Week by week puppy training guide
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Week by week puppy training guide

    I've never raised a puppy, but I hope to someday in the future. In order to prepare myself for raising a puppy, I've decided to write out a week by week training plan to help keep my thoughts organized. I also have friends and family that have a puppy or would like to get a puppy, and are asking for my advice, so I thought I would make the guide a little more general so that I could send it to them and help them out, too.

    Would anybody like to critique my guide so I can fix any mistakes I've made?
    Training Rules/Guidelines:
    1, Never punish a puppy. Punishment can traumatize a puppy and cause future behavioral problems such as fear or aggression. It is okay to interrupt a behavior (such as clapping your hands when the puppy is stealing food from the table) but this is only to distract the puppy so that you can redirect the puppy to a more appropriate behavior, such as chewing on a toy.
    2, Always end on a high note. Follow negative experiences with positive ones. If the puppy is startled or upset, distract the puppy with something they enjoy (such as a treat or a game).
    3, Never try to completely eliminate a behavior, always replace the bad behavior with a more appropriate one. Puppies can’t just sit around and do nothing, so training an alternate behavior will keep everyone happy. Whenever your puppy is behaving well, reward generously. Avoid ignoring good behavior and only giving your puppy attention when he’s misbehaving.
    4, Your puppy needs to be exposed to as many different things as you can think of before he’s an adult. Keep experiences positive.
    5, Set rules and be consistent in enforcing them. Do not let your puppy get away with breaking the rules, or it will become habit.
    6, A strong bond is the most important factor in creating an obedient puppy. The more time you dedicate exclusively to your puppy (with no other distractions), the better.
    7, Puppies are full of energy, and need to play and be active in order to be calm. But mental stimulation is just as important as exercise, and can be just as effective for calming them down. Play, games, trick training, interactive/treat dispensing toys, puzzles, and hiding treats for the puppy to sniff out are excellent ways to exercise your puppy’s brain. It is important to provide your puppy with mental stimulation, especially since it is dangerous for young puppies to partake in vigorous exercise, as their bones and joints are not finished growing and can become injured easily from overexertion.
    8, If your puppy is disobeying you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being spiteful. There are a number of factors that can cause a puppy to ignore commands. The puppy could be stressed or uncomfortable, but it could also be as simple as the puppy not understanding what is being asked of it. If your puppy is disobeying you, step back and look at the whole picture, and figure out if there might be a way to make it easier for your puppy to comply.




    Training:

    -Week 8: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Short periods of alone time. Introduce to the crate, keeping the crate a positive, enjoyable place to be by providing treats and games while inside of the crate.
    Focus: Bonding, Handling.
    FIRST FEAR PERIOD BEGINS

    -Week 9: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone time, Socialization with People.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization with People.

    -Week 10: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Increased alone time, Socialization with increased number of situations, places and people.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization.

    -Week 11: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization.

    -Week 12: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization, Begin socialization with other dogs, Start Puppy classes, 1st trip to the dog park.
    Focus: Manners, Socialization, Start Recall Training, Puppy Classes and trips to doggy places.
    FIRST FEAR PERIOD ENDS

    -Week 13: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization, Puppy classes, Dog park/pet store/dog places, begin more serious training. Be sure to provide an abundance of safe chew toys to prevent inappropriate chewing.
    Focus: Manners, Socialization, Training essentials.
    TEETHING BEGINS

    -Week 14: Continue training the basics, with added emphasis on socialization around other dogs. Continue socialization with people and places.
    Focus: Consistency and socialization.

    -Month 4: Puppy may begin testing boundaries, keep training consistent. Continue with socialization. Slowly begin to exercise.
    Focus: Socialization, dutiful consistency in training and setting boundaries.
    INDEPENDENCE BEGINS

    -Month 5: Puppy will become more energetic, slowly increase exercise without overdoing it. Increase mental stimulation to adapt to rising energy levels. Continue with consistency in training and socialization.
    Focus: Exercise and stimulation, consistency, socialization.

    -Month 6 – Year 1: Take care to keep experiences positive and stress-free to avoid traumatizing the puppy, especially during fear periods. It’s essential to keep socialization sessions around other dogs and people stress-free. Puppy may develop new, sudden phobias, overcome them slowly and in a positive, rewarding way. Energy levels will continue to increase, adapt exercise and mental stimulation accordingly.
    Focus: Positive, stress-free socialization experiences.
    SECOND FEAR PERIOD BEGINS

    -Year 1 – Adulthood: Puppy may go through periods of rebelliousness. Keep consistent with training. Continue exposing your puppy to new situations as often as possible.



    Goals:
    Reliably Potty Trained
    Spend time alone at home relaxed
    Crate trained
    Enjoys bathing and swimming
    Interested in toys
    Have positive experiences around dogs and people
    No reactivity around other dogs
    No fear or shyness in public
    Reliable Recall
    Loose leash walking on collar
    Good eye contact/”Watch Me” command
    Settle down inside
    Learn basic commands


    Skittles--Basil--Poisson--Butternut Squash

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: Week by week puppy training guide

    Sounds a lot like Ian Dunbar's Training Textbook (table of contents over on the left), which is also broken up by life stages. Maybe check that out for ideas?

    Crystal the Papillon and Casper the Alaskan Klee Kai

  4. #3
    Senior Member sassafras's Avatar
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    Re: Week by week puppy training guide

    The Puppy Primer is also organized along these lines... each chapter is sort of a "here's what to work on this week" guide.

  5. #4
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Week by week puppy training guide

    I agree - download the free info from Dunbar (www.dopgstardaily.com), Looks like a good list:

    Suggestions:
    Week 8: Add Bite Inhibition (first teething starts around Week 6), I thought the Fear Period started at Week 12 ?
    Start Brushing teeth as training, and nipping the tips of claws with a finger nail clipper.

    Item #6: I agree with the bond, but a good bond doesn't require lots of time. Trust and Independence are big components of building the bond.
    I believe this can be achieved with a good walk and with 10 min. training sessions every single day.
    I also believe that some people can spend too much time with their children in fur coats, minimizing independent development.

    It is important to avoid feeding the puppy from the table or giving the puppy any people food (wait until he is older... if necessary.)

    A puppy can start rebelliousness at week 12 ....

    I think that one hour of rough and tumble play per week, when a little older depending on the dog, helps to make a gentler and more social dog.

    I think adult teeth start coming in around month 4, and the pup is around half of full adult weight at month 5.

    Consider getting the dog fixed at 6 mos.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Nargle's Avatar
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    Re: Week by week puppy training guide

    Thanks for the info and recommendations. I've been doing research and all of my sources suggest different things, lol! But I'll adjust it to make it as accurate as possible. Thanks for the link to dogstartdaily, too, it seems to be a very helpful resource!

    Here's a few updates I made to the guide. I havent yet fear periods/independence periods, etc. because I still need to go back and research it a little bit, most of the sources I found all said something different.
    Changes are in bold.
    Training Rules/Guidelines:
    1, Never punish a puppy. Punishment can traumatize a puppy and cause future behavioral problems such as fear or aggression. It is okay to interrupt a behavior (such as clapping your hands when the puppy is stealing food from the table) but this is only to distract the puppy so that you can redirect the puppy to a more appropriate behavior, such as chewing on a toy.
    2, Always end on a high note. Follow negative experiences with positive ones. If the puppy is startled or upset, distract the puppy with something they enjoy (such as a treat or a game).
    3, Never try to completely eliminate a behavior, always replace the bad behavior with a more appropriate one. Puppies can’t just sit around and do nothing, so training an alternate behavior will keep everyone happy. Whenever your puppy is behaving well, reward generously. Avoid ignoring good behavior and only giving your puppy attention when he’s misbehaving.
    4, Your puppy needs to be exposed to as many different things as you can think of before he’s an adult. Keep experiences positive.
    5, Set rules and be consistent in enforcing them. Do not let your puppy get away with breaking the rules, or it will become habit.
    6, A strong bond is the most important factor in creating an obedient puppy. Spend quality, one-on-one time with your puppy to strengthen the bond, but don't forget to teach your puppy independence as well.
    7, Puppies are full of energy, and need to play and be active in order to be calm. But mental stimulation is just as important as exercise, and can be just as effective for calming them down. Play, games, trick training, interactive/treat dispensing toys, puzzles, and hiding treats for the puppy to sniff out are excellent ways to exercise your puppy’s brain. It is important to provide your puppy with mental stimulation, especially since it is dangerous for young puppies to partake in vigorous exercise, as their bones and joints are not finished growing and can become injured easily from overexertion.
    8, If your puppy is disobeying you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being spiteful. There are a number of factors that can cause a puppy to ignore commands. The puppy could be stressed or uncomfortable, but it could also be as simple as the puppy not understanding what is being asked of it. If your puppy is disobeying you, step back and look at the whole picture, and figure out if there might be a way to make it easier for your puppy to comply.




    Training:

    -Week 8: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Short periods of alone time. Introduce to the crate, keeping the crate a positive, enjoyable place to be by providing treats and games while inside of the crate. Train bite inhibition to prevent innappropriate mouthing.
    Focus: Bonding, Handling.
    FIRST FEAR PERIOD BEGINS

    -Week 9: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone time, Socialization with People.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization with People.

    -Week 10: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Increased alone time, Socialization with increased number of situations, places and people.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization.

    -Week 11: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization.
    Focus: Bonding, Household Manners, Handling, Socialization.

    -Week 12: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization, Begin socialization with other dogs, Start Puppy classes, 1st trip to the dog park.
    Focus: Manners, Socialization, Start Recall Training, Puppy Classes and trips to doggy places.
    FIRST FEAR PERIOD ENDS

    -Week 13: Potty Training, Household Manners, Basic Training, Alone Time, Socialization, Puppy classes, Dog park/pet store/dog places, begin more serious training. Be sure to provide an abundance of safe chew toys to prevent inappropriate chewing.
    Focus: Manners, Socialization, Training essentials.
    TEETHING BEGINS

    -Week 14: Continue training the basics, with added emphasis on socialization around other dogs. Continue socialization with people and places.
    Focus: Consistency and socialization.

    -Month 4: Puppy may begin testing boundaries, keep training consistent. Continue with socialization. Slowly begin to exercise.
    Focus: Socialization, dutiful consistency in training and setting boundaries.
    INDEPENDENCE BEGINS

    -Month 5: Puppy will become more energetic, slowly increase exercise without overdoing it. Increase mental stimulation to adapt to rising energy levels. Continue with consistency in training and socialization.
    Focus: Exercise and stimulation, consistency, socialization.

    -Month 6 – Year 1: Take care to keep experiences positive and stress-free to avoid traumatizing the puppy, especially during fear periods. It’s essential to keep socialization sessions around other dogs and people stress-free. Puppy may develop new, sudden phobias, overcome them slowly and in a positive, rewarding way. Energy levels will continue to increase, adapt exercise and mental stimulation accordingly.
    Focus: Positive, stress-free socialization experiences.
    SECOND FEAR PERIOD BEGINS

    -Year 1 – Adulthood: Puppy may go through periods of rebelliousness. Keep consistent with training. Continue exposing your puppy to new situations as often as possible.



    Goals:
    Reliably Potty Trained
    Spend time alone at home relaxed
    Crate trained
    Enjoys bathing and swimming
    Tolerates brushing teeth and nail trimming
    Interested in toys
    Have positive experiences around dogs and people
    No reactivity around other dogs
    No fear or shyness in public
    Reliable Recall
    Loose leash walking on collar
    Good eye contact/”Watch Me” command
    Settle down inside
    Learn basic commands
    Last edited by Nargle; 03-14-2011 at 12:31 PM.


    Skittles--Basil--Poisson--Butternut Squash

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