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Training A Puppy: A Complete Guide

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

While training a puppy is exciting and rewarding, it can be challenging. If you've owned a young dog before, you know how much time and energy they require.

This is especially true when teaching them to be obedient and well-behaved!

In this blog, our puppy training experts at CanineJulz will discuss:

  • How to get started

  • What to know

  • Helpful tips and tricks

So your new pup can grow into a happy, healthy member of your family!

Table of Contents:

  1. What to Know Before Training A Puppy

  2. Understanding Puppy Growing Pains

  3. 3 Essential Elements of Puppy Training

  4. 1. Seek Positive-Reinforcement Training

  5. 2. Be Patient. Be Consistent!

  6. 3. Practice. Practice. Practice!

  7. The Puppy Training Timeline

  8. 8 to 10 Weeks Old: Setting Training Foundations

  9. 10 to 12 Weeks Old: Advancing Commands

  10. 4 to 6 Months of Age: Introducing Complex Training Routines

  11. 6 Months to 1-Year-Old: Mastering Skills

  12. Conclusion

People Also Ask:

How long does training a puppy take?

Potty training a puppy can vary.

Factors that determine housebreaking are:

  • Age

  • Learning history

  • Training methods and consistency

What is the first thing you should train your puppy?

Besides potty training, the first commands you should train your pup are to sit and stay.

We suggest standing in front of your puppy while holding some food or treats.

Once they sit, practice positive encouragements by saying "yes" and give your dog the treat.

What should you not do when training a puppy?

The 7 most common puppy training don'ts include:

  1. Taking your pup home too soon

  2. Not starting basic dog training ASAP

  3. Not crate training

  4. Too much independence too early

  5. Free feeding

  6. Pushing your puppy's face in a potty accident

  7. Scolding your pet after the fact

Image of four puppies waiting for a treat in trainers hands with hot pink background.
Training A Puppy

What to Know Before Training A Puppy

Before you begin any puppy training, focusing on their emotional health is essential. This means you need to make sure you create an environment where your pup feels safe around you.

You can help establish a healthy and happy environment for your puppy by:

  • Building a relationship

  • Giving them attention

  • Creating structure

Remember: Once that loving and trusting bond exists, teaching your pup basic commands and behaviors can be easier.

Understanding Puppy Growing Pains

It's also important to understand that it's normal for young dogs to come with some growing pains in the beginning.

These often include:

  • Nipping

  • Biting

  • Chewing

  • Potty accidents

  • Barking

And more.

While your puppy needs time to adjust to its new environment, he or she is also developing and growing quickly. Once they've been home for a few weeks, your pup should know basic commands like stay and sit while also undergoing potty training.

3 Essential Elements of Puppy Training

It's time to talk about training! Having a puppy training schedule that includes the following 3 elements can lead to a well-behaved dog and a loyal companion.

1. Seek Positive-Reinforcement Training

When looking to train your puppy, it's vital to find a trainer who has the right skill set and coaching methods. Our founder and professional dog trainer, Julie, uses positive reinforcement training.

This kind of training involves:

  • Patience

  • Understanding

  • Respectful communication

With pets and their owners to achieve successful results. We also use treats and positive verbal praises to encourage confidence and good behavior.

2. Be Patient. Be Consistent!

Training a puppy or puppies can be frustrating. Young dogs are just figuring things out and will make mistakes.

Try to remember that creating a well-behaved pup and establishing communication with them takes time! Maintaining a consistent home and training schedule can help get them on track faster.

We recommend creating a daily schedule that includes:

  • Play, feeding, and nap times

  • Potty breaks

  • Training classes

Your puppy will learn to understand their daily household routine. This will help them feel confident and secure with your family, and stay on a schedule that promotes good behavior.

3. Practice. Practice. Practice!

When it comes to training a puppy, practice does make perfect! As the owner, you can help accomplish this by having regular training sessions part of their schedule.

You can also conduct short training sessions at home.

At CanineJulz, we recommend holding sessions:

  • During mealtimes to learn to earn their breakfast, lunch, or dinner

  • Between 5 and 10 minutes for young puppies

  • 10 to15 minutes for older pups

Once they've received all their vaccinations, begin holding short training sessions in different locations. This helps them understand commands and behave correctly where ever you bring your pup!

The Puppy Training Timeline

Our CanineJulz team has outlined a basic timeline for training a puppy, starting at 8 weeks of age. It's important to remember that every young dog learns at his or her own pace.

Be sure to go at your puppy's speed. Don't rush them before they're ready!

8 to 10 Weeks Old: Setting Training Foundations

Most new dog owners bring home their puppy around 8 to 10 weeks of age. This is the stage in their life that they should learn the basics.

These include:

  • A daily schedule (feeding times, nap times, potty breaks, etc.)

  • Potty training (as soon as they get home!)

  • Crate training (while housebreaking)

  • Basic obedience commands (sit and stay)

  • Early socialization (with family and other pets first)

  • Name recognition

  • Chewing, nipping, and mouthing behaviors

10 to 12 Weeks Old: Advancing Commands

Around 10 to 12 weeks of age is when you can start teaching your puppy more advanced commands and how to handle social situations.

When your pup is around 3 months old, training should include:

  • Introducing commands like stay, down, and heel

  • Introducing a harness or leash

  • Continuing socialization with new people and other dogs

  • Practicing impulse control

  • Beginning threshold training (sitting and staying at doors, crosswalks, etc.)

4 to 6 Months of Age: Introducing Complex Training Routines

Your pup is growing quickly, both physically and mentally. By 4 to 6 months of age, you can start introducing more complex training routines.

Your pup should also be ready for public spaces, too!

Helpful tips for training a puppy at this age include:

  • Advancing commands by practicing them outside

  • Extending your puppy's walks

  • Weaning them off of food rewards

6 Months to 1-Year-Old: Mastering Skills

Between 6 months to 1-year-old, training your young dog should include them being fully housebroken. This means that they should understand basic potty training and crate training.

From here on out, continue working with your pet to reinforce what they've already learned!

Our dog training experts recommend:

  • Continuing to reinforce all commands. Put more distance between you and your dog while practicing commands. Be sure to have them hold each command for longer durations and come to you on command from longer distances.

  • Maintaining structure at home. Your puppy can be a handful during their adolescence, so you’ll want to stay on top of them. They might start chewing or nipping if they're left alone for too long and are without any rules when it comes to potty time!


Training a puppy can be an overwhelming task, but it doesn't have to be! As long as you set clear expectations, the process can go a lot smoother than you'd think.

Would you rather enroll your pal in professional puppy training?

The CanineJulz team has you covered!

Julie offers several types of dog training classes fully customized to the needs and overall well-being of every dog and puppy. You can learn about our dog training philosophy here!

Contact us to get started today!

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