By Caroline Golon

Training is a critical part of your puppy’s growth and development. But when is the right time to start training? The short answer: It depends on the skill. Read on to get a better handle on timing training for your new pup.

Basic Commands

The first phase of training involves basic commands, because it is a foundation for every other type of training. Simple commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “lay down,” and “leave it” are important ways to keep your puppy safe and happy as they explore the world.

Training your pup simple obedience commands can begin as soon as they come home with you, typically around 7 to 8 weeks.

Try to choose an area of your house with as few distractions as possible and keep training sessions to around 5 to 10 minutes, spread throughout the day. Puppies are notorious for short attention spans. Plus, they tire out quickly!

The key to successful puppy training is to make it a positive, fun activity. Do everything you can to maintain a happy, positive energy during each training session. (Though how can you not with a cute puppy bounding around the room?)

While there is no specific order in which to train basic commands, one of the best skills to teach first is “come” because it is a lifelong skill your puppy needs for obedience and safety.

“Sit” is another relatively easy command to teach your puppy, especially if you use rewards and lots of praise. “Lay down” is slightly more difficult to teach simply because puppies are full of energy! Similarly, “stay” can be a bit trickier with an energetic pup, but is another key element of your puppy’s basic training.

Potty Training

Potty training should begin as soon as you bring your new puppy home as well.

But remember, potty training your puppy requires time and patience.

It also requires a schedule. Take your pup out every two hours to start, increasing time as he or she gets older. You can even set a timer to keep everyone on track.
Most puppies get the concept of going outside within a few weeks but it’s important to remember that puppies have small bladders. They may not be able to hold it for very long. Puppies can be expected to hold their bladders for the number of hours that corresponds with their age in months. In other words, a five-month-old puppy should be able to hold it for around 5 hours. This is true up until about 9 months when any dog may have trouble holding for longer than 9 hours.

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Crate Training

Crate training a puppy is an activity that helps with other aspects of your dog’s training and protects him or her (and your sofas and rugs!) when you aren’t around to supervise. Many dogs grow to love their crates as it represents a safe spot t