You can’t leave it up to the pup to know what to do and when to do it. A puppy only knows how to be a puppy and what it learned from its canine mom, littermates, possibly other household dogs and the breeder or pet parent it lived with prior to you bringing him or her home. Some of what your puppy has learned already may be of value and some may be habits that developed from lack of proper training, incorrect methods, or methods that are not going to work in your home.
So, when should training begin? I’m shocked when pet parents tell me that other dog trainers they spoke with, will not begin training until the puppy is six (6) months old. At that age, if your puppy is a large breed dog, it is quite big and strong and probably pulling on a leash or has no idea how to walk on a leash.
Your cute puppy now has numerous behavioral issues like jumping, nipping, biting, picking up items from inside the house and outside the home, chewing on furniture and walls, stealing food or items from counters, and that’s just to name a few. If you have a small breed puppy, problems seem to be peeing everywhere, barking uncontrollably, running out the door, pulling on the leash, nipping, and walking in a serpentine pattern, just to name a few.
Training should start immediately! That doesn’t mean strict obedience. Training is housetraining, obedience, behavior, and social skills. The first thing to address is always housetraining as well as teaching the puppy where its “accommodations” are. By that I mean, a confined area, a crate, the path to the outdoors, and where food and water are kept. If paper training is your plan, the puppy should learn “where” the paper is and what it is for.
Housetraining is taught in conjunction with puppy training. That means learning to handle your pup correctly and conditioning the puppy to allow touching of paw, ears, face, teeth, and tail. Puppy training also includes proper play activities, controlling nipping, excessive barking, and walking on a leash, just to name a few.
There is a small window of time starting from when your puppy comes home, that “puppy training/housetraining” will make a huge difference by putting the pup on the right track before unacceptable behaviors become the norm.
Having an adult dog that is well trained will also help to train the new puppy.