How To Train A Two Year Old Dog

Our writers & fact checkers independently research, test, analyze, and recommend the best motorcycle products. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links.

This article may contain affiliate links where we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Key Takeaways

  • Always train an adult dog using positive reinforcement.
  • Teach your dog the four basic commands to get started - sit, stay, come, and leave it.
  • Doing two training sessions for 20 minutes each is the best routine.

Training a two-year-old dog may seem challenging at first, but it can be a rewarding experience for both the pet and the owner. Here’s how to do it.

To train a two-year-old dog, use positive reinforcement and teach them the essential commands to improve behavior.  Sit, Stay, Come, and Leave It are the four commands you should start with. Perform 2-3 training sessions daily for about 20 minutes each.

Consistency in training sessions and positive reinforcement played a significant role in our progress. As we continued our training, I found it essential to work on impulse control, which helped my dog become more obedient and manageable. This guide is proven to work based on past results.

In this article

How To Train A Two-Year-Old Dog: Effective Tips for Success

As I've learned more about training my two-year-old dog, I've realized that understanding their behavior is crucial for successful training. Doing this can turn you into a professional dog trainer after just a few dog training sessions.

But things are more difficult because two-year-old adult dogs have likely developed bad habits. This is why we always recommend dog owners start training when they have a young puppy. It’s like trying to teach an old dog new tricks.

The training techniques can differ by breed. Some breeds (like German Shepherd dogs) are extremely food orientated and react positively to treats. This is especially important for an older dog.

But don’t worry, we can still train your dog. To effectively teach new skills and commands, it's essential to focus on reinforcement and reading my dog's body language.

Importance of Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is essential to training a dog at any age, but it's especially important when dealing with a two-year-old. I’ve noticed the dog learns faster this way too.

They're still learning and growing at this age, so I need to offer encouragement and praise when they do something I like or make good choices. This helps reinforce good behavior in the future.

Some tips for effective reinforcement include:

  • Using treats as rewards for good behavior
  • Offering verbal praise or a gentle pat when my dog obeys a command
  • Keeping training sessions short and focused, as dogs around this age tend to have the attention span and intelligence of a human two-year-old

Reading Body Language

Another critical aspect of training my two-year-old dog is being able to interpret their body language. By doing so, I can better understand their emotions and needs, which allows me to tailor my training approach accordingly.

Here are some key signs I always look for in my dog's body language:

  • Tail wagging: Generally indicates happiness and excitement, but a stiff, rapidly wagging tail may signal fear or aggression
  • Ears pulled back or flattened: May signify fear or submission
  • Bared teeth or growling: Usually indicates aggression, fear, or discomfort

By paying close attention to my dog's body language, I can ensure that our training sessions remain productive and enjoyable for both of us. Remember, a well-trained and happy dog is the ultimate goal.

Creating a Training Schedule For Your Dog

For an adult dog, a typical training program involves consistency and a stricter schedule than you would need for a young dog. The older a dog gets, the more difficult training becomes.

I built this program after working with some professional dog trainers. It even works for hunting dogs or for a rescue dog.


In my experience, one of the crucial aspects of training a two-year-old dog is maintaining consistency in the training routine. A regular schedule offers a sense of structure and helps dogs understand what to expect daily.

I found it helpful to set specific times for training sessions, just like I would for feeding or walks. A two-year-old dog could quickly adapt and respond well to the training by keeping a consistent schedule.

Short Training Sessions

Another important factor I discovered while training a two-year-old dog is the effectiveness of short, engaging training sessions. Training sessions should be about 10 minutes long, taking place several times a day.

I focused on teaching one specific behavior or command during each session, which made it easier for my dog to absorb and practice new skills without getting overwhelmed or losing interest.

Here's an example of a training schedule I created for my two-year-old dog. This can work for potty training and other commands like sit, stay, or come.

Time Activity
8:00 AM Morning walk
9:00 AM Breakfast
12:00 PM Training session 1 (Sit command)
1:00 PM Lunch
4:00 PM Training session 2 (Stay command)
6:00 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Training session 3 (Come command)
8:00 PM Evening walk

Remember to keep the training sessions engaging and fun for you and your dog. You only need to spend about 20 minutes for each session.

But implement the training each day to track progress. A dog looks up to their owner and will follow his or her lead during training too. Use positive reinforcement with treats or toys to motivate your dog and reinforce desired behaviors.

Remember that patience is key, and the more consistent and enjoyable the training is, the better your dog will respond to it. Socialization with other dogs can also help.

What Are The Essential Commands To Teach A Dog?

No dog’s training is complete without learning some commands. I have found that teaching essential commands is crucial to ensure clear communication and a strong bond between me and my pet.

I will discuss four basic commands that I believe every dog should know: Sit, Stay, Come, and Leave It.


Teaching my dog to sit is one of the simplest commands and often the first I teach. To do this, I hold a treat close to my dog's nose and slowly move my hand up, allowing their head to follow the treat and causing their bottom to lower.

Once they are in a sitting position, I say, "Sit," give them the treat, and share affection. I repeat this sequence a few times every day until my dog masters it.


Once my dog has learned the "Sit" command, the "Stay" command becomes easier to teach. First, tell your dog to sit. Then open your palm close to their face and say “Stay”. Then take a few steps back while facing the dog.

If they stay in their position, I go back to them, offer a treat, and praise them. I gradually increase the distance and duration, always rewarding their success.


The "Come" command is essential for safety and helps in case my dog gets away from me. To train them, I simply put the dog on a leash and collar, say "Come" while gently tugging on the leash, and then give them a treat once they come to me.

I practice this repeatedly, eventually removing the leash and practicing in a safe, enclosed area. As your dog shows more confidence, you can push them a little further as you gain more trust.

Leave It

Teaching my dog the "Leave It" command helps prevent them from picking up dangerous or unwanted items. To do this, I place a treat in both of my hands.

I show my dog one enclosed fist with the treat and say, "Leave it." After my dog has stopped trying to get the treat, I give them the treat from my other hand. I practice this command, always rewarding my dog for leaving the initial treat alone.

Socialization and Bonding Tips To Improve Training Results

You should spend quality time with your dog while training. This will help them improve and learn faster. But allowing for socialization with other dogs and focusing on a positive reinforcement environment yield the best results.

Socializing with Other Dogs

As I began the socialization process with my two-year-old dog, I realized the importance of introducing them to other dogs. I found it helpful to start by exposing my dog to well-behaved, friendly dogs in controlled environments.

This allowed my dog to observe and learn appropriate play and social behaviors from these role models. I also rewarded my dog with praise and treats for positive interactions.

Another helpful tip was to join a local dog-walking group or dog-friendly classes, like obedience or agility. This allowed my dog to meet new canine friends under my supervision and helped build their confidence around other dogs.

If the initial meetings went well, I organized play dates with these new friends, ensuring they were in a comfortable and familiar environment.

Creating a Positive Environment

In addition to socializing with other dogs, creating a positive environment for my two-year-old dog was vital. I found that using positive reinforcement and consistent training methods played a crucial role in their development.

This included rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime and avoiding punishment or negative reactions when they made mistakes.

Here are some steps I took to create a positive environment:

  • Ensure my dog has a comfortable and safe space to relax, like a crate or a designated room.
  • Offer a variety of interactive toys and puzzles to keep their mind engaged and stimulated.
  • Set a daily routine for meals, walks, and playtime, as consistency helped build their trust.

By following these practices, I developed a strong bond with my two-year-old dog, fostering a sense of security and ensuring a happy and well-adjusted companion.

Is It Too Late To Train a Two-Year-Old Dog?

It's never impossible or too late to train a dog at this age. In fact, we can train a dog at just about any age if we are consistent and determined enough.

A two-year-old dog can be beneficial in some ways. They may be less distractible and energetic than puppies, making it easier for them to focus during training sessions. I used high-value rewards for positive reinforcement, such as treats, toys, and praise. Non-food rewards can work too.

When starting the training, I kept it simple and fun, focusing on teaching basic commands like sit, stay, and come. As my dog progressed, I gradually introduced more advanced commands and exercises to keep them engaged and motivated.

Consistency and patience were vital, and it was essential to avoid getting frustrated with my dog during the training process. It is critical to understand that every dog learns at a different pace, so we should not expect instant results.