Q: At what age can I start training my puppy?
A: As early as 7 weeks of age although 8 weeks is the most common age puppies arrive at their homes. Your puppy starts her training at that very moment whether or not you’re intending to, so why not set things up for success from day 1. Training at this age should focus on socialization with both humans and animals, interacting with the environment safely, an introduction to body handling, and beginning to lay the foundation for basic obedience. Its extremely important to follow your vet’s recommended vaccination schedule before heading out in public and interacting with others. The all important socialization window (the time when new experiences have the greatest impact on a dog’s future life) starts to close at around 12 weeks, so it’s better to start early. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior’s position statement on Puppy Socialization is available HERE
Q: Which option produces better results – Coaching or Tutoring?
A – Both produce good results with practice and consistency. Tutoring is a great option for puppies as well as teens & adults working on basic obedience and manners including leash walking. A certified professional trainer can get results in a fraction that are usually stronger & longer lasting. Coaching sessions are part of the tutoring program as well so that family members understand how to continue seeing success. More complex behavior modification programs will almost always take place in a Coaching Session.
Q: If I select the Tutor Option, will I still have to work with my dog?
A – Yes! Consistency is one of the, if not most important driver of a successful training program. We will review strategies during our weekly coaching sessions so that you are able maintain the progress achieved in the sessions with trainer and puppy. This will include homework exercises for the days between our tutoring sessions.
Q – How long will it take to train my dog?
A – This is often the first question asked and the answer is….it depends. Training that is focused on basic manners and obedience skills will begin to see results within the timelines offered by both the Coaching & Tutoring packages. Modification of behaviors that have an emotional component take longer for a variety of reasons including the need to progress slowly. This helps to reduce the risk of pushing your dog over threshold as well as avoiding setbacks in the desire to move too quickly. We will be entirely open when discussing timelines during our initial consultation and the follow up that occurs.
Q – Do I need to buy expensive training equipment?
A – You will likely not need anything beyond what you already have including a leash, flat or martingale collar, harness, and treats\toys. We are big fans of utilizing food puzzles during the normal course of the day so we’ll make suggestions that we think will work for your dog but you’re not required to purchase them.
Q – Can I train my senior dog?
A – Absolutely and it’s encouraged! One of the best ways to maintain an enriching life for our dogs as they age is through training. Always engage with your veterinarian to ensure you are not adding stress to your dog’s life by asking her to perform tasks that she is not physically capable of at the current stage of life.
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