How long will it take to train my dog? How many lessons will I need?
I get this question almost every time I meet with a new client. And it’s a valid question – people want to know how much time and money is going to be required for their dogs to reach their goals.
My typical answer is this: It’s up to you and your dog.
Every person is different. Every dog is different. Every situation is different.
And yet, I think I can say with relative certainty that those who consistently put in the time and effort and do their best to maintain good training habits typically reach their goals faster.
But it takes two to tango – and your dog is the other half of the training equation. I had a client, now friend, who called me for help training her two dogs. They were not related, but both were Miniature Pinschers mixes. The same owner, using the same methods and equipment, experienced two different rates of success. Her female dog was a pleaser and very eager to learn. She figured out the “heel” command with a high level of consistency in just one lesson. Her male dog was a stubborn guy and not eager to have to follow rules. He figured out the “heel” command with some consistency after about two weeks of practice.
As the owner, your part in the equation is commitment to practice, consistency, and patience. Some dogs/breeds will learn faster/slower than others, but no dog is going to learn quickly if the owner cannot effectively take the lead in training.
Bottom line? Do your best, do right by your dog, and be patient in the process.