Basic dog obedience training should be started right away when a new puppy or adult dog joins your family. Don't wait a couple weeks for the dog to "settle in".
Sooner rather than later, you need to teach your new family member who is the leader and how to follow simple commands...
As a certified dog trainer, I recommend and use balanced training for all breeds, personalities, and sizes of dogs and puppies. If you haven't already done so, take a minute to read about my recommended dog training method. Being informed is the first step to making a change!
Basic dog obedience training is most often where you'll need to start with a new puppy, or an adult dog that has little or no obedience training.
You should always take your puppy to obedience classes, as opposed to attempting training on your own at home. These classes are offered at most dog schools. It can range from 4 to 10 weeks in length, with usually one 30 to 60 minute lesson each week.
Initially your training will consist of house training (at least for a puppy) and hopefully crate training (for both puppies and adult dogs). My dog, Justice, was house trained easily within a week, and crate trained within a couple weeks as well!
A crate is going to be your new best friend when it comes to house training - they go hand in hand. And used properly, your dog will love his crate!
I can always find Justice curled up in her crate throughout the day, and she sleeps there at night, too. It's her safe place, where she is comfortable and calm.
Crate training a dog is easy, if you do it the right way. Take your time on each step, and never use it for punishment or "time-outs"! It makes house training a puppy a breeze, so make sure that you start as soon as your puppy or new dog comes home.
To get you started with basic dog obedience training, I want to give you some easy tips to start putting into practice with your puppy or adult dog. Yes, an older dog can learn basic obedience training, too!
Understand this - the more often a dog fails at something, the more he's going to want to avoid that exercise because you're never happy with him. Instead, keep distractions to a minimum when first training, and work in tiny increments.
And don't drop the leash until you are 150% sure that your dog will stay. This ensures that the training exercise will be successful, and your dog will be happy to repeat that good behavior again next time!
Using both voice commands and hand signals, a good basic dog obedience training class should consist of teaching your dog the following commands and exercises:
Be wary of a trainer who tells you to remove the leash from your puppy's collar during these first weeks of training.
As much as you or the trainer might believe in him, a pup or untrained adult dog is not ready for off-leash training yet! That level of training comes with time, and lots of practice and distraction-proofing.
I am also not in favor of segregating puppies from adult dogs in basic dog obedience training. "Puppy classes" aren't the best option, especially as the pups are often allowed to play with each other during class.
Why is this a problem? I think you need to be picky about choosing your puppy's friends, otherwise he will pick up bad habits.
When a room full of puppies are allowed free reign with each other, it involves a lot of nipping, barking, jumping and other undesirable behaviors.
Well, what about the socialization aspect? A dog or puppy does not need to be jumping on and sniffing at each other to be socialized. Simply being around other dogs, seeing them, hearing them, being able to smell as they move around is socialization.
I also find that puppies can learn a lot from being around older and calmer dogs. The same thing goes for special small dog classes. You are not going to solve a small dog's fear of bigger dogs if you won't allow them in the same room!
By training all breeds, sizes, and ages together, all of the dogs will benefit from the socialization.
Most dogs are ready to move on from basic dog obedience training after about 10 weeks, so long as you have been practicing every day for at least 15 minutes to a half hour.
Remember, it's not worth it to rush to the next level if your dog is not quite there yet. I don't believe a puppy or adult dog should continue to an intermediate level until they can at least do:
Ready for the next level of dog training? See what the intermediate level is all about.