The "Wait and See" Approach to Dog Training
It usually takes about six months for a new dog or puppy owner to realize that perhaps they do need a little help from a trainer after all. That's about the amount of time that it takes for the new puppy's mischief to outweigh its cuteness or for a new adult dog to really start showing his/her true personality (which may or may not be what was expected). On average, it probably takes another couple of months before an owner actually bites the bullet and hires a trainer to help (or, in much more depressing cases, decides to give up the dog/puppy and its difficulties).
So, what's the harm as long as the owner does finally get the help they need?
Puppy Owners: Waiting makes the job so much harder for the trainer, puppy, and owner. Although dogs really can learn at any age, the learning is much faster when they're a young puppy. Starting professional training when a puppy is young is a MUST. Not only can we help get your pup started on basic behaviors, but we can guide you on proper socializing in those CRITICAL first few months. When I say critical, I promise you, that I mean CRITICAL. Trainers shed a single tear on the inside every time we get asked to help train a "puppy" that is five months old. Do you know how much ground we lost by missing out on months 2-4? (The answer is: A LOT.)
Adult dog adopters: You don't get a free pass.
The very best time to get started on training with, bonding with, and establishing the rules with a new dog is day one. Not day 47, when your super perfect shelter dog remembers how much fun eating couches was back when he was in home # 7. It is so much easier to transition a shelter or rescue dog into household rules if you start from day one. The dog walks into your home not knowing what to expect. Show him from the start. Please allow me or another trainer to help you set the foundation for your new pal to understand that THIS home is forever. THIS home is structure. THIS home is safe.
For those of you who have waited... It's ok. we don't judge and we totally understand how it goes! Just do your trainer a huge favor and remember that the speed and extent of our progress depends heavily on your commitment to consistency. We can make great strides, no matter how old your dog is, how long you waited for training, or how many homes he's had before. But we do need your dedication. That's the biggest factor of all!