When it comes to dog training, most dog people have asked this question, “how long does it take to train my dog?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer.
Not One Answer, But Many Variables
There are a variety of reasons to consider when trying to answer how long it takes to train a dog. Some depends upon the dog (his breed and even his age). It also depends on what you’re trying to teach the dog. Also, the trainer and their approach cannot be discounted when it comes to overall dog training and the amount of time it takes.
Dog Training: The Dog
Just like with people, some dogs are smarter than others. Some K9 breeds are known to be smarter than others. According to the AKC, some of the smartest K9 breeds include:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Australian Kelpie
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Shetland Sheepdog
But do not count your dog out if they are another breed! Breeds are only a guideline when it comes to learning, not the outcome.
Canine intelligence comes in many forms and ways. Working dogs often learn faster because of their instincts and abilities. But other breeds may learn just as fast because of their innate desire to please their people.
What’s important is to understand how your dog learns! Understand and involve his specific natural traits regardless of how fast he learns. The goal is for your dog to learn and remember his training, not how fast he can get there.
Dog Training: The What and Whom
Your dog’s rate of learning is also affected by what he’s trying to learn. Once a dog has the basics down, it may become easier for him to grasp new, complicated concepts and skills with a solid foundation of basic skills. At this point, he may also have a better understanding of what you are asking him to do as well as your style of communication (tone, verbal cues, gestures, etc.).
Also keep in mind, attempting to rehabilitate a behavioral issue can take much longer to re-teach because it’s a habitual behavior that may be rooted in fear or anxiety making it more difficult to change.
Just like in our schools, there are good teachers and there are better teachers. Be the kind of teacher your dog needs and willingly responds to by:
- Staying patient and calm.
- Never losing your temper.
- Never punishing your dog.
- Praising often.
- Keeping training sessions short and FUN!
- Staying focused on simple tasks; then slowly building to more complex behaviors.
Dog Training: How to Maximize the Training
Again, there’s no simple answer to how fast your dog can be trained.
Want to train your dog faster? Below are 5 suggestions to help your dog learn new things faster.
- Get everyone on the same page when it comes to training! Involve the whole family and even others who may care for your dog. Using the same cues, body language and verbal commands will all help support your dog in learning faster without becoming confused and frustrated.
- Consistency plus patience will produce the best, lasting results!
- Train in quiet, familiar environments free from distractions (like inside your home). As your dog learns, you can up the ante by adding distractions like outside in your yard. But in the beginning, make it easy for him to focus and listen.
- If you’re having trouble teaching your dog something new, ask for help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.
- Always set your dog up for success and if you see they are losing interest or getting tired, stop for the day! Remember, it’s not a race!
Finally, remember, dog training never really ends! So, make sure the journey is fun, calm and enjoyable along the way, no matter how long it takes.
All images Courtesy of East Valley K9 Services.
Call 480-382-0144 for more information.
Serving Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe and East Valley areas of Arizona.