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Tuesday Training Byte: How young is too young to train a puppy?

Some breeders, especially those who are raising service dog puppies (see youtube on Puppy Prodigies), start about the time a pups eyes open at two weeks of age. At this stage a puppy can follow a food lure a short distance. At four weeks of age, the puppy can be taught to touch something, sit, and tug, etc. Of course the pup will spend most of its time with mom and litter mates until at least eight weeks of age and possibly longer. So by the time you adopt your pup around 10 weeks, it can already learn to retrieve and learn basic commands. The answer to the question is that it is never too early to begin training. For a young puppy, keep training session very short and fun while using positive reinforcement. Some people will train their pup to ring a bell by the back door when they need to go outside. This can be started as soon as you bring puppy home. If you acquire an adult dog that has not been trained, it can still learn new things throughout its life. If your dog came from a shelter, it can take awhile for your dog to settle in and feel safe. But, I would recommend adding in simple tasks each week in short sessions. Starting with a food lure to get your pup or dog into a certain position works wonders. Happy training!

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