leave It for slightly different situations, such as using No when a dog shouldn’t do something and Leave it for when you want your pup not to investigate an item or situation. McMillan sticks to No, period, to keep things simple. He says explaining the difference can confuse both people and animals, so No makes a good, all-purpose command for everything you want your pup not to do.

Our Puppy School runs on a very basic ethos, where all puppies are treated individually and are taught using positive training methods to help build their confidence and develop their skills.

Book puppy class

Register for Puppy School

Thank you for your interest in booking your puppy into school. Please complete the form and a team member will be in contact.

Or please call our reception team on 9999 2269 to book a spot in puppy school.

Mona Vale Vet Puppy School Register

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

Puppy Classes Mona Vale

Puppy School at Mona Vale Vet Hospital – with Veronica’s Canine Concepts

The first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial and there is so much for your puppy to learn and discover. Our puppy classes will set your puppy up for success in becoming a happy and well adjusted member of the family. Time and effort spent in the early weeks with your puppy will pay dividends in the future and we are here to support you and answer all your questions as you navigate those early days.

In puppy class you will learn about socialisation, developing independence and preventing separation anxiety, preventing problem behaviours, enrichment, nipping and biting, toilet training, basic obedience skills (come, sit, drop, stay, leave), polite manners, grooming and much more!

Our aim is always to set your puppy up for success, by rewarding in small progressive steps the behaviours we want, while preventing the practice of unwanted behaviours.

Even before your puppy arrives home we recommend you book your FREE Puppy Consultation with our qualified Veterinary Nurses (within 48 hours of bringing your puppy home) and lock in your spot at Puppy School as spaces fill quickly!

What will your puppy learn?

During our program, puppies will meet new friends and owners learn new skills to teach when at home, on walks, around at a friends place or just general living with your newest furry friend.

Skills learnt will include Look at Me, Sit stay, Drop stay, Come to a Sit and some Heel work. We will also cover topics including effective communication with your dog, what are your dog’s needs, plus building a good relationship with your dog.

Our practical classes also go through best management for leash handling and walking, exploring texture through obstacle courses, exploring sound with the Sound Proof Puppy Training app, as well as practising appropriate best handling for vet visits and grooming.

Your puppy will also associate visits to our hospital as a fun, positive and social place, rather than being a place visited when they are sick or feeling unwell.

At what age should a puppy attend school?

In light of understanding canine leaning and development, the timing of puppy school is vital. The critical phase of learning for a dog is between the ages of 3-12 weeks. This extends to 16 weeks for some areas of learning. Dog breeds and individuals can also vary. We recommend that your puppy joins a good puppy school before they reach 12 weeks of age. Ideally, you would start a course when your puppy is between 8-10 weeks old

What will our puppy parents learn?

All of the above plus so much more!! We also hold a theory session, where new puppy owners attend without their new furry family member. The aim of our theory session is to help owners understand canine behavioural learning, what socialisation really means for dog, why dog parks may not be recommended, tips of preventing resource guarding and toileting training.

About your dog coach

Veronica holds a certificate in Dog Training & Behaviour (through renowned trainers Steve & Vicki Austin) and has completed Vicki Austin’s Puppy Class Instructors Course. She is a certified ProDog Trainer through AbsoluteDogs in the UK, and continually updates her knowledge through various courses, seminars and webinars.

She has been involved with dogs for over 20 years, and currently lives with two dogs, Georgie the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and Chip the Border Collie.

Veronica has successfully competed in dog obedience and holds several obedience qualifications and titles, and has spent many years volunteering as an instructor at local obedience clubs. She is a full member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia.

A maximum of two people are welcome to attend, except for our Walnut Creek and El Cerrito Pet Food Express locations where the limit is one pup per person.

Your puppy will make new friends and develop self-confidence as s/he builds lifelong social skills. Watch your pup demonstrate new behaviors and flourish in our stimulating classroom environment while having a whole lot of fun!

What if my puppy is older than 18 weeks?

You will want to enroll in our DOG1 class; this is for older puppies and dogs.

Puppy MUST be between 8 to 18 weeks old at start of the first class. All the pups need to be within the same developmental time frame. After 18 weeks your puppy is entering their teenage years, with adult teeth, jaw strength and attitude.

  • Basic Obedience – sit, down, stay, come, leash skills
  • Manners – jumping, don’t touch, drop it, calm down
  • Social Skills – with other pups, with humans, build confidence in a variety of settings, prevent aggression
  • Distraction Skills – learns to focus and work in a group setting
  • All Things Puppy – nipping, chewing, house training, and how to deal with these issues in a positive way
  • Detailed homework and training handouts provided after each class.
  • Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of distemper and parvo vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first de-worming. They should be kept up to date throughout the class. Proof of vaccinations are required.
  • Rabies is not required until the PUP2 series.
  • Puppies need to be in your home at least 10 days prior to attending class. This is for the health and safety of all our puppy students. If your puppy has been in your home less than 10 days, you can attend the first class without your pup and then practice at home with the detailed homework we provide. No need to delay training!
  • We recommend, but do not require, vaccination against Canine Flu for all dogs: Canine Influenza Virus H3N2/H3N8. Please consult your veterinarian.
  • Puppy must be between 9-18 weeks of age at the first class. If older than 18 weeks: enroll in a DOG1 class!
  • Please review our refund policy prior to registration.
  • Make-up classes: See our FAQ section.
  • Current vaccination records
  • Lots of bite size treats
  • Stuffed Kong or Bully Stick for pup to chew on during calm time
  • Standard flat collar or a front clipping harness, plus a 5 or 6 foot, standard leash (check our resources page for ideas)
  • Maximum two people except for our El Cerrito and Walnut Creek Pet Food Express locations where the limit is one person per puppy. We will continue to follow the guidelines of each of our locations and update our protocols as we are able.

Schedule for In-Person PUP1 Classes:

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$250 per dog

  • Number of classes: 5
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Duration: 50 min
  • Multiple locations

We have a class for that! The Potty Training Project is a one hour webinar on how to house-train your pup or dog. Stay tuned; we are offering this very soon.

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

How to obedience train your puppy before it's 10 weeks old

In-Person PUP2/DOG2:
Junior High School for Pups

A maximum of two people are welcome to attend, except for our Walnut Creek and El Cerrito Pet Food Express locations. Limit is one person per puppy.

Your cute little puppy will be growing rapidly and you’ll be encountering a whole new set of challenges together during this exciting “adolescent” period. We are experts at dealing with rowdy teenagers, so we highly recommend that you take Pup 2 within several weeks of taking your Pup 1 class.

  • Heel – walk by my side
  • Recall conditioning
  • Extreme Distraction Skills – focus and stay with Xtreme distractions
  • Placement Work – go to a rug and lie down
  • Distance Commands – sit and down commands at a distance
  • Detailed homework and training handouts provided after each class.
  • Completion of a Bravo PUP 1 or Bravo DOG 1 class.
  • Up to date and current with vaccinations.
  • We recommend, but do not require, vaccination against Canine Flu for all dogs: Canine Influenza Virus H3N2/H3N8. Please consult your veterinarian.
  • Pup must be friendly with dogs and people.
  • If you are concerned about your dog’s behavior around other dogs and/or people, we strongly recommend that your dog receive a professional evaluation with a BravoPup trainer prior to enrollment. This will help us determine if a group class is the best environment for you and your dog to begin training together.
  • Dog must not be reactive to other dogs on leash.
  • Please review our refund policy prior to registration.
  • Make-up classes: See our FAQ section.

Schedule of classes for In-Person PUP 2/DOG 2:

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