Training your puppy and creating a puppy training schedule can be difficult without guidance, but it isn’t just how to train your puppy that you have to consider. When your puppy is ready to learn certain cues and abilities is also one of the most important things to consider!
For everyone who needs a good solid timeline to follow, there’s an easy way to know what stage your puppy is at. These two schedules will give you a great plan going forward to get your puppy off on the right track.
Getting Started On A Schedule
At eight weeks your puppy is still young, and ready to start learning the very basics. At this age, there are a few things to focus on, and you don’t want to overdo it at this young age, even if your puppy seems to be learning quickly. Your dog’s ability to learn begins now, to get started on the right foot with these behaviors.
- Potty Training
- Bite Inhibition
- Crate Training
Potty training is the first and foremost thing most new puppy owners will be focused on, and with good reason! There’s no reason to wait in showing your dog to go to the bathroom outside, and getting started is fairly easy. These steps will guide you to having a puppy that not only wants to go to the bathroom outside, but will even tell you when they need to!
The first step is to designate a potty area for your puppy outside. It should be a secluded and quiet area away from anything loud or busy. Once you’ve done that, get a mat, folded towel, or even a little pillow to put next to the door that you’re going to use to take the puppy outside through.
Every time your puppy is going out to use the bathroom, have them walk onto that landing pad you’ve made while you put on their harness, collar, leash, or whatever walking tools you use. This will get them in the habit of walking to that spot every time they need to go to the bathroom – telling you when they’re ready to go out.
Bite inhibition is exactly what it sounds like – teaching your puppy to inhibit the things they bite onto. This is a large part of puppy training, as your puppy’s teething is going to start very quickly.
We have some great lessons on the subject in our program, but a good start is to replace what your puppy is biting now with what you want them to bite onto. Replace your fingers and pants with durable, safe teething toys, then reinforce that by praising your puppy when they bite onto the right object.
Crate Training is a standard of puppy training, and having a place that your puppy considers a safe, calm place to retreat to and sleep will lead to a happier, more well-mannered puppy. Don’t use the crate as punishment, and make sure it’s a place your puppy enjoys going into.
Tossing a treat in there from time to time, and leaving the crate open when your puppy isn’t being crated allows it to be a more comfortable place. Many puppies also like having it be covered, to make it feel more like a den. Check out our lessons for more info, too!
What Cues to Teach?
At this age, your puppy is ready to start learning these cues that are fully covered in the program, and there are a few tips to get you started on it, too. Always keep in mind, no matter the cue, you want to be using positive reinforcement with your puppy, and never reprimand or get upset with them.
Make sure to be using high-value treats, and rotating the treats and flavors that your dog gets during the training. Some puppies may want different types of reinforcement, so try petting, praising, treats, or whatever your dog enjoys the most.
Your goal here is 80%. You want your puppy to perform a cue the first time, 80% of the time – that’s when you know they understand the cue and it isn’t a fluke. Once you’ve got that level of cue consistency, then you can start to make the cue tougher, or use the cue in more distracting places for practice.
Puppy Training Schedule
Consider using this schedule to keep track of some of your puppy’s training!
- Sunday: Work on your potty training, and set goals for the week
- Monday: Work a bit with the crate training, and a little on your bite inhibition. Use your cues during the playtime.
- Tuesday: Work on your positive, safe playtime, teaching the puppy to not nip
- Wednesday: Work on crate training, practicing leaving the puppy in the crate
- Thursday: Practice some extra cues! Touch and Watch are great choices.
- Friday: Work on playtime. Friday is a great day to set up a playtime with other puppies!
- Saturday: Take some time to look back on your puppy’s week, see what they’ve succeeded at, and what they need to keep working on.
We’ve also got an example of what your puppy’s day should look like. You may need to adjust it, but this is a good example of a puppy’s day.
7am – This is when your puppy is going to wake up. They can’t sleep through the night just yet, so they’ll be waking up early to go potty. Get them outside quickly, so you can avoid accidents.
7:30am – Your puppy is ready for breakfast! Puppies should have three meals a day, to keep their energy up during the day, and ease their digestion.
8am – Once your puppy has eaten, it’s a good idea to take them outside just in case. With puppies, it’s usually one in and one out.
8:30am – This is a good time for your puppy to play, get used to their crate, or simply get to sniff and explore while supervised.
10am – It’s naptime for your puppy. Puppies will sleep upwards of 16-18 hours a day, and they need their rest. Take a potty break before naptime.
12pm – At noon, it’s lunchtime for your puppy. Like always, take them outside right afterward, so you prevent accidents. Great time to work on that potty training!
12:30pm – Time for training! Work on the cues or actions you’ve planned for the day.
1pm – Half an hour is plenty for training, so it’s time to play with your puppy for a while. Get that energy out, and work on bite inhibition while you’re at it.
2pm – Give your puppy a break. Naptime, or a durable chew toy both work. Take a potty break, too.
3pm – Time for a little extra training! Touch, Sit, Watch, whatever your goal is for the week, that’s what it’s time to focus on.
3:30pm – Naptime again. Puppies need a lot of sleep to grow up healthy, so let them sleep in their crate, and get a potty break beforehand.
5pm – This is a good time for dinner for your puppy. Make sure, like always, that they get to go outside, and potty right afterward.
5:30pm – Give your puppy some more supervised free time. If you’ve got a playpen, this is the time to let them take it easy in there, too. Feel free to get involved in the play, as well.
6:30pm – Finish up your puppy’s active day with a little more training. Three times a day, for half an hour at a time is a great way to keep them interested, but not overwhelmed.
7pm – It’s time for your puppy to start winding down for the night. At this time, you want to start getting them into their crate or sleeping area. Remember, the crate should be away from foot traffic, so your puppy can sleep quietly.
8pm – At this point, your puppy should be just about ready to get some sleep. In the crate, you can give your puppy a durable chew bone or stick that isn’t a choking hazard. A Kong makes a great crate buddy for your dog.
Keep in mind, you’ll likely need to wake up at least once in the middle of the night early on, in order to keep your puppy from having an accident in the crate. Typically, this will last until about 4 months, when your puppy can hold it through the night more easily.
Hopefully, this will give you a great start, but check out our lessons if you need extra support! Puppies are tricky, and there’s no reason to not be ready for any unexpected tricks your puppy might come up with.