Sarah Wilson

Dog Expert

Does Puppy Training Have to Wait?


Puppy Training Blog ImageThree times this week people have said to me that they are waiting to start puppy training until their pup is six months old.

And three times this week I have countered with: You’re already training.

Every interaction teaches your puppy. Pups are, in the first few months, learning machines. The adorable and whip-smart 8.5-week-old Button is learning at light speed and I am attempting to make the most of it. Here is a short clip of her coming when called yesterday. Note, if you can see it, how she screeches to a halt and spins back to me when she hears “come”. That is one rocking recall she is developing and we’re just one week into her education!

This response is being built by making “Come” a chance for us to have fun. Sometimes she is rewarded with a surprise treat, a fun toy or a praise party with me. When she hears “Come” she knows something wonderful is about to happen and she rushes back to me to see what it will be. She’s a My Smart Puppy  puppy.

At this age, it is easy to develop good habits that can last her lifetime. Will more training need to be done? Of course! Taught this way, it is a joy for both of us. Her delight (and mine) inspires me to continue. Wouldn’t you be motivated seeing that happy face coming your way?

My guess is this dog myth, to delay training until six months, began when training was still in the harsh phase of things. When a dog needed to be more mature to cope with the pressures – physical, mental and emotional – created by correction-focused training.

But who’s talking about corrections?

Use reward-focused training; begin the day your puppy enters your life. You can start connecting more deeply, enhancing your mutual understanding, having fun together while you both are learning. Sure it is “training” but since it is puppy training you do with your puppy using compassion, patience and joy, there is no reason to wait.

Start today!






  1. My Smart Puppy is the best book! My 9-week old pup would freeze and drop on the leash 5 days ago and now not only does he walk on the leash, but as soon as the leash gets tight, he immediately looks at me and runs back my way for either a treat or praise party. It’s fantastic!

  2. We were told to wait until our puppies where through their vaccination series to introduce them to other dogs so we hired a private trainer who came to our home and worked with us. Since we had littermates, we didn’t want to wait and I’m glad that we didn’t. I’m thinking of taking all of our dogs to a class just for fun before the summer is out.

    Loved the video.

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