“I’m a very eager, motivated and playful pup who loves to train and live life to the fullest.”
All dogs are special, but some truly stand out. When you meet Decco for the first time, you’re immediately drawn to his intelligence and handsomeness. This 1-year-old American Bulldog male is high energy, loves to play with other dogs and will do best with an active owner who enjoys running, biking and going to the dog park daily; MagicCityK9.org.
Q: At what age should I start training my new puppy?
A: From the time you bring your new puppy home at 8-10 weeks of age, the clock is already ticking when it comes to training and what is referred to as the critical socialization period. There’s also still a huge misconception that you have to wait until a dog is fully vaccinated in order to start training. That would be like saying to keep your human child home until they’re 7+ years of age, in which case they would never properly learn how to interact with other children or the world around them! Keeping a puppy strictly at home during their critical period is not only detrimental to the behavioral well-being of the dog, but misses the opportunity for you to take advantage of how smart young puppies truly are! One of the best ways to start a puppy in training is to make mealtime training time. By utilizing this method, you’re creating a dog that enjoys learning in order to earn their food through offering desirable behaviors that you teach them to follow. Don’t worry, your puppy won’t go hungry, you’re just breaking up its meals into structured hand-fed training sessions instead of feeding them from a bowl. Additionally, you should find a puppy class in your area that offers off-leash socialization and handling that is specifically designed for puppies in their critical learning period. If your vet recommended you keep your puppy home, please refer them to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s website where they can read what their colleagues have to say about early socialization in puppies; AVSAB.org.
› Dee Hoult is the owner of Applause Your Paws, South Florida’s largest privately owned pet dog training company. Want to ask Dee a question about your dog? Email Dee@ApplauseYourPaws.com or send a DM on Instagram @ApplauseYourPaws.