When should you start training your puppy?

Puppies learn surprisingly fast. If you want your furry friend to learn the best way to behave, then you should start training as soon as possible. Find out what to train and when in this article.

Meet Spirit – the youngest member of the CK9 dog training team

Let me introduce you to Spirit. He has recently joined my merry band of canine companions and as well as being a friend, I’m hoping that he will learn to love agility training as much as I do.

I’m looking forward to sharing Spirit’s journey with you. From puppyhood, through adolescence and into adulthood.  We can follow each stage of his development and look at training and socialising milestones along the way.

So let’s start by answering one of the questions I’m most often asked

What age does a puppy start learning?

Puppies start learning from a very young age. As soon as they have their eyes open and can wobble around on their legs, they start to learn about the world around them.

The things pups learn at this stage can affect their whole development and their character. If they learn that Mum is happy, humans are kind and there are some interesting things to investigate outside of the nest, they’ll be off to a great start. Pups who learn that mum is afraid of the nasty humans and there is no world outside of their stinky pen are more likely to be fearful and anxious. Which is why you should never buy from a puppy farm. That’s a whole other article but please, if you are buying a puppy, check its background very carefully indeed or you could buy yourself a bundle of trouble.

Rant over.

At CK9 our style of dog training is about teaching a dog to make associations between things, places or sounds and good things happening. For example, the shiny new bowl is associated with food. The bed is associated with peace and quiet, the word “sit” means if you put bum down you’ll get a tasty treat.

So after a lot of research into getting a new puppy, I have chosen this little boy to join our little pack in a couple of weeks 🥰🥰 Just love his attitude and confidence already at this young age, plus he is also very sweet and loving… his parents are both healthy, have amazing temperaments and a very good work ethic…everything I am looking for in a dog. The breeder is doing an amazing job bringing them up and is already getting them to different sights, sounds and textures as well as introducing them to lots of different people….all so important to have a well-rounded confident dog! We will have a blog coming up soon on how to best choose the right puppy for you and what to look for 🐾

Posted by CK9 Training on Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Video: Spirit at 5 weeks. Too young to leave his family just yet but very happy to spend quality time with me and very quick to make associations with the clicker and with food.

A puppy in the nest can make associations from as young as 3 weeks old so that’s when training should begin.  A good breeder will make sure that puppies make positive associations with things like – different flooring, new smells and textures, being outdoors, domestic appliances and/or meeting new people (of all ages and energy levels).

Your job as an owner is to build on that training when puppy leaves his family to join yours.

So the answer to the question “what age should you start training your puppy?” Is as soon as you carry him or her away from the breeder.

What can I teach my 8 week old puppy?

  • Toilet training should start from day one.  Take pup outside every hour or so and reward pees and poos with lots of treats and fuss. It will take a while for them to learn how to control their functions but it’s important that they make the association between toileting outdoors and good things happening.
  • Help your pup to learn his or her name
  • Settling in a crate or bed
  • Nipping at hands and feet is not an appropriate way to play with people
  • Short car rides are good fun
  • It’s good to explore new places (At 8 weeks, your puppy won’t be fully vaccinated so you need to be careful about walkies. However, there’s no reason why puppy can’t be carried to different places. He or she can drink in the scents and enjoy the attention. Be wary of overwhelming a sensitive pup though. Take things slowly and stop at the first sign of anxiety.

Help with puppy training

If you want your puppy to grow into a well-mannered, happy and confident dog, start training and socialisation as soon as you can.  If you’re not sure how to start or what techniques will work best for you and your pup, it’s well worth investing in a session with a qualified dog trainer.

CK9 dog training offer home visits so that we can start helping you before your pup is fully vaccinated. Book a pre-vaccination puppy visit

Once those vaccinations are up to date, then we’d love to see you and your pup at one of our group training classes.  Find out more here

Other useful articles

What does dog and puppy training cost?

Children and dogs – will they get on well together?

Dog and puppy training tips