Puppy Training Basics

A puppy can be successfully trained with a combination of patience and persistence. You can start training as soon as the puppy can walk. During this time, the puppy will learn to get used to your presence and being handled. Generally, most people do not get a puppy until they are at least eight-weeks-old. This is the time when a puppy is the most impressionable and receptive to training.


When you pick a command word, make sure that everyone in the home is aware of it. Also, make sure that everyone knows the house rules for the puppy (whether he is allowed on beds or not, for example).

Time Frame

A puppy has a very short attention span. Training sessions can only be a few minutes long at a time and the puppy needs to be caught in the act of misbehaving in order to be corrected.

House Training

According to the Humane Society of the United States, a puppy can't hold his bladder more than a few hours. He needs to be taken out regularly and praised when he goes in the right spot. A puppy will walk in circles, sniffing, before he squats. That is the cue to take your puppy out.


Use positive reinforcement as training. This is when you give a reward (food, toy, affection or praise) for good behavior and ignore bad behavior. The advantage, says author and trainer Liz Palika, is that the dog will start looking at how to please you, because you are more fun to be around then.

Expert Insight

According to Sally Harper, DVM of Lancaster Pet Clinic, a puppy that is neutered is easier to train. The puppy will pay more attention to you and be less prone to fight or run off.

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