Dog Training Q&A with Robert:
I believe there are no stupid questions (except the ones you don’t ask)! Here are a few questions that I’ve been asked. I hope they may help you in making your decision about training your dog.
What is the best age to begin training my dog?
There is no bad time to start training your dog, in other words no age is too early. I’ve trained dogs from as young as 8 weeks to over 10 years old. Starting out early is the best thing when it comes to training. All training in the beginning is about playing games and building a relationship with your dog, so the sooner you do that – the better!
When is a dog too old to train?
It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs love to learn and love to work, so no matter what his or her age, you’ll be doing your dog a big favor by training! Plus it will build a better relationship between you and your pup!
How long will it take to train my dog?
This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked. The answer is, “It depends on you and your dog.” Some dogs learn things quickly, while others need a little more time. The one thing I can say for certain is that training your dog is something you will do for the rest of his life. I look at training like exercise and diet: Once you get into shape you need to keep at it to stay in shape. It’s the same with dog training. You are teaching your dog to learn and it is a process that both of you will love.
To give an answer to the question, most dogs start to show results in 4-8 weeks.
Will taking my dog to a dog-park help socialize him?
If you haven’t read my articles yet, be sure to read the one on dog-parks. I don’t like them and suggest against ever taking your dog there. If you want to socialize your dog it is something you should do in a controlled environment: that means no strange dogs that may give him a bad experience. I’ve worked with countless dogs that have serious fear and aggression issues because of bad socializing experiences.
Can you take my dog to stay with you and train him?
Although I am not a big believer in board & train training, there are certain situations in which it is the very best option. The most important decision, of course, will be who the person is that will be training your dog and will they take care of your dog as he deserves.
Boarding and training your dog with a good person involves doing your research. I will on occasion take a specific dog to stay and train with me. This involves a total dedication to this dog and your dog will be treated as my very own dog. This includes intensive training, exercise, diet & nutrition, socialization and of course lots of love.
Training your dog forms a relationship that lasts a lifetime and is worth the effort!
What is the difference between positive training, compulsive training, R+ training, treat training and all of these?
There are so many terms for the various methods of training that it will make your head spin. The basic facts are there are two ways to get any creature to do something make it fun or make it painful. Obviously it is best to make any training experience pleasurable and this involves using rewards. In much of the (currently) popular training methods there is no place for corrections. This type of training is often very stressful for dogs as it doesn’t show the dog right from wrong. Balanced training is the best option for dogs because it involves luring and shaping behaviors, rewarding the dog for doing the right thing and correcting or blocking bad behaviors. This approach is the only way to successfully train and proof dogs since it relies on the dog’s core instinct. Punishing dogs which involves hitting or hurting them is NEVER an option and should not be practices in any situation.
It is important to take into consideration the overall personality / drive /temperament of the dog when considering training methods. Balanced training based training is not about hitting, yanking or abusing dogs, it is simply a different approach. A good trainer should look at the dog he is training and develop an approach for that particular dog. All of my training starts with treats and toys, where it goes from there is up to the dog.
If I train my dog with treats do I always have to use treats?
I prefer to answer that question with another question. If you go to work on the first day and get paid, do you expect to get paid on your second day? Simply put, we can fade the use of treats in training, but a dog should always be rewarded for doing what he is told. You may not need to give him a treat right away, but praise and treats go hand in hand when we condition a dog. I always say, “You can make a dog do something by making him believe he’s gonna get a reward when he does it or by making him believe that he’s gonna get punished for not doing it.”
If you have a question that you’d like to see featured here, drop me an email via the contact link and I’ll do my best to get it here… I’ll be updating the dog training Q&A page regularly.