How long does it take to train a dog ?
People often ask me how long does it take to train a dog ? We live in a world where time is very valuable and people want things now. We are always in a rush, we don’t want to wait in line, and we get angry when there is traffic. While some trainers may sugar coat things on this subject, I will not. I will be the first to admit, dog training takes time, patience, and consistency, it truly is never ending. Like anything in life worth having, such as a well-behaved dog, it doesn’t happen without effort.
There is no specific time frame. Dog training is a lifestyle.
I mean it in the same sense as fitness is a lifestyle. There are some people who only go to the gym when they are unhappy with their physical appearance or a health issue arises. Once they are happy with their results they stop going to the gym. More likely than not, they will revert back to their old appearance and that health issue may return. Then there are other people who might have started going to the gym because of the same reasons, but the difference is, when they achieved their goal, they kept up with that lifestyle to maintain it. Dog training is no different than fitness in that respect.
The hardest part about dog training is getting started.
Once you have started the secret is consistency and to never stop. Figure out how to include dog training into your life. Now, that looks different for every person and their dog. Not everyone interested in fitness aspires to be a competition body builder and not every dog owner needs their dog to enter obedience competitions. Although chances are if you are reading this, you have some desire to have a well-behaved dog. Once your dog is trained, whether you do it yourself or work with a dog trainer, the lifestyle part of dog training is continuing to hold your dog accountable for the skills they know. If you are happy with the level of obedience you have achieved with your dog, great! Now just keep at it and continue holding your dog accountable.
Hold your dog accountable for what they know.
In my board and train program I teach basic obedience both on and off leash using an ecollar. Once a dog leaves my board and train program, they know their commands (sit, down, place, heel, recall), honor thresholds, and know to wait for food. All my clients have to do is continue to hold their dogs accountable.
The lifestyle I ask clients to live with their dog looks something like this. Take the dog on structured walks using the heel command. Use the place command in the house for duration work as opposed to always letting the dog free roam the house. Make sure the dog is obeying thresholds such as the crate door, car doors, and house doors. When feeding your dog, ensure they are patiently waiting as you prepare it and give them permission to eat.
Now you might ask yourself, is all of this really needed?
It depends on the dog and it depends on how obedient you want your dog. There are some dogs that are easy going, once trained, ask something of them and they easily comply. There are other dogs (I have one of them), which are a bit more stubborn, need more reinforcement and reminders. Like any skill or trait in life, if you don’t use it you lose it. The same goes for dog training. It would be unfair to the dog if you don’t hold them accountable for their training each day, but then when guests come over or you bring them out in public you are suddenly asking them to behave in a distracting environment when you haven’t asked anything of them lately.
That being said, dogs are creatures of habit and strive off structure and routine. The more consistent you can be with your dog, the more relaxed and content they will be. Now the question is, what habits and routine do you want your dog to become accustom to, the ones that display calm and obedient behavior, or the opposite?