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Is It Ever Too Late to Start Training a Dog?

Tips for improving your dog’s obedience at any age.

walking a dog in a grassy field

By Kelley O'Toole
October 15, 2019

Whether you’re new to dog ownership or not, you may be wondering what age is appropriate to begin dog training. Is there a secret to mastering topics like obedience or potty training? Dog training a puppy will certainly make things easier, but you can train a dog at pretty much any age. Follow these five tips to help make dog obedience training as easy as possible.

  1. Be consistent with training. Whether you’re working on obedience, agility or potty training, spend about three minutes every day working on that behavior with your dog or puppy. And use the same approach every single time. These focused efforts two or three times a day is plenty, especially for puppies who have short attention spans and may tire quickly. Not to mention the fun you’ll have playing with your dog throughout the day!
  2. Identify command words. Don’t confuse your dog – or yourself! – by using the same word for multiple commands. Pick one word for each behavior and stick to it. For example, avoid saying “down” when you want your puppy to lay down and then say “down” when you want him or her off the couch. Keep it simple: one behavior – one command word.
  3. Avoid punishing your puppy. If your dog doesn’t obey a command simply say “wrong,” or “bad dog” in a firm but non-emotional tone of voice. Hitting, yelling or striking your puppy is cruel and lays the groundwork for a confrontational relationship with him or her. Keep in mind, aggression begets aggression – simply avoid it.
  4. Keep training age appropriate. Don’t expect young puppies, say 8-12 weeks old, to be able to hold a sit or a down for more than a few seconds. If your expectations exceed your dog’s capability, you’re setting you both up for failure and frustration.
  5. Always praise good behavior. Encourage your dog with praise when he or she performs a behavior properly. While you may want to give a food treat periodically as a reward, you don’t want to give food as a reward every time. Remember, regardless of your dog’s age, they’ll respond best to your positive feedback – a simple “good puppy!” said in a happy, high-pitched tone or a playful belly rub are the perfect rewards.

More Dog Training Resources

These are just some of the basics that will help you get started on the right foot with your dog. Dogs are very smart and learn quickly, especially when taught from an early age.

You might consider partnering with a local kennel or obedience school to help move your dog training efforts along. Just remember, you’ll want to select a trainer that values your puppy’s health and happiness as much as you.

About Us

Aldens Kennels is located in McHenry County. We offer a variety of dog training classes on topics ranging from obedience to agility and training for therapy dogs. Visit https://www.aldenskennels.com to learn more.