Every dog is different, and every human-dog combination has a special and unique relationship. So how long does it take to train a dog? The answer depends on a few factors, but we’ve put together all the information you need to answer your burning questions about dog training.
How long it takes to train a dog depends on their age, past experience with training, their personality, and the amount of time you as their owner are able to spend training. For most general commands and skills, you can expect to teach and practice with your dog for around one to three months depending on their age.
It’s important to remember that each dog is different and comes with their own set of experiences (or lack of) when it comes to training. Dogs who have had little to no training previously can sometimes be easier to teach since they’re not unlearning old behaviors.
On the other hand, dogs who have gone without training for too long can be much more challenging to teach. The old adage is true, however, and you can absolutely teach an old dog new tricks. Training your dog at any age takes patience, persistence, and commitment to helping your dog be the best they can be.
The Importance of Dog Training
There are so many reasons why it’s important for your dog to be well-trained, the first of which is so that they can enjoy as much of life as possible alongside you! Even just basic dog training creates expectations around behavior that your dog will come to expect and comply with, making outings and interactions with friends and strangers alike a much more pleasant experience.
Properly training your dog will also give you a sense of peace, knowing you can trust them in public places and unfamiliar situations, and know that they’ll listen and follow your commands when push comes to shove. Being able to trust your dog’s training and the relationship you’ve built around it will also ensure their safety. Being able to reliably call your dog back or be sure they’ll follow your command in an emergency or unsafe situation is plenty of reason by itself to have your dog well-trained.
How to Train Your Dog
There are different methods for training your dog, and choosing the best option first depends on how much training experience your dog has already had. If you’re training a puppy for the first time you’re going to want to start from the very beginning. If your dog is already able to follow basic dog commands and has good recall, you may be able to start training beyond the basics sooner than you think for things like leash training or psychiatric service dog training. Knowing your dog and being honest with yourself about their training level (and training needs) is the first step in choosing the right dog training program.
General Obedience Training
General obedience training refers to training your dog to follow common commands like sit, stay, come, leave it, and lay down. Training your dog to reliably follow these commands is essential for building trust. It’s also important to be sure your dog is safely and reliably trained in order to be able to bring them in public places with you, whether you’re enjoying a day at the dog park or simply strolling down the street. Mastering these basic obedience commands is excellent groundwork for building further on your dog’s training.
Once your dog has mastered the most basic obedience commands you can start training them for more complex ones, and even service dog tasks. Training your dog to do new tricks and tasks is a great way to keep them stimulated both mentally and physically, and provides incredible opportunities to bond with one another.
House training a dog of any age takes patience and consistency. Our best advice for successfully house training a puppy is to set a routine. When you’re ready to start house training make sure you utilize a crate as a safe space (dogs are much less likely to have accidents in places they see as “theirs”), monitor your puppy’s food and water consumption, and use positive reinforcement to encourage the new behavior you’re trying to teach — a.k.a. getting your dog to go outside instead of in.
We also recommend avoiding pee pads if possible when house training. While they might seem like a good solution and surely you’d much prefer your dog pee there than the carpet, pee pads can be confusing because they tell your dog there are times when it is ok to go to the bathroom inside. You can make it easy for them and for you by training them to go to the bathroom outside only.
Service Dog Training
Training your own service dog is much more involved than typical dog training. Service dogs undergo specific, individual training to be able to perform tasks or do work that supports a person with a disability in their daily life. Once properly trained, service dogs are actually no longer considered pets but instead medical tools necessary for managing a disability.
Dog Training Options
Generally, when it comes to dog training there are two main options: online dog training and in-person dog training. Both have pros and cons, and the type of training that works best for you and your dog may be either one. To figure out which will be the most beneficial for you and your pup, consider factors like your dog’s temperament, your schedule, and your budget.
Online Dog Training
Online dog training is the most flexible option when it comes to training your dog yourself, as well as the most affordable. Online dog training courses like those offered by Pettable allow you to move through the lessons at your own pace and are generally a fraction of the cost of in-person training sessions and even group training classes.
In-Person Dog Training
In-person dog training is generally more expensive than online dog training but comes with its own set of benefits. Training your dog in person, whether one-on-one with a trainer or in group dog training classes allows you to have a hands-on experience with training, ask questions, and get direct guidance from dog trainers. It also allows you and your dog to learn in a more social environment but requires working on the schedule of the trainer or the group.