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What age can I start training my puppy?

Updated: Apr 6

You have a new puppy or are about to get one and you would like to get the best start....but when is the best time to make a start with their puppy training?

And perhaps more importantly, how do you do it?

What age does a puppy start learning?

Your puppy will have started a key learning and socialisation phase whilst with their breeder and this continues into their early weeks with you. A key learning phase means that their brains are like sponges and they learn fast! This will be when your puppy has their first experiences, so it is a great chance to get those right.

There is lots you can do from the day your puppy arrives home.


Socialisation is much more than meeting lots of people and dogs, which can only properly happen after their last vaccinations.

The aim of good socialisation is to introduce your puppy to as much of the world as possible ensuring that they have positive experiences. At this age, we want to build confidence and calmness in different situations.

It is important to keep your puppy safe, so you can start their socialisation by:

  • keeping them on your lap.

  • carrying them in a sling or basket.

  • sitting with them in the car.

  • exposing them to different experiences when in the house or garden.

Bond Building

Dogs are social animals and they build bonds easily. They will have just left their litter mates and mother, so now is a great time to build their bond with you.

There are lots of ways that you can do this:

  • Play appropriate games that build trust and fun.

  • Be a safe place for your puppy by offering positive support and guidance.

  • Offer predictability by keeping things consistent.

  • Learning about your puppy's body language to find out what they need.

Rules In The House

From the day your puppy arrives, you can start to help them understand how they fit in with your family at home. Help them to understand where they sleep and what is appropriate to chew on. Let them know where to toilet and whether or not jumping up is encouraged.

It is at this point you can start to introduce your puppy to any other pets in the house.

Top Tip! Think about what you would like your puppy to dog when it is fully grown and start to teach that now.

Life Skills

To raise your puppy to be well-mannered, happy and easy to look after, they need some key life skills. Between 8-12 weeks is such a good time to start teaching them.

Patience, the ability to focus around distractions, settling and problem solving are all key skills that can be taught through training.

Your puppy may not be able to go to training classes yet but finding a positive reward based trainer that offers online or 1-2-1 training means that you can get start right away.


So there is lots to be done the day your puppy arrives home and so much of it can be done right with the help of a trainer.

If you would like to know more about my puppy classes and how you can start before your puppy's vaccinations, check out my website here.

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