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How Long Does It Take to Train a Dog?

Training a dog is an exciting journey that requires time, dedication, and a tailored approach. If you’re wondering how long it takes to train a dog, you’re not alone. The answer varies based on a multitude of factors, ranging from genetics to training methods. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of dog training and explore how various factors can influence the timeline. Whether you’re searching for “e collar training near me” or seeking professional guidance in dog training, this article is your hub for understanding the process.

 

Types of Dog Training 

 

Dog Genetics

The influence of genetics and breed cannot be overstated in dog training. Different dog breeds have distinct characteristics and tendencies that shape their learning capabilities. While some breeds may excel in specific areas such as tasks, agility, and fetch, others might show more prowess in different aspects. Take, for instance, herding breeds—these dogs have an innate ability to perform tasks and activities with remarkable agility. They thrive in high-energy, active training sessions.

Two Important Sides to Dog Training

However, there’s a fascinating duality within dog training: the active side and the non-active side. Training a dog isn’t just about teaching them tasks and commands; it’s also about cultivating a state of calmness. Herding breeds, despite their ease in active tasks, might face challenges in training to be calm. This is where the “place command” comes into play and what I call “holding duration or time,” in command.

What is the Place Command for Dogs?

One of the most significant challenges in training a dog is teaching them to be calm. This is especially true in situations where they need to relax and recharge. The “place command” is a powerful tool that aids in achieving this balance. Imagine getting your dog to calmly rest on a raised dog cot, doing nothing. This exercise serves as a form of doggy meditation, allowing them to find their off-switch and experience deep rest.

This training isn’t just about physical rest; it’s about cultivating a shift in mindset. Dogs, especially high-energy breeds, benefit immensely from learning both the active and inactive sides of training. The “place command” instills the ability to switch from an active state to a state of calmness, resulting in a well-rounded and a balanced mind.

How to Calm an Excited Dog

Arousal is a concept that means a dog that is overly amped up or in a state of high anxiety or excitement.  This state of arousal can be great for obedience or trick training sessions. A dog with a higher drive like a Belgian Malinois will show a high arousal and drive. However, what pet dog owners struggle with the most is getting dogs to calm down.  This is something to consider.  

If a dog is amped up or showing signs of anxiety at home, they most likely will be even more amped up outside and this can work against you.  If you want a dog to listen, it’s better to work on things like “place command,” and holding duration (or time) in a down and practicing finding the off switch.  When this is mixed with stopping unwanted behaviors efficiently at home, you’ve got a winning combination.

 

How to Stop Unwanted Behaviors in Dogs

This is just as important as fancy obedience training in my opinion.  This is because we need our dogs to know what “not to do” and “what to do.”  If I have a dog that is continually barking non-stop at the front door when they hear the slightest sound the result will be stressed out humans.  Or it will be desensitized humans that deal with the dog’s annoying behaviors and when guests come over they get overwhelmed with the way the dogs run the household.  Often when dogs are making their own decisions like this it can also lead to worsening behaviors over time.  

This is because the dogs are in a state of mind of guarding and making their own decisions about the house.  So when you are out in the world, the dog has already been practicing blowing off your commands, not listening and running the show.  I often see when people first come to me to train a dog, that the behavioral issues have been slowly or rapidly getting more and more out of control over time.  

This is why knowing how to properly correct your dog and stop unwanted behaviors is just as important as obedience training and off-leash training if not more so.  Check out Solid K9 Training’s Academy for online courses on how to stop unwanted behaviors.  If you want real information that works, Jeff Gellman can help.  

 

Using Positive and Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training

 

What is Positive Reinforcement in Dog Training?

Positive reinforcement forms the foundation of effective dog training. It operates on the principle of rewarding desired behaviors with treats, praise, or toys. This approach creates a positive association with obeying commands, making your dog eager to learn. By using positive reinforcement, you establish clear communication and build trust between you and your dog.  Often when we utilize positive reinforcement with some type of structured drill like getting your dog on and off the place command, the reward really helps to clarify what we do want from the dog.  

We use our marker word “good” or “yes” to signify, “I like what you did, food or reward is most likely coming.”  It marks a moment in time like a camera taking a photo.  You can also load your marker word or clicker if you are doing clicker training by repeating your word and then paying your dog with a treat one after another.  “Good,” then food reward – rinse, repeat.  The dog quickly learns that “good” is a good word.

Example Scenario: When teaching the “sit” command, say “good” when their butt hits the ground, then reward your dog with a treat or verbal praise immediately. This encourages them to associate sitting with positive outcomes.

What is Negative Reinforcement in Dog Training?

While positive reinforcement encourages good behavior, gentle negative reinforcement adds a layer of precision. It involves introducing mild discomfort or pressure to discourage unwanted behaviors or get them to consider us as a leader. Tools like slip leads or prong collars are used to correct behaviors like pulling on the leash. It’s important to note that negative reinforcement should never involve harm but rather a discomfort that redirects behavior.

Example Scenario: When your dog sits at a café but then springs right back up, instead of having to pay them again with a food reward, you can just use pressure upwards to get them back into the sit position.  If the dog continually breaks the sit, you can repeat this process over and over until they give up and start to relax.  Then voila you can have lunch with your friend while other dogs and people walk by without your dog being disruptive or begging.  It’s a process that takes time but that is the theory of how it works.  For more information check out this article by Long Haul Trekkers on balanced training and why it works.  

 

How Long Does It Take to Train a Dog?

To truly comprehend the timeline of dog training, it’s crucial to consider the amalgamation of factors at play. Your dog’s breed, genetics, your consistency, and the training methods you employ all contribute to the training duration. Remember, every dog is unique, and their learning curve may vary. Patience, dedication, and a balanced approach ensure the best results in shaping your dog’s behavior.  

If you are trying to shape your dog into a great pet dog, then consistency is key.  In addition, it’s also really important to remember that you are trying to develop a lifestyle with your dog.  You can find little moments throughout the day to incorporate dog training.  For example, when I take my dogs somewhere in the car, I make them wait a second before they can come out.  This is just another moment to ask for some politeness from them.  These little moments stack up.  When you train a dog it’s not just about fancy tricks – it’s also about creating a dog that listens to you and is respectful of your space and rules.  Check out my other blog called, Is it Ever too Late to Train a Dog?

Exploring Dog Training in Portland, Oregon

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon offers a haven for dog owners seeking comprehensive training resources. From basic obedience to advanced agility, the city boasts an array of training centers, classes, and professionals to suit your needs. If you’re in the hunt for “e collar training near me” or “dog training Portland Oregon,” you’re in a hotspot where your dog’s training journey can flourish.  In addition, Portland is known as a city with many dogs and dog owners.  There is so much natural beauty up here including hikes for you to enjoy with your pup!  Having an off-leash trained dog in Portland is a serious thing to consider if you are an active person that likes to take your dog out on adventures.

Train a Dog of Any Age

The notion that dog training is limited by age is unfounded. Dogs, regardless of age, possess an incredible capacity to learn and adapt. Puppies and young dogs may grasp new commands faster, while older dogs come with their own set of experiences. With patience and consistent training, even senior dogs can learn new behaviors and commands, fostering mental stimulation and a strong bond.  

The Biggest Challenge for Training an Older Dog

The most difficult challenge for training an older dog will only be challenging the association and relationship you have with the dog.  But remember that dogs live in the present moment, you can always reinvent yourself or create new rules for your dog to follow.  Some dogs will be more stubborn than others as far as listening to any new rules you might have and this may be a good point to consult a professional dog trainer.  However, I have seen many people have breakthroughs teaching their old dogs new tricks so to speak.

If you have a new puppy, I recommend you start training as early as possible.  I have a blog titled What Happens If a 2 Month Old Puppy Bites?  It gets into the specifics of puppy development and puppy training.  Teaching your puppy basic obedience like “sit, down, come” is all extremely important in the beginning, but teaching them rules and boundaries are equally as important.  Have your puppy with you at all times to ensure they are not getting into trouble and let them know what behaviors are ok and which are not.  You can also use tons of redirection with young dogs and puppies as well.

How long does it take to train a dog?

It’s Never Too Late To Train a Dog

In the world of dog training, there exists no definitive timeline that applies universally. The duration it takes to train a dog hinges on factors that make each dog an individual. Positive reinforcement builds trust and mutual understanding. Gentle negative reinforcement, offers precision in behavior modification. This sets your dog on a path of balanced learning and growth.

As you journey through the training process, remember that Portland, Oregon provides a diverse landscape of training opportunities. Search for basic commands, advanced skills, or “e collar training near me,” for the best results.

Embrace the joys and challenges of training, and savor the unique bond that blossoms between you and your dog. With patience, consistency, and a well-rounded training approach, you’re shaping behaviors. You’re also fostering a lifelong connection built on trust, respect, communication, and shared experiences.  The lessons I learn from my dogs always help me in my life to be more present, kind and optimistic.  

I see training as a way I get to take my dogs more places with me. This ensures they will come back when called or not jump on new people.  I want my dogs to have a fuller life with me. The trade off is that they have to be good trustworthy dogs.  This is where training my dogs has helped to ensure that I get to have the lifestyle I want.

Here are a few of the best books on dog training.  Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs by Suzanne Clothier. 

The Evolution of Social Canine Behavior by Roger Abrantes. 

Another resource I recommend you pick up is my e-book.  Balanced Dog Training Basics: What the Critics Don’t Tell You.  In this book I get into the fundamentals of learning theory. In addition to how to train a dog through operant conditioning and balanced dog training techniques. 

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