Puppy Training – 4 Months of Age & Up
Last post, we explored the downside to not training early.
To continue that thread, consider now the pup who has reached the age of 4 months. Now is the time to get to basic obedience classes. Spending a few months working hard on the basics will translate to many years of blissful dog ownership. On the other hand, being “too busy” to train a young dog can set you up for a lot of frustration. Often people put off training until frustration starts knocking, be it the need to chase the dog around the neighbourhood when they slip out the front door or because they have chronic shoulder pain due to the dog lacking manners in walking. Waiting can make for a lot of work down the road.
Consider the dog that is now 6 months old, they’re bigger and stronger – if you’ve waited to train, you may now be regretting that decision. Remember this line: Dogs do what is reinforcing! That means playing games like catch-me-if-you-can are fun to a dog who has not learned to love running to you happily when they are called. If you’ve had a cooperative dog, often they want to run to you – until they decide there is something else that suits them better. What we hope to do with training lessons is teach our dogs that learning and listening is fun. Building a solid foundation of obedience skills while a dog is young is crucial.
Retired Associate Professor of Animal Behaviour, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph can be quoted in saying that 1 of 5 pet dogs are euthanized or abandoned before the age of 2 years due to unwanted behaviour, socialization and lack of appropriate training.
We often get people desperate to come to classes because they now have a 7+ month old dog that they can’t handle. They are then forced to struggle through teaching new skills to a dog who has bad habits in place. In addition, 7 through 18 months are prime adolescent months. When dogs are adolescent, they are like teenagers and most will test the waters and challenge the rules. An adolescent dog with a solid foundation will be much easier to transition through this phase of life.
It’s fun to learn and bond with your new pup. Don’t wait – remember that early puppy training is easy training!