How Long Does It Take To Train a Puppy?

Dog watching the clock

We often receive the question, “how long does it take to train a puppy?”

While a direct question deserves an in-kind response, when living, breathing creatures are involved the answer is often, “reply hazy, ask again later.”

This question is like asking, “When will I be an adult?” While 18 seems like a logical answer, it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll act or think like an adult. At 18 must humans still have impulse control problems, and lack of experience often leads to ‘oopsies!’ Like that time I borrowed my parent’s car to get the groceries. I was doing them a favor… Or so I thought. It had been snowing, and as I was leaving the grocery store, a car pulled out in front of me. Cutting me off just a tad too close for my comfort level. Little did I know at 18 how to hit the brakes and control a sliding car… So, I just froze and slowly slid into the car.

While 18 seems like an all ‘grown-up’ age, it really isn’t. Experience, exposure, and helpful learning still occur post the age of adulthood. And a puppy is the same way… He or she isn’t going to be ‘fully trained’ for a long time to come. But, that doesn’t mean that your puppy isn’t trained! Just like any well-intentioned 18-year-old human, your puppy will definitely have quite a few things learned once they reach their own, individual, age of adulthood.

How Long Does It Take To Train A Puppy?

The answer depends a lot upon you and the level of your involvement. If you are following a high quality, guided puppy training system, then you could develop a very well-behaved pup in as little as 12 weeks. That is if you are consistent, interactively practice, and create positive rewards for your puppy’s cognitive growth. However, there are a lot of factors that are involved, including:

  • Has your puppy come to you with pre-conditioned behaviors? This could include things your puppy learned from a breeder, a rescue group, a foster parent, or other dogs. Learn as much as possible about the history of your puppy as it will help you thoughtfully design your puppy’s training plan.
  • How did your puppy learn prior to joining your family? Depending on how you obtained your puppy, s/he may have been intentionally taught some basic commands. If so, learn how your puppy received the training, and how s/he responded. This will help you understand how your puppy learns, as well as give insight into if you have to do some un-training with your puppy.
  • Are you the only person training your puppy? Sometimes well-intentioned family members accidentally undo the training you are attempting to teach your puppy. With adult dogs, they often know when they are getting away with something… Like sneaking a piece of steak from your dinner guests’ hand. But puppies don’t have that level of cognition. So, make sure that everyone involved with your puppy practices consistency with your training goals.
  • Are you practicing slow, steady, deliberate, and consistent training? A puppy wants nothing more than to please you. Watch your puppy for cues. Does s/he get overstimulated easily? Just like people, each pup has a pace for learning. Work to figure out your puppy’s style and pace of learning and capitalize on that. Don’t give a puppy with a shorter attention span a lot of different things to learn at once. Break each piece down into bite-size training sessions. Conversely, some dogs can’t get enough to learn and with these types of pups, it’s best to move them into some more challenging sessions that involve puzzles and other action-based learning methods.
  • Are you providing your puppy awesome rewards for their great efforts? Just like humans, a good way to your puppy’s heart is through his or her stomach! Make sure that the treat rewards you give you puppy are scrumptious and different than their meals. This helps to engage your puppy more quickly and more compliantly. Face it, we’d all ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘come here.’ for a piece of cake! While you don’t want to give your dog cake, here are some yummy training treats your dog will truly love.

The Key Factor

How long does it take to train a puppy? It takes as long as it takes, and it also requires a very invested and committed human. It takes you - an open-hearted, pet parent! One of the great things about puppies is that they come pretty much ready to learn. So, if you follow our guidelines above and use a quality training program, you will have a very well trained pup in no time flat.

Do you have a specific puppy training question you need help with? Or perhaps you know some good training tips and tricks you’d like to share? If so, let us know!

Rebecca Sanchez

Rebecca Sanchez lives in Seattle with her husband and three dogs and is a published author, and nationally recognized leader in the pet industry. Known as The Pet Lifestyle Guru™ Rebecca firmly believes “we need animals as much as they need us!” Rebecca specializes in researching and writing about holistic dog health and nutrition, and develops DIY recipes designed to enhance a pup's well-being.

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