Puppies… When to Start Training?

I was in the checkout line of the grocery store when the subject of puppies came up. Someone was talking about their brand new puppy they just got. So of course, my ears perked right up, just like my Sheltie Dani Joy, anticipating a “treat” of a discussion.
One person in line just got a chocolate lab puppy, the young man bagging my groceries was talking about new Boston Terrier pups and the checker was talking about a poodle/schnauzer mix puppy.
“I love puppies and I love training puppies.” I said enthusiastically.
The checker questioned, “I heard you had to wait until they were 6 months old before taking a class.”
I commented on how you can never start to early for puppy training and that in the right conditions and settings you can actually have puppies begin a puppy class as early as 3-4 months.
Puppies NEED training and socialization as early as possible. However puppies also need protection from sickness and diseases because they haven’t had all their vaccinations yet. So what is a new puppy owner to do?
I would recommend private lessons with a positive reinforcement dog trainer for the puppy who hasn’t had their first two series of vaccinations. There is much you can do to enrich your puppy’s life and build a solid foundation of training and socialization skills.
Then I would recommend a carefully sanitized environment for a puppy class that is just for puppies. In the classes I offer with Cari Bowe, we sterilize the class room as well as require all puppies to be vaccinated with the first two series of vaccinations. We carefully screen our puppies before letting them participate in our class.
Then the fun begins with training, fun, games, puppy playtime and more with the puppies and their proud puppy parents!
I am so looking forward to classes beginning this January 2012. These classes are also part of the AKC S.T.A.R. puppy program. If you are interested in puppy classes, drop me a note for registration forms and information. If your puppy is still too young, consider having a couple of private lessons. Don’t wait until they are 6 months old or even older.
Teach your puppy good manners and get in his socialization skills early. You won’t regret it! Your puppy will go more confidently into the world and love you more for it!
One last thing, whether your pup is 6 months old or 6 years old… they are never too old for training and learning new tricks. I also offer obedience classes for the older dogs which are also beginning this January 2012.