Dog Age and Training

What class is right for my dog’s age?

When you’re looking for training check for the following terms on trainer websites as a guide:

Canine Life Stages chart - Dog age and training

Very young puppies between 8 – 14 weeks of age should go to puppy socialization classes.  These classes should not include huge amounts of training, but should focus on having the puppy enjoy the experience, perhaps play with some other puppies and teach you how to handle the big issues at this stage like housetraining, cratetraining and puppy nipping.

Puppies older than 14 weeks are well-suited to learning basic manners and obedience such as sit, down, sit-stay, down-stay, loose leash walking and recalls.  Puppies should not engage in any dog sports that include jumping at heights taller than a puppy’s elbow to ensure the safe formation of their skeletons.

Adolescent/Teenage dogs, who are more adventurous and attractive to risky behaviours benefit from refreshers on basic obedience along with training that stretches and engages their brain and is highly rewarding (such as a sport preparation/fundamentals course).  These dogs also should not jump significant heights until they are at least one year old.

Young Adult dogs are ideally cut out for engaging training and brain games, and if they are developmentally normal will also welcome training that includes using their physical abilities.  This age is generally the time your dog is most fit and active.  Classes can include Rally-O, Freestyle, Agility, Dock Diving and more!

Mature adult AND senior dogs benefit from ongoing learning and brain games at all ages.  Monitor your dog’s physical condition and ensure that the classes they participate in are suitable for their physical condition.  You may wish to check with your veterinarian before participating in extremely physically challenging classes as it is estimated that a significant number of older mature dogs and at least 20% of senior dogs have osteoarthritis that can cause pain and interfere with athleticism AND desire to learn.

You can look up our CAPDT Member-Trainers in your area to help you find classes for your dog at any age!