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Do I have to train my dog forever?

This is a really common question we get asked over and over, how long will it take? When will I be finished?

Ongoing training for the lifetime of your dog is essential.  Training provides all-important mental stimulation and enrichment, builds confidence, improves relationship between dog and owner, and gives our dogs a sense of purpose. Meeting these needs for our pet dogs is essential in ensuring our dogs have a happy, fulfilled life. What does change over time is how much and what type of training you are doing. 

Puppies require far more intensive training (for the most part) than a mature well trained adult dog. This is also specific foundation training that you want the puppy to use for the rest of their lives, as the dog matures training will become more generalised and once the foundation skills are taught we then move onto things like tricks or sports.

However, we shouldn’t look as training as yet another “thing” we have to fit into our lives.  Just one more time consuming task we need to schedule or something we dread having to complete because we are already so busy.  Our dogs learn from every experience they have, so turning everyday activities we already do with our dog into training opportunities is far easier than we may have first thought.

 Use your daily walk as an opportunity to teach lead manners.  Practice recalls next time you go to the park.  Turn playtime into training time by asking your dog to work before you throw the ball or start the tug game.  Reinforce your dog for laying down calmly whilst you have coffee at a café.   Dinner time for your dog is perfect for working on impulse control.  Asking your dog to stay on their bed or mat whilst the family eats dinner or watches a movie together  – that’s right, this is also training!

 By working in training opportunities to our everyday life with our dog, we are off to a great start in meeting their training needs.  It is important we understand however that many dogs will have a higher need for mental activity than we can meet just through living well together.  Structured training sessions working on learning new skills and maintaining known skills are a fun way for us to bond with our dog and meet their training needs.  Short, regular sessions are perfect for dog training.  Finding 5 minutes a few times a day is ideal and achievable!!

 So get to it, what are you going to train today??