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What Can An 8 Week Old Puppy Learn?

You’ve brought your first bundle of fur joy home. You will notice that your puppy is all about sleeping, eating, and potty this early in life. But what about training? What can an 8-week old puppy learn? Well, folks, we have that answer for you today.   

Puppies are a great addition to any family—especially those with very young children. You can watch them group up together and become best friends for life. Most puppies stay with their mothers until about 8-12 weeks. So when you get your puppy, they will have had zero training. Your puppy will be relying on you now to take care of it and show it everything it needs to know from their environment to keep it safe.

An 8-week old puppy is still very young. However, they can learn potty training, their name, sit, stay, come and leave it. You can also start to crate train an 8-week old puppy as well as getting it used to walks on a leash.

You may get a puppy that is older than eight weeks. My husband and I got our Kiki when she was three months (12 weeks). She was somewhat trained, but she still needed a lot of training. She did quite well with training and is a very well behaved pooch. The key is patience, love, and lots of praise.  

Things an 8 Week Old Puppy Can Learn 

8-week old puppies are still very young. However, you can start house training them from the first day they come home. It can be quite easy to train your new puppy. Puppies are looking to you for guidance and support. They will also be very willing to please. Let’s break down what an 8-week old canine can learn.

Bathroom Breaks 

Puppies can learn to use the bathroom at eight weeks old. Bring your puppy outside or in a designated bathroom area in the house soon after it eats or drinks. Once your puppy has done its business, make sure to praise it. This way, the pup knows that it has done a good thing, and will want to continue for praise.  

When we were training our dog, we would ask her, “do you have to go outside?”. Then we would bring her outside for her to do her business. Once she finished, she would get praise, and we would return inside. After a few weeks of this, she would just let us know when she had to go. She would (and still does) tap us on the knee. We then ask her if she has to go outside. She will do her little twirl and jump to let us know that we guessed right.  

Best times to take your pup out for bathroom breaks:

  • In the morning
  • After naps
  • Finished eating 
  • After drinking
  • Before bedtime
  • After playtime

My Name Is

Puppies can also learn their name at the young age of 8 weeks. It may take some time, though. They are not used to being summoned. They have spent their entire lives up until now with the mother. And I’m pretty sure their canine mom did not give your pup a name.

The best way to get your puppy to learn and respond to its name is through their stomach. Yes, puppies, just like dogs love to eat. A yummy back of puppy treats will help you on your way. Check with your veterinarian on the best treats for your puppy. You don’t want anything too hard, or something so small your puppy could choke on it.  

We did a combination of treats and praise for our puppy. It seemed to work quite well for us. Kiki knew her name in no time.

Crate Time 

An eight-week-old canine can learn to use and stay in its crate. The kennel or crate is normally used for bedtime, and times when you leave the house. Since they are very young, puppies should not argue with you over crate time.  

Make your puppy feel like the crate is a great place. Lots of praise is needed for crate training. And you never want to use the kennel as punishment for your puppy. They will learn to dislike the crate if used for negative reasons. Once they peg the kennel as evil, good luck ever trying to get your canine to use it, let alone even get into the thing. 

It is best to have a safe sleep room where you can put your puppy’s crate. Do not put the kennel in your bedroom, or let the puppy sleep in your bed unless it is only for a few weeks.   

Sit, Stay, Leave It!

Believe it or not, you can teach an 8-week old puppy to sit, stay, and leave it. Puppies can be destructive little furballs. So, you have to train them early. These three commands are rather simple ones, so your puppy should be able to pick them after some time. If you don’t want your puppy getting into things, it shouldn’t then use the leave it command. Pups will try to get their teeth on anything. Especially when outside. There are many things your dog may try to get into their mouth. Sticks, rocks, garbage, and even poop are things your pup may want to try out. Puppies are fast! So you had better keep your eyes open and be ready. Best to just take a look around the yard first to see if anything is tempting out there. Discard it, and then take your puppy out. 

Practice this command a few times a day using something safe. Remember to praise your puppy each time it leaves the object.

Puppies don’t always like to leave it, once they have set their eyes one something. So, master patience, you must for this command to work!

Sit and stay are useful commands to teach a young pup. Just like the leave it command, these two commands will be used often. Make sure you have treats for these commands. You will have to give lots of praise when your puppy accomplishes sit and stay. Remember only to provide treats that have been given the okay by your veterinarian.

Although an easy command, dogs seem to have trouble with these. They always want to follow us around. So when they are asked to sit and stay, they don’t really like it. Plus, they may miss something if they are not at our side! 

Walks, Leash, and Collars Oh My!

An 8-week old puppy can learn to go on walks and get used to a leash and collar. Your puppy will love going on walks. It is probably used to just going out for quick washroom breaks. So a walk will feel like a huge adventure for your little one. 

This is a good time to get your puppy used to have a collar on unless you go with a harness. I like a harness over a regular collar. My dog Kiki is a Yorkie, and Yorkies are known to have issues with their Trachea. Having a regular collar that goes around her neck is not ideal. Puppies are very fast, so having a collar could potentially cause harm to your little pup. 

Get a decent-sized leash for your puppy. I would not recommend a retractable leash for a puppy. These can be dangerous. 

Once you have a collar/harness and leash, it is time for a walk. But first, you have to show your dog the collar or harness. Gently put the collar or harness on your dog. Then attach the leash. Give your pup a treat for not causing a fuss. Your puppy will learn that the leash is a good thing—time to take the dog outside. 

Your puppy will most likely want to investigate everything it comes across. This is okay, as long it is safe to do so. Remember, dogs are fast, and your puppy will not be used to being on a leash. Try to keep within a few feet of you. Keep the walks short. As your puppy grows, you can take your little bundle of fur out for longer walks.

Come Command 

Here is another command your 8-week old puppy can learn. The both of you can have some fun with this one. So, make sure you have some treats at the ready. I know we had fun when teaching our puppy this command. We had treats that were veterinarian approved and gave our dog one every time she would come to us.

A good technique for this command is that one person stays with the dog, while the other goes about ten feet away. The person with the puppy holds the dog until the other person is ready. The other person then holds out their hands to the pup and asks the dog to come. Once the dog arrives, then give treats and lots of praise. Repeat this for the other person. It is just so much fun watching your little pup running over to you. Make sure to take lots of pictures and even video if you can. You will enjoy watching it at a later date.


As you can see, there are quite a few things that an eight-week old puppy can learn. The key is to keep your training short and fun. Puppy training should always end with a happy puppy. If you feel that your sessions are not working, then take a look at how long your sessions are. Puppies can only pay attention for a short amount of time. Shorten your sessions, and you will notice better results. You may want to increase the treats as well. Puppies like hungry hippos, always ready for more!

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Long Do 8 Week Old Puppies Sleep?

Puppies need lots and lots of sleep. They need more sleep than humans. On a typical day, a puppy will sleep 20 hours a day. That includes short naps during the day. Typically they sleep 14-16 hours at night. During the time they are not sleeping, pups will be eating, pooping, and investigating its new home and surroundings. 

Should I Wake Up My Puppy To Pee At Night?

Puppies cannot hold their bladders like an adult canine. So at some point in the night, your puppy will have to pee. You should wake up your puppy during the night so that it can relieve itself. If you do not, then most likely you will have a mess to clean up in the morning. The night time potty should be consistent so, set your alarm for the same time every night.

Your puppy may have urinated or pooped before your alarm went off. If this is the case, then set your alarm two hours before what you initially set. You could set two alarms so that your puppy can go out twice during the night. As your puppy grows, it will be able to hold its bladder longer. Eventually, you will not have to take your dog out in the middle of the night. 

Where Should My Puppy Sleep For The First Week?

Your puppy should stay with you in its crate for the first week up to three weeks. The dog will be scared and lonely if left alone in its crate. This is also the first time it has been away from its mother. You want to make your dog feel safe and not alone. If you do not do this, then you can expect not to sleep for a while. Your puppy will keep you up all night with crying.

Now you don’t want your puppy to think that it can stay with you every night. So, you will have to move the dog to its designated sleeping area eventually. If your dog cries, then take it out of its crate or kennel using the leash. Put the dog back in without any treats and walk away. You may have to repeat this numerous times, but eventually, your dog will stop crying.


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