Prep School Weekly Overview
- Our Complete Prep School Program is a 16-week "Foundational Program" that gets your puppy through the initial phases and stages of puppyhood.
- The 16-week plan focuses on learning at the most appropriate time for the puppy based on age and social development stage.
- Each new week adds onto the previous week’s learning.
- Each week our Prep School Program focuses on each puppy as an individual, not as a litter-mate.
- We also focus on each client’s needs individually.
- These 2 elements combined give us the actual training plan for each puppy.
- Puppy or Client needs will create variances in the below program.
Wk 1: Focus this week is on the transition from life with mom and litter mates in the Puppy Room to life in the home with people verses dogs. We work diligently on getting the puppy on a schedule for eating, drinking, sleeping, playing, training, and pottying (we start with one that works for him). Typically we do crate training for this. We stay ahead of the puppy’s need for potty breaks, to prevent accidents in the crate or around the house while the puppy adjusts to his new schedule. By the end of this week, most puppies are on a schedule where they eat 2-3 times daily, they are holding potty in their crate for 4-6 hours at night and 2-4 hours during the day, and barking in the crate is minimal.
The puppy is introduced to a collar and leash, taking and following lures, the feedback words (markers), his name, and being without his litter-mates. We work on socialization this week through just normal experiences like riding in a car, being in a home, the different floor surfaces in a home, the sounds in a home and/or neighborhood (TV, children, vacuums, bathroom noises, etc). This week will be the puppy’s first time to experience a lot of these things so we work with them on feeling comfortable and happy (not stressed) about all of the changes that have just occurred. We work with manners by not having the puppy in a position to make a wrong choice or by ignoring it if he does and redirects and reward for right choices. There are lots of rewards for trying new things, exploring, and making good choices. During this week, we also assess the puppy for any potential flags that need special attention. This could be how well or not they match to the client, it could be health, or it could be a behavioral flag. Any flags that are noticed are immediately discussed with the client. Each week from here any flags will be addressed based on the plan discussed with the client. We will also be noticing any potential flags in future weeks as well.
If your Puppy turns 9 weeks old this week they will receive their 9-week puppy vaccination.
Wk 2: This week we introduce the obedience commands (name, sit, down, leave it, come, touch) in a formal way. We focus on the helper commands (sit, name, leave it) for the other aspects of training in the future. The puppy is on a leash (longer 10-30 foot) most of the time he is out of his crate so we are set up to be successful as training is starting. By having the puppy on a leash, we can control the source of rewards at this point. Socialization continues by adding to the normal household, neighborhood, and day to day sights, sounds, smells, and textures, the puppy will experience while at home. Crate training now should be progressed to being able to hold potty 6-8 hours overnight and barking very minimal. We are still staying ahead of the puppy’s needs for potty breaks to limit accidents in the crate and in the home and rewarding heavily for making potty in the proper location. Manners are still being worked by setting up the puppy to be successful and rewarding right choices.
Wk 3: This week we continue practicing obedience. The puppy should have a very good understanding of the feedback words at this point. The puppy should also have a good understanding of sit, leave it, and his name. We are still rewarding for correct choices with manners, but now able to use the feedback words when wrong choices are made. We are also able to use the helper commands (sit, leave it, name) to direct the puppy to what the correct choice might be. The puppy is still on a long leash a lot of the time so we can continue setting up for success. We are still staying ahead of his needs for potty, however, We now introduce a pause at the door before going out to go potty and have the puppy touch the bell. The puppy should now be going 8 hours overnight in the crate and barking should be rare. This week we begin the transition from the schedule your puppy has been in that worked best for his transition to a schedule that mirrors his owner’s. This week we focus on socialization with things that previously have been difficult to make sure we are comfortable around a home.
Wk 4: This week the obedience is becoming more solid and we begin adding difficulty through the 3 d’s (distance, duration, distraction). The puppy is being allowed more supervised, off leash, in the housing freedom this week because at this point there is a good foundation of good choices being rewarded. We now will give the puppy a chance to make the wrong choices so he can receive feedback if he does and rewards when he doesn’t. We will begin seeing puppies go to the door on their own this week, but will still need to prompt them to ring the bell. If we are not supervising or do not notice him go to the door accidents will occur. Crate training at this point is very good. The puppy is now as close to your schedule as we can reasonably do for the puppy’s age and to achieve the goals set each week. Manners are now being worked with feedback words and rewards for good choices. We begin working through our socialization scavenger hunt on the new things we can expose him to while still around the home.
If your Puppy turns 12 weeks old this week they will receive their 12-week puppy vaccination.
Wk 5: This is typically a transition week. It is vitally important when puppies are with us more than 4 weeks, that they practice a transition. This is to ensure they do not become too attached to the family training with them and to give us an idea of what the client will experience when this puppy transitions home. This week is all about getting through this transition as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. We will recognize potential transitional issues and work through, providing you with guidance on how to do the same when your puppy comes home. Once the transition is complete we work on progressing the obedience, we focus on sit, stay, and leave it in preparation for next week. The puppy maybe back on a leash this week for a period of time to work on manners and to learn where a different door is. Socialization continues through exposures to a new household and neighborhood.
Wk 6: This is a big week for your puppy. He goes on his first big out and about adventure. We begin to socialize in new settings and apply the obedience to real world settings. Manners are being practiced with new people. We work on being more controlled while being walked on a leash. We continue on our socialization scavenger hunt. Your puppy has now entered adolescence and we expect to see them test limits and boundaries. We also expect to see their needs for energy burns increase as they typically hit a growth spurt and energy spurt this week. This higher energy level gives us more stamina to extend training sessions and expect more as we continue to assess the 3 ds. Potty training is becoming more consistent this week as the puppy is actively trying to go in the right places and hold it in the wrong ones.
Wk 7: There is so much going on week 6 this week is an extension to continue the progress from wk 6. This creates consistency and reliability.
Wk 8: This is the week a puppy typically can be spayed or neutered. If this is scheduled, we take the puppy to and from the vet. We then keep the puppy quiet during the 7-10 day recovery period. During this time, we keep your puppy on his schedule and routine and practice all previous exercises. If your puppy isn’t spayed or neutered, we continue practicing this week on all previous training and adding to it. This creates consistency and reliability.
If your Puppy turns 16 weeks old this week they will receive their 16-week Puppy Vaccination & Rabies Shot.
Wk 9-12: We continue with practice and socialization, continually requiring the puppy to give better behaviors for the same rewards and expanding on his exposures and experiences. We build reliability and constancy with the potty training, manners, and obedience by doing this. The puppy will do another practice transition during this time. We are now focusing in areas of most importance to the client and in areas the puppy has more difficulty. Adolescence is in full swing now and the puppy continues learning by testing limits and boundaries and getting clear feedback to what is and isn’t appropriate behavior. Teething also typically is going on now. We also continue practicing in a new setting and applying all training to the real world so it will be functional once the puppy is with the client.
Wk 13-16: This is where we apply all finishing touches to the Socialization and potty training. The puppy’s schedule very closely mirrors the client’s requested schedule. Obedience is solid and reliable in most settings. Manners are very good at this point. If the puppy is still in adolescence and teething, the trainer may have special instructions for working with this once the puppy comes home. The puppy’s is getting many opportunities to practice and gain experience.
Wk 16: The 16th weeks of Prep School most puppies are 6 months old and through those puppyhood phases that lead to problems with owners. They are now capable of controlling when they potty. They are through the socialization phase which has them getting into everything. They are also for the most part through the testing limits and boundaries phase which makes training pretty reliable at this point. There is an anticipated transition period the puppy will go through when first arriving home, but the trainers will have great guidance on what to expect and how to get through it as quickly and seamlessly as possible from his practice transitions.