How Young is Too Young to Train a Puppy?

A Great Dane puppy not unlike my former dog Pam

I was a pre-veterinary freshman student at Kansas State Collage when my parents called me with the news.

“Lucky died in his sleep last night. He didn’t suffer, he just didn’t wake up.”

I was nineteen, and we had Lucky for seventeen years. He had always been a part of my life. I was devastated.

Three years before I had the unbelievable luck to land a part time job with a company called Animal Talent Scouts. They had a remarkable fawn Great Dane named Dickie, and I fell in love with him. So the next day I drove to Topeka, Kansas, and I bought a seven week old female Great Dane puppy. The next day I taught Pam, the new love of my life to walk on a leash. When she turned eight weeks, much against the established dog training standards, I started her formal training.

Teaching Pam was a delight. Once she accepted learning, she seemed to want to learn more. She hadn’t had time to develop negative habits, or the independence often showed by young adults. She only knew learn what I was teaching her, and do what she learned, and receive a reward for doing what she learned. And her reward was LOVE, not treats.

So, she learned to love my love, not treats.

I prefer starting when the puppy is eight-weeks old. Work with the young puppy three ten-minute periods per day. Sensitivity is the key to working with a young puppy. Stop training when you think he gets tired. Remember- learning can be very tiring.

Always be consistent, firm, and loving. I never give food to reward. Use love.

By the time Pam was four months she had already learned all the commands in our basic course and started on off leash work. She remained a perfect companion all her life.

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