Puppy Training Schedule – What to Focus on When
Puppyhood. One of the more difficult phases of growing up dog, and a great time to implement a puppy training schedule. Studies have shown that puppies trained earlier have less behavioral issues later in life and are much more prepared to tackle changes and challenges.
This is the best time to train, and is also the time when your puppy is learning the fastest! So you won’t want to miss out.
Weeks 8 & 9
Most puppies at this time are sleeping a lot (around 20 hours a day!) and this is the time when you want to be enforcing naps, using a crate or pen, and also teaching your pup that you will play with them with toys, and your body and clothing is not a toy. It’s also a great time in the puppy training schedule to encourage your puppy to chase you. All of these activities have the bonus effect of burning a ton of your puppy’s energy, which means peace for you!
This is a perfect time to work on impulse control as that’s a life skill we want our dog to be practicing at all times. House manners of course are something we want to focus on too, and this puppy schedule assumes you’ve got that under control. But if not, here’s some helpful tips!
Safe outings should also be on the radar. At least a handful of times a week (the more the better) you puppy should go on car rides out into the world. Then from the safety of the vehicle, you puppy is allowed to observe what is happening around them. Parks, busy parking lots, shopping centers, outdoor markets, etc, these are all the types of places we want our puppies to be exposed to gently and safely. Life like this isn’t going to happen in your living room!
During these weeks it is important to make sure your puppy is sleeping enough. A lot of development is going on during their resting periods and an overtired puppy can be a nightmare. At the same time, these weeks are the last weeks of peaceful puppy that you’ll be having before things really start to kick into gear energy wise.
This is when your puppy’s schedule starts to shift and when a lot of owners are knocked off balance, and realize they need help, or start drowning a little when it comes to living with their pup. Puppies are no longer sleeping as much, are faster, more agile, potentially more vocal, and if training hasn’t already begun, usually get up to trouble. We begin to see small conflicts pop up as the puppy begins to try things out and be more exploratory.
My heart goes out to the owners who didn’t have a good plan for their puppy already in place and going strong those first two weeks!
We want to make impulse control, appropriate play, crate or pen training, and safe world exposure our priorities. Potty training is still ongoing and you should be able to recognize your puppy’s signals and they should be able to signal you pretty consistently, although they will not be able to hold it for long periods yet.
Building that impulse control is important and consistency is key. I see so many owners neglect this or not understand how critical it really is, and end up with pups at 5-7 months who are little wrecking balls without the ability at all to show restraint. This affects ALL areas of training, from being able to relax fully, to having a good recall, to not being destructive at home.
Additionally a new skill you’ll want to be hitting hard is your puppy’s recall. There are a ton of common things that people do accidentally that prevent their dogs from coming reliably; don’t make these mistakes!
Your puppy training schedule should be pretty routine by now including regular outings into the world for exposure to life. Your pup should have seen a great deal of the things that you’re expecting them to be able to handle or experience regularly, plus things that they may not! These are your last weeks to take advantage of socializing your puppy like this before the socialization windows begin to close for good.
Not all places are created equal for socialization, so if you’re scrambling to get it together, here are places that are the best to hit!
At this time most puppies are still going to be a mix of clingy and exploratory, take advantage of this by continuing to work on your recalls and beginning to introduce the concept of being alone for longer periods of time. Being able to be alone is a valuable skill that will help prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety, and it is a fact of life that we can’t be there all the time for our dogs.
Puppy Training Schedule 17 Weeks and Beyond
At this point you should have a pretty good area of your puppy’s weak areas when it comes to training. Maybe they are distracted by leaves in the wind, birds, cats, people, other dogs, cars…..every puppy is different and their puppy training schedule will begin to change to support them and patch up these weak areas.
Just like we’d focus on improving a subject we’re not good at in school, we have to do the same for our pups. At the same time we have to know that we’re using a technique that will work, and is the best technique for our puppy. This is best found with the help of a trainer, and this is the easiest way to make sure you’re on track with all stages of your dog’s life.
Puppies are dogs on hard mode, and making sure you’re doing everything that needs to get done is very daunting for the average owner. Later doesn’t exist with puppies, not when you’re wanting to have the best life you can with them as well as avoid nasty behavior problems with them.