One of the questions I have heard a variety of answers to is, “What age should I begin training my pet?”
My answer is, “As soon as it arrives in your home.”
Now I have heard a variety of arguments on this topic–and the old school thought is that you should wait until the pet is between six months of age to over a year old.
Why would you want to wait so long?
In most cases, if you wait you also have to untrain bad behavior.
Now let me clarify…training young animals is vastly different from training older animals.
This is because young critters have very limited attention spans.
You also would not use any harsh types of training methods with them.
Everything shapes behavior so it is important to control the environment and teach animals the rules along with vocabulary from very early on.
Taking an animal into new environments, meeting new and different types of people, and exposing them to new experiences, and teaching them to think are all good efforts that benefit your pets.
Other important efforts beyond socializing your pet are to teach touch toleration and the acceptance of restraint.
In the past people waited to train because the popular belief was that the dog had to mature (usually six months) before they could focus for longer periods of time.
It was also thought that they would also be able to handle training that included tools such as choke chains.
Let me just say that harsh methods are a disservice at any age.
Another reason people delayed training was because they wanted pets to be fully immunized.
However, as I wrote about before, puppy socialization has been deemed as critical even if their inoculations are not yet completed since the benefits outweigh the risks.
At the very least you should get your pet into a puppy preschool or kitten kindergarten as soon as you can.
Now, training a young animal is vastly different from training an older one. I’ll get into this topic more indepth in the future…especially for those enrolled in the pet parenting school so make sure you don’t miss it.