Puppy Training Milestones
Puppy Training Milestones
Jul 06, 2024 - Antelopepets

Inviting a new pup into your home is an exciting time filled with lots of joy as well as confusion. Knowing what to expect at what age can help you better understand your puppy and his behavior, letting you approach stressful times with compassion rather than frustration.

1-3 months old

Everything is new! This time is a critical time to teach your pup that new things are good- not scary. Short socialization expeditions that involve food and play can greatly improve your puppy’s comfort with the world. Socialization can happen at home too by moving around furniture or wearing the opposite season’s clothing while interacting with your pup (bring out the parka during summer or the sun hat during winter!). This helps your pup get comfortable with different surroundings and atypical appearances. 

Keeping your puppy confined to a small area when you can’t supervise can speed up progress as you work on potty training and teach your pup to only chew on his own toys.

Start working on obedience cues like sit, down, come, and “go to place” while keeping in mind that training should be fun!

3-8 months old

Those needle teeth are falling out and it HURTS! Offer lots of chew toys that your puppy loves, including frozen chews that will help numb his painful gums.

Get serious about leash training before so your puppy isn’t able to pull you over when he gets bigger and stronger. Teach him to be calm as you put on his leash and harness and get out and about! In addition to regular walks about town, take your pup to areas with more nature and let him explore at his own pace on a long leash to really tire him out.

Take the training you’ve been doing on the road so your pup learns that sit and down mean the same thing on the street as they do in the kitchen.

8-12 months old

Your cute puppy is becoming a gangly (and potentially terrible) teen! Hormones running wild and newfound independence may give your puppy “selective hearing” where he acts like he has never heard the word “sit” before in his life. Going back to basics and adding more “real life rewards” in training, like asking for a sit before going outside, helps remind your pup that it pays to listen to what you have to say.

It’s not uncommon for previously confident puppies to start showing fear at this age. While you might be tempted to wait and see if your puppy grows out of it, making confidence-building a priority is always a better choice. Team activities with your pup like Dog Parkour can help strengthen your relationship and build trust all while getting exercise and having fun!

12-24 months old

Your puppy may look like an adult, but he’s far from it! Your pup’s brain and body are still growing and changing every day, and new fears and strong opinions (positive or negative) can come up anytime.

If you decide to get your dog spayed or neutered, as many pet parents do at this age, be aware that their calorie needs drop about 25% after they’ve been fixed, so treat wisely! Fresh foods like carrots, blueberries, or green beans can be great low-calorie treats for the produce-loving pup. You can also find great protein-rich foods with that incorporate fresh foods like My Perfect Pet.

As your dog enters adulthood, their habits become more resistant to change. If you’ve been struggling with your pup’s behavior, professionals can help! Thanks to the boom in virtual learning, you are no longer limited to the trainers in your area. It’s easier than ever to work with a qualified trainer, behavior consultant, or veterinary behaviorist to improve your life with your dog. For instance, Doggo Insurance has a value-added benefit of certified professional dog trainers who can text or video call to train throughout the week!