Home » Dog Training » The Psychology and Impact of Early Training on a Puppy

You might not realize it, but your puppy has many crucial periods during its life. What is considered ‘crucial’ is when the puppy can develop either one way or another way- meaning positive or negative behavior. All of the development, training and nurturing given to your puppy as its owner or breeder are essential to giving it the kind of life you want him or her to have.

The puppy’s mother is the sole caregiver of a puppy until he or she is about three weeks old. The puppy receives ample care, warmth and food and these are his or her only basic needs. Once the puppy has reached about three weeks, he or she begins to exert their independence. The puppy begins to walk, explore, play and even wag its tail. The puppy still relies on its mother during this period and should not be around anything that might be emotionally upsetting like loud noises or being left alone.

When the puppy is between four and seven months, it will want to wander even farther away from his or her mother to investigate its environment. Toys can be introduced at this stage, it will recognize members of its family and respond to voices. It is also a good time to introduce the puppy to other animals. This time is usually when most puppies are ready for weaning and can be introduced to their new families if applicable.

Four to seven months is also an excellent time to introduce a puppy to basic commands like “sit”, “heel” and “come.” It is best to try to train a puppy while incorporating the commands into a fun activity rather than to scold or force it to do them. When the puppy reaches twelve months, more intense and serious training can begin. Most puppies will waver in behavior like temperament, working performance and training ability as they enter adulthood, as it is a transitional period for dogs.

When training any dog, it is important to make an effort to understand how a dog’s mind works. Take the time to learn about your puppy’s breed, their characteristics, typical reactions and other details. While dogs are domesticated, they have kept a great deal of their ‘pack’ mindset and will see his or her family as a part of their pack. Every dog is born with exceptional instincts and senses, which he or she will use in understanding everything he or she can about their ‘pack’ or family.

Understand your puppy’s mental capacity and train according to his or her pace. If pushing a puppy beyond what he or she is ready for, an owner is only making training a long, drawn out and unsuccessful process. While it is important that every pet owner remains the ‘alpha’ or ‘pack leader’, all puppies respond best to patience and single word commands instead of shouting or spanking. With this type of understanding and training, every puppy and its master should be able to form a close bond of companionship that will only grow over the years.

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