Puppy Wonder Weeks – Part 2

Training Options for Young Puppies

Raising a young puppy to become the dog of your dreams requires mastery of house training, manners, socialization and foundation obedience. Once puppies have developed these solid essential skills, more advanced training is possible.

The Wonder Weeks

The ideal time to start puppy training is 8-12 weeks, known as their Wonder Weeks. A young puppy’s personality is molded and formed during these early weeks. This is why puppies typically go home with new families around 8 weeks of age. If you have the great fortune to get a puppy before 4-months-old, you will significantly shape your puppy’s personality, for better or worse.

Puppy Training Skills

What are young pups capable of learning during their Wonder Weeks? The most important are socialization skills because this critical social phase ends at 4 months of age. House training includes potty and crate training skills. Manners includes preventing unwanted behaviors, such as jumping, barking, whining, mouthing, biting, growling and snarling. Teaching young pups to focus (LOOK) on you and COME when called are essential to keep them safe and build solid foundation for more advanced training skills.

Puppies Rot in Solitary Confinement

Unfortunately, some young puppies are left home alone, in a crate, for long periods of time while their humans are working. Young puppies in their peak socialization period do not thrive with these regular bouts of solitary confinement.

Leaving a young puppy home alone during their Wonder Weeks is detrimental to their mental, physical and emotional growth and development. If your young pup is destined to be alone in an empty house for long periods of time, you are doing your puppy, and ultimately yourself, a huge disservice. Just don’t do it!

Pup-ternity Leave

If possible, we recommend that new puppy parents take some time off to bond with their newbie puppy and start training. When human children are very young, moms often take maternity leave while dads take paternity leave. Pup-ternity leave is taking time off to be with and start training your young puppy.

If you have an 8-week-old puppy, taking a month off during their Wonder Weeks is highly recommend. It will reap benefits for the rest of your life and your pups lives.

Those with the option to work from home have the “luxury” to be with their pups during their workday. The COVID pandemic made this a reality for many people. This is an ideal situation to raise a pup, but problems can occur, including being less productive in work and your dog going crazy whenever you leave (separation anxiety).

Alternative Options for Puppy Care

If you do not work from home and/or pup-ternity leave is not possible, what other options are available, especially during their Wonder Weeks? Maybe a friend or relative can help socialize them and train puppy manners and foundation skills while you are working. If you have a person knowledgeable about raising a puppy along with being willing and able to do this for you, count yourself very lucky!

Another option is using outside resources such as a daytime boarding facility, a traditional board and train (B&T) facility or a specialized, residential B&T program. First, putting a young puppy in a boarding-only facility or traditional (B&T) facility with kennel runs and outside cages is NOT advised. These types of boarding facilities are not warm and fuzzy for your young puppy.

In addition, these facilities typically do not provide puppy training services. In fact, these traditional boarding facilities are a great place for young pups to pick up bad habits – something your puppy does not need! Also, a young puppy’s developing immune system poses a significant challenge. unfortunately, veterinarians often recommend waiting until puppy is vaccinated, typically between 16-20 weeks of age, well after their Wonder Weeks period.

Residential Board & Train

Residential B&T programs are another option for training young, Wonder Week puppies. While boarding-only residential programs are possible, the drawback is lack of the training component. In addition, without the training component, young pups can easily pick up bad habits from other boarding dog client.  Concerns regarding their immature immune system and picking up bad habits from others.

We offer home-based B&T programs (Wonder Weeks Puppy program). First, because your puppy will live in your home “furever”, home-based B&T programs mimic your pup’s home living and training environment. Second, your puppy lives with a professional trainer who is extremely experienced and well-equipped to train puppies. Third, puppy gets tons of socialization with puppy-friendly, trained dogs (The Muttley Crew). Because our B&T programs are small in size, your puppy gets lots and lots of TLC (training and loving care).

When working with puppies, especially during their critical Wonder Weeks, providing developmentally appropriate puppy activities is ideal. We get puppies on the path to becoming your dream dog right away. If your puppy dog needs training, during their Wonder Weeks and beyond, we can help with all your training needs.

Kathryn R. Gubista, PhD is an evolutionary biologist, college biology instructor, former zookeeper, author and certified professional dog trainer with Lucky Dog Training Asheville. Please follow us on Instagram @TrainingLuckyDogs and @KyloRenPup. Please contact us for more information at TrainingLuckyDogs@gmail.com or call us at 828-423-9635.


The DOG’S PERSPECTIVE – Kindle Countdown Begins

Will you be getting a puppy for Christmas? Did you get a puppy last Christmas? Do your puppies need training but you have no clue how to train a dog? Do you need help right now? Or yesterday?

You are probably a busy person who does not have time to read all the books and websites on dog training to figure out how to go about this very important part of your dog’s life – training. Would you appreciate if someone or something would explain or summarize your options for getting basic dog training? Do you want want training to be fun so that it is a daily pleasure, not a dreaded chore? Do you want to make an educated decision about how to train your own doggies? Continue reading

Why We Should Pet Dogs

Touch & Petting are Critical for Thriving

There are fundamental training skills a dog needs to possess to develop an ideal relationship with their human companions. Some of the skills involve Food, Water and Shelter, vital necessities for the long-term physical health and survival of every living being. Here the focus changes to a need that is not a vital necessity for survival, but is vital for individuals to thrive.  Continue reading

Dog Food & Water

The Dog’s Perspective: Food and Water

Food, Water and Shelter are vital necessities for the long-term health and survival of every living being, including humans and dogs. Discussion of the fundamental importance of shelter and its ultimate affect on your dog’s behavior is at The Dog’s Perspective: Inside or Outside Dogs. Here we address the importance of food and water, the elixir of life and the sustenance that provides nourishment to keep living beings alive. Continue reading

Dock Diving Dogs Make a Splash in Asheville

Saturday, 4th of July 2015

Dogs of all shapes and sizes will be making a spectacular splash in downtown Asheville as part of Ingles Independence Day Celebration 2015 on Saturday, July 4th. Ultimate Air Dogs, the premier dock jumping organization in the United States, will host the events as dogs from all over the country practice, perform and compete in dock diving activities throughout the day. Continue reading

Fitness With Fido – Introduction

The Fitness Problem

We are a nation of overweight and obese humans and dogs. Seventy percent (70%) of Americans and fifty percent (50%) of our dog companions fall into this category. That is seven out of ten people and one of two dogs who tip the scales in this unhealthy, red-zone. Is there an easy, practical solution to this health epidemic? Continue reading

The World According to DOG

For many of us, life with our faithful canine companions is the norm. However, imagine if dogs ruled the world and we were merely their faithful companions. Our world would be crazy different! Here are 10 changes we would need to adopt in a world ruled by dogs.

10 Changes in a World Ruled by Dogs

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How To Train Your Dog – Part 8

From The Dog’s Perspective

The most effective way to train dogs is from The Dog’s Perspective. By understanding how dogs think, human companions can learn what naturally motivate dogs to be canine good citizens. Training dogs using The Dog’s Perspective is superior to both the Wolf Perspective and the Human Perspective in many ways.

The Wolf’s Perspective, promoted by Cesar’s Corner, makes misguided assumptions about wolves, dogs and their social groupings. The Human Perspective, advocated by Positive trainers, focuses on human viewpoints, often at the expense of the dog’s perspective. Case in point, how dogs communicate with each other. Continue reading