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Virtual Home Manners: Training Schedule

Updated: Apr 16

cream f1b goldendoodle puppy laying down training outside at a food truck in texas
Bogey, an 11 week old puppy working on manners in a public place.

Training a new puppy can be as challenging as it is exciting. Fortunately, the American Kennel Club's (AKC) Virtual Home Manners (VHM) program provides a structured pathway to transform your lovable furball into a well-mannered companion right from the comfort of your home. With our guide to a 4-week VHM training schedule, you can ensure your puppy's success every paw of the way.

The following 4-week training schedule is the same schedule our trainers will follow when you enroll your Rebecca Creek Retriever puppy in one of our board and train programs.

Week One: Building Foundations

The first week is all about establishing trust and introducing simple commands. Start by allowing your puppy to explore their new environment and begin bonding with you. Practice name recognition, and introduce the crate as a safe space. Towards the end of the week, initiate the 'Sit' command training and start indoor leash familiarization.

  • Day 1: Bonding, trust building, and exploring their new environment.

  • Day 2: Introduction to their name and crate training (15-20 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 3: Begin teaching "Sit" command using positive reinforcement (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 4: Start leash training indoors (10-15 minutes, 2 times a day).

  • Day 5: Continue practicing "Sit" and indoor leash training.

  • Day 6: Introduce "Down" command (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 7: Socialization and playtime with family members.

🎓 Weekly Milestone: Puppy responds to their name, knows "Sit" and "Down" commands, and is comfortable with crate and leash.

Week Two: Mastering Basic Commands and Leash Training

In the second week, aim to cement the 'Sit' command and start introducing the 'Down' command. Consistency is key, so regular short training sessions with treats and praises as rewards will yield the best results. Continue indoor leash training, gradually increasing the duration as your puppy becomes more comfortable.

  • Day 8: Continue practicing "Sit" and "Down" commands, and leash training.

  • Day 9: Introduce "Stay" command (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 10: Work on house training, establish potty schedule (every 2-3 hours).

  • Day 11: Continue practicing "Stay" command and leash training.

  • Day 12: Start teaching "Come" command (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 13: Maintain consistency in house training and practice basic commands.

  • Day 14: Socialization and playtime with family members.

🎓 Weekly Milestone: Puppy knows "Stay" and "Come" commands, is progressing with house training, and is comfortable on a leash.

Week Three: Introducing New Skills and Outdoor Exposure

As your puppy becomes adept with the basic commands, introduce the 'Comes when called' skill and the 'Go to place' command. These are essential for both safety and convenience. Begin outdoor leash training, starting with short, controlled walks in a quiet place. Gradually increase the distance and exposure to various outdoor stimuli.

  • Day 15: Introduce grooming by gently brushing the puppy (5-10 minutes, 1-2 times a day).

  • Day 16: Continue practicing basic commands and grooming.

  • Day 17: Introduce "Go to Place" command (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 18: Start practicing walking outdoors on a leash (10-15 minutes, 2 times a day).

  • Day 19: Continue practicing basic commands, grooming, and walking outdoors.

  • Day 20: Introduce simple play activities or tricks (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day).

  • Day 21: Socialization and playtime with family members.

🎓Weekly Milestone: Puppy is comfortable with grooming, knows "Go to Place" command, and can perform a simple trick or activity.

Week Four: Consolidation and Mock Evaluation

The final week is a combination of consolidation and evaluation. Review all the commands and skills learned, ensuring your puppy is confident in executing them. Initiate a mock evaluation, simulating the conditions of the VHM test to familiarize your puppy with the format. This week is about ironing out any issues and building your puppy's confidence ahead of the actual evaluation.

  • Day 22: Practice all commands, grooming, and walking outdoors.

  • Day 23: Increase the distance and duration of "Come" command practice.

  • Day 24: Continue practicing all skills, focusing on consistency and reliability.

  • Day 25: Work on refining the "Go to Place" command and staying for 15 seconds.

  • Day 26: Practice walking in a straight line outdoors for 20 feet.

  • Day 27: Engage in outdoor exercise with the puppy (fetch, chase, etc.).

  • Day 28: Final practice of all skills and a mock evaluation.

🎓 Weekly Milestone: Puppy is proficient in all commands and skills, and is prepared to pass the Virtual Home Manners Puppy (VHMP) test.

The Value of the Virtual Home Manners Four-Week Training Schedule

The VHM 4-week training schedule is not just about training your puppy in manners and obedience. It's a comprehensive plan designed to instill confidence, cultivate a strong owner-puppy bond, and foster a positive learning attitude in your puppy. Moreover, it prepares your puppy for the VHMP test and paves the way for future AKC titles like S.T.A.R. Puppy and Canine Good Citizen (CGC).

Remember, patience and consistency are key during training. Celebrate every small success, and ensure the process is enjoyable for both you and your puppy. With the VHM training schedule, you're well on your way to raising a well-behaved, happy, and sociable canine companion.

Remember to keep training sessions short and positive, use treats and praise to reinforce good behavior, and provide regular breaks and playtime to keep your puppy engaged and happy.

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