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.