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© Ralph Clever Working Dogs & Rehabilitation, LLC 2014

How long it takes to train a dog!

 

Dear Readers!

 

Today, I like to talk about, how long it takes to train a dog.  I am more than extra special smart :), my Mom always says, but it took me quite a while to become the dog I am today!  Did you know that behavior problems arise from Miscommunication, Overexcitement, and a Lack of Leadership?

1) First of all, dogs do need Leadership on a daily basis consistently!  We have our needs (Pack Hierarchy, Social Exercise, Personal Space, Boundaries, Safety, Affection at the right Time, the Feeding Ritual, and Sleeping Arrangements), as you all do, and if those are met, we never have behavior problems!  Leadership applied consistently for 30 to 45 days, and we become calm, focused, agreeable, overall well- balanced, and well- behaved dogs.  Please note, that we can also be sick, have pain etc..  It can change our behavior as well.  Please have us checked out by your Veterinarian! 

### If we already have Behavior Problems, we do need behavior rehabilitation!  It takes >>> in general 30 to 45 days, until you see a big change.  Doggies with severe Separation Anxiety need >>> some extra work; any other Fear based issues can take from >>> a few month up to a year!  In rare cases, if we inherited fear genes, we might never get over our fear 100%, but we will get much better with leadership, and gentle training, gradually correct socialization, and handling.

2) Secondly, it would be helpful, if you teach us Obedience, your language (After you have already established leadership with us!)!  By the way, we do not automatically understand you, just because you keep repeating commands!  You have to teach us first!  If we can speak your "language", living with you and taken us places will be even easier, but first, we have to be calm, focused, and agreeable to listen to commands. 

Usually the Basic Obedience Class (Puppy/ Beginner) takes about 6 weeks, Intermediate Obedience another 6 weeks, and if you like us to know even more, then we need Advanced Training, which is another 6 weeks!  You see, we don’t get educated overnight, you did not either!  Now, whatever you taught us, and practiced with us (it takes 30 to 45 times, if you are consistent), is what we can do, not more, not less!  In addition, we have to practice, first without or with very minimum distractions, then gradually have the distractions increased.  We also don't generalize, so you have to take us to several different places, until we perform anywhere! 

 

3) Third, in the process of training, with the help of a private trainer, or in a group class, we are also getting socialized! (See "Socialization Program" and "Waiting List - Working Dogs Info" for more information about the importance of early Socialization!)

>>> So you see, so far you are at about 45 days, for us to be calm, focused, and agreeable;

>>> Plus another 6 weeks + for pretty good with the human language.

>>> Plus 12 weeks + for being smart.

>>> And another 18 weeks + for being extra special smart!

### Just a few words to Puppies and Adolescents!  No matter what, they got to go through the Puppy-hood with their little puppy issues, just like a human baby, and then toddler!  The Adolescents (I remember my time :) oh..oh…, and I am sure my Mom does hers :)) have to go through the Adolescent Phase.  We are at our “best” :) between 7 and 14 months!  But you all get through it, just remember the training will make it way easier for you, and you know how to handle us, to raise us to be the greatest doggies.  After all, we don’t just grow up automatically, and know what to do in YOUR environment!  It’s your responsibility to teach and guide us!

4) Now, if you want us to learn more, which most of us are happy to do, like Agility, Herding, Tracking and Trailing, Tricks, Obedience Competition, being a Therapy Dog, Off- Leash Training, and much more……….it will take >>> extra time, depending on, what you like to accomplish with us!  But that’s the fun part, the quality time we spend together!!! 

Or do you need a Service Dog?  We are not a Service Dog, just because you put a vest on us!  No, my Mommy and I used to work very hard for this, every day, and we still do, so I don’t forget!  Most Service Dogs take >>> at least 9 months (counting after leadership applied) to be trained, but only if they are already 2 years old, and have no behavior problems.  Otherwise, it takes extra time to work with us.  How many skills do you want us to know?  It will add a few more months to it, so you might even come out to a training time of 1.5 to 2 years!  Remember, we have to learn all of this first! 

My sister Scarlett, also an Instructor Service Dog as I am, took way longer than me!  She liked to do things her own way (typical Blue-Ticky- Coon-Hound :)).  My Mom has a few more gray hairs, since her training.  Anyway, today Scarlett proudly helps my Mom training all the 4- legged students, while I am enjoying my retirement, and just helping Mommy doing all the fun stuff………

I hope I could get you an idea about the length of training today! 

So be patient with us, nobody becomes a rocket scientist overnight!

All the best!

Yours,

Professor Strudel