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How a Dog Learns: Puppy Training 101

In dog training (and puppy training too) it is important to be positive, encouraging and consistent. Puppies learn through repetition or what is called patterning. For example, teaching a puppy to heel:

  • For 25 to 30 days, train the puppy every day on the concept of heel.
  • Somewhere around the 25th to 30th day, the puppy takes the heeling lesson and moves it from the conscious to the unconscious brain. The transfer from conscious to unconscious can take from 2 to 7 days depending the puppy’s ability and willingness to learn. During this time a puppy may be more distracted, not heeling as well as they should.
  • After the 2 to 7 days your puppy should be heeling like a pro.
  • Each puppy learns differently with some learning more quickly than others. The key ingredient is to be patient, loving, consistent and encouraging. Try to imagine an athlete learning to ski for the first time. At first, they are clumsy but through hard practice, repetition, encouragement and mentoring they become quite a champion. The same is true in puppy training.


  • Be positive, encouraging and consistent with training.
  • A puppy needs 25 to 30 days to absorb a lesson thoroughly
  • As a trainer you will be able to help your puppy learn.
  • Your puppy will bond more closely with you.

Remember a well-trained puppy creates a happy owner.

About Eileen Tonick

Angel Dogs, provides dog training, puppy training, dog agility training, dog obedience training and therapy dog training throughout the Phoenix, Arizona Metro Area.
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