At What Age Can You Start Training a Puppy?

by | May 11, 2023 | General Information

Puppy (noun): a small bundle of fluff that chews and bites everything within its reach, yelps and whines and howls at all hours, pees and poops everywhere, loves cuddles and belly rubs, and is the cutest little thing you ever saw! 

Raising a puppy can be a joy. You get to take this tiny being into your home and teach them how to have a long, wonderful life. 

But puppies are babies with no manners and no idea what you expect of them. They don’t care how much you paid for your dining room table. That table leg is a perfect chew toy! Your favorite leather boots? Well, let’s not even talk about that.

Fortunately, puppies have a great learning capacity and a desire to please their pack leader. With a few training tips and a lot of patience, you can teach them what is acceptable to you and what is not!

The Benefits of Training Your Puppy


When you bring home a new puppy, you want to form a bond with them as soon as possible. As you train your puppy and discover what works best, you become more aware of how they see the world. They develop loyalty to you and learn what they need to do to please you.


A well-trained dog will not dart out into the middle of the street or lunge at people passing by. Your dog and everyone around them will be safe, especially if they learn life-saving behaviors as puppies.


Your pack leadership gives your dog the structure and security they crave. When you train your dog well, they know what to expect and what they need to do. 

Acquire Socialization Skills

Early in life, especially between 7 and 14 weeks, puppies need to form positive associations with various people, animals, and environments. Training helps socialize puppies when they’re most open to learning. 


The Right Age to Start Training Your Puppy

Early Training

Technically, training starts the day puppies are born when Mama Dog begins teaching them how to be dogs. She gradually imparts the rules of proper puppy pack behavior. 

Dogs that will eventually become working dogs for hunting, police, military, or search and rescue work start training as early as a few days old. That’s when trainers begin desensitizing them to different surfaces (e.g., tile, grass, a cool or warm surface), noises, and smells). 

The Magical Age of 8 Weeks

At about eight weeks, a puppy’s brain has completed enough wiring for them to be able to learn some basic commands. Then they can safely be taken from their mothers and adopted into human households. 

You can begin training as soon as you bring them home, starting with basics like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”  Puppy socialization classes can start at this time, too!

A General Training Timeline for Puppies

Every puppy matures in its own time, but here’s a timeline that will give you a hint of what puppies can handle as they grow:

  • 7-8 weeks: Sit, stay, come; indoor leash training, acclimate to handling
  • 8-10 weeks: Crate training
  • 10-12 weeks: Learn not to bite
  • 12-16 weeks: Potty training
  • 6 months: Continue and reinforce training, introduce new skills

Basic Puppy Training Tips and Techniques

Technically, everything you do around your puppy is training. How do you respond to their behavior? Do you laugh when they eat your shoe? Great! Puppies will do more of that. Do you give them a stern “NO” command? Okay, they probably shouldn’t do that again. You still need formal training, though!

Puppy exploring

What Do You Want the Puppy to Do or Not to Do?

First, give some thought to what you want from your puppy — how you want them to act with:

  • Adults and children
  • Other dogs and animals
  • The sound of the doorbell or a knock at the door
  • A walk or out in public 
  • Trips to the vet or groomer
  • Travel 

Make a list of things that fit your family and lifestyle, then plan what your dog needs to learn.

Keep the Training Sessions Short

Training is most effective with concise sessions — 5 to 10 minutes — a few times daily. Your eight-week-old puppy is still a baby. Their attention span is limited. Their body is growing rapidly, and their bones are soft, so any high-impact action or excessive exercise can cause injury. 

That growth uses up a lot of energy, so puppies typically get big bursts of activity followed by a great need for a comfy nap. Be careful not to let them overexert, and choose training times when they’re fully awake and full of energy. 

Positive Reinforcement

Train your puppy by rewarding them for desired behavior with things they like best, such as treats or their favorite toy. 

Do not punish your puppy for mistakes or unwanted behavior. It will only scare and confuse them. A consistent, immediate response or a firm “No” and redirection is enough. 


You and everyone in the household (including children) need to be consistent during the puppy training process. Your body language, short words or phrases, hand gestures, sounds, and anything else you use as a cue or command must be absolutely consistent, even when it’s not the most convenient time.

Practice Patience

Puppies don’t learn all at once. Just like a human child learning to walk, they will stumble and make mistakes

Don’t rush them or get frustrated. They will sense your negative emotions and get confused or uncomfortable. Instead, be patient, and they will eventually get it.

Practice in Different Environments

Reinforce your training by repeating it in places with many distractions — a park, near kids playing, around a hotdog vendor with aromas fit for doggy heaven. Despite the outdoor chaos, the puppy must focus on you and your commands. This will really help that obedience training sink in. 

Luring, Capturing, Shaping, and Basic Cues

With luring, capturing, and shaping, you use a high-value reward the puppy will follow, then give it when they come close to doing what you want. 

Use a clicker, short word, or a sound to mark the behavior as correct, then give the reward. Gradually build to the exact behavior you want.

Crate Training

A simulation of a den, a crate is a place of comfort for a dog. As long as you don’t use it as a punishment, they will form associations between the crate and good things and enjoy crate time throughout their life. 

This is a great tool to help in potty training, as dogs prefer to avoid soiling their dens. It also keeps them away from trouble when you’re not around. 

Basic puppy training tips and techniques

In Need of Puppy Training Help? K9 Basics is Here!

Puppy training is not easy and can take a lot of time. Sometimes, a professional trainer is your best bet. Our capable trainers at K9 Basics will teach your puppy the skills they need and help you learn how to maintain the behavior you want. Start with consistent, clear training, and you and your puppy will have many happy years ahead!

Contact us for an appointment. We’re here to help! Give us a call at (866) 592-2742 or, if you’re from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, or New York, visit us at 131 Kenilworth Road, Marlton, New Jersey 08053, to learn more about our puppy training classes. Also, browse our blog and social media for various topics about dogs and their lives with us!



  1. Massey, Tom. “What Age Should Dog Training Begin? (+pros & Cons).” SnowyPines, 14 Dec. 2021, Accessed 10 May 2023.
  2. “How Early Can I Start Training My Puppy?” How Early Can I Start to Train My Puppy?, Accessed 10 May 2023.
  3. “Puppy Behavior and Training Basics: VCA Animal Hospital: VCA Animal Hospitals.” Vca, Accessed 10 May 2023.
  4. “How to Start Training Your Puppy.” PetMD, Accessed 10 May 2023.
  5. “Right Age to Start Puppy Training.” Dogseechew, Dogsee Chew, 22 Mar. 2022, Accessed 10 May 2023.