The age of our Dog's education


In our coexistence with dogs we make many mistakes. One of them, extremely usual, is waiting too long to educate him (we have all heard once that a dog cannot be taught practically anything until he turns a year old. So we just get him to do his needs away from home, and rare is the case in which a teaching plan is established, not even of the basic orders.

The newcomer puppy. A newcomer puppy is at the perfect time to start “educating him”: make his needs in a specific space, inhibit the bite, be left alone and respect things that are not his. These four points are essential and very easy to teach the puppy, provided we act from minute one of his arrival.

He already goes out, he has three months. It is time to teach somewhat more complex instructions: go to the call, stand still and walk in step. There are only three “learnings”… but they form the basis for future training and are essential for a minimum coexistence in the urban environment.

You have six or eight months (hereinafter). From this age a puppy is already able to learn virtually any instruction. It is true that for some complex associative learning we will have to wait for some time, but a one-year-old dog (especially if he has been educated in his puppy stage) can learn any skill.

That is one of the keys: if we teach the puppy from an early age (even if it is small advances, not complex behaviors) we will be sowing for the future . Your mind will be more active and receptive to advanced training or training when you are old enough.

The three keys to learning:

  1. It is never too soon ... nor too late. The important thing is to want to teach the dog. And if you can't see yourself, go to one of the many courses or seminars that are taught every weekend.
  2. The perfect time. 10 sessions of 5 minutes distributed throughout the week will be more productive than one of 50 minutes intensively on any given day. It takes method and patience. A good trick is to "go to class" after playing with your friends (never before). This way we will get less decentration.
  3. Educate in positive. If the dog does not "learn" ... it is because we do something wrong, not him. Put yourself in his place, think like a dog ... and you will understand. The number one mistake of the beginner is to think that the dog has to think like a human, and not vice versa.

And an annex ...

A dog, like a person, learns throughout his life. We must be consistent and not neglect our behavior before dogs that we assume "already educated." The metaphor that says that "a puppy is a blank paper on which we write" is very true, but it is not less than when the dog grows, we can "blur" that paper until it becomes unreadable.

What is the ideal age for our dog's education?

There are many doubts that dog owners have regarding training and especially at what age we should start with the education of our dog.

One of the first loopholes that professionals should clarify is the correct age to educate their animals. Or better yet, the different ages at which the different stages of education of a dog must be faced, from being a puppy until it is already an adult.

Of course it is clear that education is an investment for the future, a small effort in the first months of living with a new pet will later become long years of pleasant friendship, full of satisfactions.

Many masters believe that the dog is trained or educated after one year because “before they are unable to learn because they only think about playing”, Others think after the year they no longer learn “because they already have the personality formed” while a third group think "it is not necessary to educate them because a year they calm down alone." If we look at nature we will see that none of them is right:

During the first days of life the puppies spend ninety percent of the time sleeping and the remaining ten percent, sucking. Around thirteen days (there are variations depending on the race) they open their eyes, while the ears begin to be active after twenty days (the startle reaction to a noise is observed).

Around three or four weeks they enter a phase of socialization: their main concern is the game, and through it they reach an immature pack organization, around six weeks of life, with some unfortunate members of the litter suffering attacks from their stronger brothers.

The mother begins to leave them alone gradually to hunt and thus be able to start offering them solid foods predigested through regurgitation. From five weeks he can growl and even make the gesture of biting the puppies in a dissuasive way if they approach with the intention of breastfeeding. During the next two weeks the little ones can persuade her to feed them occasionally, but the supply is coming to an end. By seven weeks of age the dogs usually have a shortage of milk, so puppies should be weaned.

A fundamental process takes place between the third and seventh week of life: Imprinting. It is the most receptive period in the dog's life, since it is able to interpret in an acceptable way the stimuli that its senses provide but it still has no capacity to feel fear: It can know the environment and is not afraid to do so.

Learn to accept the proximity of other dogs and people without showing any fear or aggressiveness. It is the ideal time to learn to relate to the environment in which you will live. Therefore, once the puppy is weaned, we approach a good time for the little ones to adapt to a new home, although the differences according to the races will make us wait at ten weeks.

The socialization phase is completed by three months. The puppy already has a complete social development and if he were free he would begin to explore seriously, beginning to take part in hunting activities. It is the youth phase.

After six months the males begin to lift the leg to urinate and become sexually mature. Full sexual maturity takes place between six and nine months in both males and females, with variations from one race to another. Some individuals are later and do not become fully adults (always from the physiological point of view) until ten or twelve months.

In my opinion, the optimal age of adoption of a puppy is between six and ten weeks, doing it before is as harmful as doing it much later. Relationships between littermates and above all with their parents will have provided the puppy with the basic pillars for emotional stability (premature separation is one of the main sources of insecurity and anxiety), and we are in time to accustom him to a new environment. often stressful before the socialization stage has closed. Inappropriate socializations increase the risk of behavioral problems, including fear and / or attacks on other people or animals. It is possible to socialize them after this period, but the fear itself hinders and slows the process proportionally to the time we pass (the later the more difficult it is).

Once the new tenant has arrived home, the owners must teach basic rules: Cleaning, the order of schedules (sleep, food, walks and games) that will provide security, spaces that may or may not occupy, respect for members of the family (hierarchy) and a good relationship with the world in which you will live. If something fails, the owners should go to a professional who in a talk indicates a series of guidelines not to divert the path, but it is they who must carry out the process. It is true that at this stage the puppy can learn different orders, but this teaching must be calm and patient, with very short work sessions and especially with a lot of motivation, that is, with a lot of play.

It is not convenient before six months to propose a martial training to the puppy, nor would it be good to take a ten year old child to the military, in both cases the individual is able to learn and perform a series of orders or exercises, but The pressure to which it is subjected is not proportional to its maturity, its autonomy or its responsibility. The strict training of a dog under six months would hardly be carried out correctly, since few would be the masters who would understand that a work session, regardless of the price, "only" can consist of three or four orders, insist the animal with more Exercises will produce in the future that "go around".

The exception to the aforementioned is found in sports or group work, where education is posed as a hobby or fun for the dog, motivation is the engine of learning, while the imposition would appear only occasionally.

Between six and eight months of age the dog is the ideal time to carry out training: the maturity of the individual allows him to be insisted enough to achieve good discipline, and yet the hormonal development will not have culminated yet in the characteristic rebellion of all teenagers. The interest in the game is still important, and this will allow us to combine motivation in animal obedience. On the other hand, if there is a defect in previous learning (cleaning habits, socialization defects, destructive behaviors ...), it will still be "tender" enough to be able to reshape it at will.

Until a year and a half or maybe two years it can be relatively easy to convince a dog that it is our will that he must fulfill rather than satisfy his instincts, and we have different alternative resources for it.

Beyond two years of age we face a mature individual, well armed and aware of their potential, with their own ideas on how to resolve social conflicts and with a trajectory of established habits. This forces us not to allow any margin for error, which translates into a more iron and tight work that must be carried out with sufficient firmness, security and decision to deter the animal from its bad habits.

Personally I have carried out training with many dogs of five and six years, and some of up to eight. The results have been good, to which I can say that a dog can learn and also correct at any age. But it is obvious to conclude that bad behavior is worse behavior the more time passes.

A rude dog?

Broken shoes, shattered cushions, a dirty carpet and barking or street fights with the pets of the neighbors is what awaits you if you do not dedicate yourself to properly educate your dog Since this is puppy. As with people, there is a certain age at which it will be easier to teach your dog the main orders and basic habits that he must fulfill to lead a life in harmony with the human family and the other possible pets with which he stumble.

A puppy that has not received education can become a problem and generate tension between the different members that are part of the household, but we know that this can be contrasted and corrected with a necessary guide.

The time to start educating your puppy

Despite the process of domestication that has gone through, the dog is still an animal accustomed to follow the pack, so from a young age he can be polite about the rules that govern the pack, even when it is a family. To wait for the puppy to be more than six months old or close to the year to start teaching him the rules of the house, as many people do, is wasting precious time in which he can perfectly receive instructions on what places in the house are prohibited or where to do your needs, for example.

From 7 weeks, when the dog has already become a little independent of the mother (from that age onwards it is recommended to give them for adoption, for example), your puppy is ready to learn the first rules of coexistence and the orders he needs to become One more member of the family group.

Learning process

The dog learns throughout its life. Even when you think you have finished the process of education and training, if you neglect it you may acquire other habits that are unwanted, or, in fact, that it adapts easily to new situations that arise at home even if you have reached the adulthood. Despite this, educating the puppy from an early age is necessary, not only to avoid problems with the family or end up having an undisciplined dog, but to start training at a young age facilitates the retention of information and makes it more receptive, since adult, to new situations.

Of course, as with humans, each stage has a different level of difficulty, so you must adapt what you want your puppy to learn at its age. In this way, we can divide the puppy's training into:

  • From 7 weeks
  • From 3 months
  • 6 months and up

From 7 weeks

Your puppy has just arrived home, or it is time to help the mother in the education of the puppy or the litter. At this age you can teach your puppy a few things, but they are very important:

6 months and up

Between 6 and 8 months, your puppy will be able to capture more complex orders. Commands like kicking, lying down and other tricks that you want me to learn will be easily assimilated at this stage. It is also a good time to start interact with other dogs. To do this, do not miss our article in which we tell you how to socialize your puppy.

From this point on, your dog will already know the basic rules and will have acquired the necessary habits to live with his human family.

Useful tips to educate your puppy

In addition to all of the above in terms of when you can start educating your puppy, you should take into account the following tips when starting training:

  • Be patient. If you alter when the dog fails to fulfill the order as you wish, do not press or force it: it is likely that the method you are using is not the most appropriate. Leave it for that day, analyze what is wrong and resume the next day.
  • Be loving. The signs of affection, pampering and congratulations when the dog meets what you expect from him are the positive reinforcement he needs to learn faster.
  • Be consistent. From the first day it is crucial to establish what the rules should be that the dog must meet, and these should be followed by the whole family. Mixing the signals will only confuse the animal.
  • Be understanding. Long training sessions will only exhaust you and the dog. You prefer to reinforce the order and behavior you want to follow for five minutes, a maximum of 10 times a day, and the results will be more remarkable.

With these tips we are sure that your puppy will be an educated dog in no time. If you have an adult dog who has never received training, do not despair: it is also possible to educate him, whether you do it yourself at home or attend training courses and workshops with him.

If you want to read more articles similar to When can I start educating a puppy?, we recommend that you enter our section of Basic Education.

Grooming habits

This training You can start the same day you take the puppy home. With persistence, you can instill grooming habits in two to four weeks, occasionally, for a few more days.

Normally the puppy will want to make his needs about ten minutes after eating. If possible, take it outside at that time. Until you have about six months, it may be necessary to take him out for a walk five times a day. Later you can reduce the trips to three newspapers. On these walks you will probably show preference for places that have been used by others dogs. If he does, take him to that place every time you take him out, and very soon he will associate the walks with the idea of ​​doing his needs and will usually do them quickly when he arrives at his favorite place. When he has done his needs, praise him repeatedly and re-enter him into the house. This will make you realize what the purpose of the ride is.

Training with newspaper

Spread newspapers in a corner that you have designated as your puppy's toilet corner. Shortly after he has eaten, take the puppy there and stay with him until he has done his needs, and then praise him repeatedly. Also, take the puppy to the same place when he wakes from his nighttime sleep or from his naps.

Then, take out the dirty papers and replace them with clean papers, but leaving a dirty paper on top. If you prefer, you can buy one of the various materials manufactured for these purposes at a pet store. The smell reminds the puppy what these papers are for.

When you start train him to make your needs on the papers, spread the newspapers over a large area. You will discover that he returns to a preferred place. Gradually reduce the paper covered surface until it is enough to put several sheets in the place of your choice. Fold it when you make a mistake, and then take it to your chosen place. In the event of an "accident" of this nature, never, under any circumstances should a person be hit puppy. Clean the place you soiled with vinegar or ammonia diluted with warm water. This will eliminate any smell that could attract you again to the same place.

For the transition from the use of newspaper papers inside the house to the exclusive use of the outside, when you take it out for a walk, take a few newspapers with you or a container of suitable commercial material. Spread them over the place you want them to use and when they do, praise them and congratulate them profusely. Congratulate yourself too, because you both will have done a good job.

good manners

It's nice to own a dog good trained. It is convenient to start a program of training when the dog is still a puppy, by the time he is an adult dog, he will have learned all the rules that you have established for him.

If you puppy It has a comfortable place to be, you are less likely to want to occupy yours. A firm "no" accompanied by a sound of palms will indicate your error. your puppy Will learn soon if you insist. There are also repellent sprayers for dogs which can be used to keep them away from furniture. They have an unpleasant smell for dogs but not for you, and they are harmless if the furniture tapestry is sprayed with them.

The dogs Young people are especially exuberant, and they will not hesitate to let you know. When you puppy jump on you (or on any other person), take his front legs and put them on the ground, saying at the same time a resounding "No".

A puppy He feels anxious to test his new teeth on almost anything. The best thing you can do to satisfy that need to bite and lessen your cravings is to give it a suitable object to bite it. In animal stores you will find products of suitable materials, specially designed to meet the needs of biting a puppy, safe and effective and that will provide you with countless hours of pleasure and fun. These products exist in a variety of sizes and interesting designs: bones, knots and rings. An important additional benefit is that these artifacts contribute to the general cleaning of the teeth while performing a vigorous gum massage, thus helping to protect your puppy against dental diseases.

If you discover your puppy Biting any object other than those that are allowed to bite, immediately show your disapproval by firmly saying "No" and removing the prohibited object. On the contrary, when he bites his objects destined for that purpose, stroke and praise him repeatedly. Make sure everyone in the house does the same thing constantly.

If you puppy bark when you are absent, your neighbors will let you know quickly. Your complaints will be justified. So take the trouble to take your canine friend from that habit while you still have time to do it. Pretend you're leaving, but wait silently outside the door. Probably the puppy He will start to howl as soon as he thinks you left. He shouts "No, no, no" and quickly returns inside, giggling and showing great disgust. A few lessons like this, before your bad habit takes hold, you will teach That the only result you can get from howling and barking is an angry master.

A dog that barks as a warning is a valuable companion, but a charlatan who barks for any reason and at any time is a nuisance unless it is teach to stop doing it as soon as ordered.

Training to obey

Although your puppy has to learn the habits of grooming and good manners from the day he arrives at your home, simple obedience orders such as those presented here can wait until he is at least six months old. It is very important to keep in mind the need to have patience in everything related to training of a dog Along with patience, you have to be aware. If you keep this in mind while you're training you puppy, you will have more chances of achieving success.

The order "Sit" (Sit down)

With your puppy in front of you or your side, hold the strap with your right hand so that it is tight, and give the order "Sit." At the same time, lean in and with your left hand press its leg until it feels. You may want to lie down or lie on your side. Do not let him. Straighten it with your left hand on its side. Then give him a treat and praise him. Repeat the routine several times, always rewarding it when it responds well. He will soon associate the order with the pressure on his leg and anticipate it before you touch it.

The «Down» Order (Lie down)

Once you puppy It feels when you order it, it won't be difficult teach him the "Down" order. With one hand, hold it by the collar, give the command «Down» and with soft> front legs forward while continuing to press down with the left. Another way to do this is to pass the strap under your shoe and tighten it with your right hand while pressing on your shoulders with your left, while saying «Down». When you want him to get up, give him the "Up" or "Up" command and go one or two steps. The repetition of this procedure will teach Soon your dog will lie on his four legs when he receives the order.

The "Stay" Order

This order is an extension of the "Sit" and "Down" orders. First, order the puppy that feels ("Sit") or cast ("Down"). In front of the dog, give the order «Stay». Slowly back up, raising a finger to warn him not to move. If he does, say "No!" Vigorously. Leave the leash on the ground, from him to you, while walking backwards. Keep repeating "Stay" (or the order you have chosen) or "No", depending on your reaction. With each lesson, try to step back a little more until there is a free space between you and the end of the strap. If at first it stays in its position, if only for a moment, praise it and reward it when you call it.

The order "Let's go"

The correct way to walk with a mature dog is as follows: You take the free end of the leash with your left hand, the leash crosses your body in front until you reach the dog that sits on your right, with your left hand you control the slack of the belt, shortening or lengthening it as necessary. Say clearly "Bobby, let's go" and start taking the first step with your left foot. If the dog comes forward, give it a good pull with your left hand, but immediately loosen the leash again. The pull with the leash is what gets the dog to learn. It makes you feel awkward for a moment, and you will soon learn that if you walk correctly at the level of your left knee there will be no jerks. Keep walking, keep pulling the belt when necessary, and keep repeating the order. Some trainers They use a roll of newspapers to tap the dog every time they give him the "Let's go" order, but personally I have never seen it necessary. However, patting the left leg can sometimes be a help. Remember to praise him every time he gets in the right position. Try doing these sessions of training for fifteen minutes twice a day. You will be surprised how quickly you learn.

The order "Shake hands"

The puppies they slap each other playing. your puppy It will slap you. Great. Take his paw and shake it. Is it the wrong leg? Yes, since most of the puppies They will extend the leg closest to your hand. With the puppy in a sitting position, push his right shoulder with your left hand. When you lift the front leg, take your "hand" in your right hand, tap it, and then reward it. Keep repeating the "Shake Your Hand" command every time you perform this action.

I repeat, do not expect to get good results immediately with your new puppy.

If you want to know in depth everything you need to train a puppy dog, we recommend the publication Your first dog of the Editorial Hispano Europea:

Latest Comments on this article (49)

By txemi on 05/15/2014 at 00: 37h

2nd training in positive, very fun and entertaining, the dog gets its reward, there are means to eliminate unwanted behaviors without punishment.
3rd mixed media, intermediate points between the two, (I don't know this system).

Within canine ethology the owner assumes his status as a leader, is based on the natural instinct of the dog, I do not know how it works, I do not understand for example how it will be done to obey who applies it if he does not give orders, I suppose they will be complementary techniques to training .
On the other hand, I understand that if the owner is the guide, he must be respected and obeyed, for me this is a form of leadership.

By txemi on 05/15/2014 at 00: 23h

I have found some information about Claudi joe and it seems novel and interesting I will buy the book, I think some things could be used in a complementary way to training, but I think at the risk of appearing daring you cannot completely supplant it, I already said that I have to read it and Then someone will have to practice it and measure its results.
Arrived here we already know that there are many training techniques, but all are based on 2 groups:

Learning theory, within this we find:
1st traditional training, based exclusively on negative reinforcement and punishment, the dog suffers a lot of pressure, was used with military dogs in the 2 world wars (I am against this practice.

By txemi on 05/14/2014 at 10:44 p.m.

You are absolutely right the staff> # 47 # 43 I disagree with any of the techniques explained, but in general, they are a reasonable principle, it is very important to respect the personality of the dog and especially, above all, the most important thing is that the Dog learn to learn.
I bought Claudia Fugazza's first book and her "do as I do", I have no words, look for information about it.

By joejlopez on 05/14/2014 at 10:28 p.m.

# 43 Sit (sitting) suppose we see the puppy sitting because he feels like it, we immediately give him the oeden and reward him, it will not take long to catch him and he will soon obey you waiting for his treat, this is called training by association, the dog associates the order with Sit and prize. The platz (lying down) is the same, here and we will say it with joy and enthusiasm with a reward to obey.
The fruit (no) and auss (loose) we will say severely and authority since it is a reproach.

The fuss (together) without pulling the belt is already more difficult, at first we will put the collar for a while at home to get used to it later with the strap and release it at home, when we take it out to the street we will give it soft pulls back every time you pull and we will tell you fuss (the words with a voice blow are more effective), if we do it well with 6 months it will do all this and the true discipline of the basic training starts with 8 months but we have all this In advance, it is perfected and we can teach you new things.
If you start it with 6 months you lose precious time.

By Parisian on 05/14/2014 at 9:51 p.m.

# 43 Sit (sitting) suppose we see the puppy sitting because he feels like it, we immediately give him the oeden and reward him, it will not take long to catch him and he will soon obey you waiting for his treat, this is called training by association, the dog associates the order with Sit and prize. The platz (lying down) is the same, here and we will say it with joy and enthusiasm with a reward to obey.
The fruit (no) and auss (loose) we will say severely and authority since it is a reproach.

The fuss (together) without pulling the belt is already more difficult, at first we will put the collar for a while at home to get used to it later with the strap and release it at home, when we take it out to the street we will give it soft pulls back every time you pull and we will tell you fuss (the words with a voice blow are more effective), if we do it well with 6 months it will do all this and the true discipline of the basic training starts with 8 months but we have all this In advance, it is perfected and we can teach you new things.
If you start it with 6 months you lose precious time.