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Dale's mum
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26-10-2008, 06:51 PM

Best age to start training?

Not sure if this is in the right section but reading another thread made me wonder when is the best time to start formal training?
Years ago I remember being told not before 6 months. I have a friend who got a pup from a shepherd who told told him not to expect much for the first year because,'their heads are too full of nonsense.'
When Dale came along we went to Puppy School, mainly for socialisation, starting at around 14 weeks and then went straight on to an obedience class. He did well and was in the advanced class by 7 months.There the trainer kept telling me how clever he was and how important it was to keep him busy. Whatever the problem the reply was always he's bored, so I worked my way through a book of dog tricks as well.
Now, coming up to 2 years Dale can get very stressed in classes so we can only go to ones he likes He is an anxious dog anyway but I'm wondering if I did too much too soon.
Chip by comparison has done very little and is much more bombproof, though he is a completely different character.
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Shona
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26-10-2008, 07:03 PM
its very difficult to answer that question.. each dog will have diff requirements to the next.. its intresting that dale now finds classes a bit stressy... I have always found the opposite of dogs who came to me long term. Toby one of the labs that comes training is now three years old... he came from a young pup think he was around 13 weeks when he started, loves training..
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catrinsparkles
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26-10-2008, 07:07 PM
I'm not really sure about the phrase "formal training". I start the day the pup arrives home, but then i do not do any training for competition. I begin training with toilet training and all the things the pup needs to develop polite manners and self control, once we have made good progress with that we start introducing other things.

Having said that i wouldn't say any of it was formal. It's always fun, i don't punish or nag and I chose what i want to train....so i suppose it never feels formal to me.

I thought the not training a dog until it was 6 months, or even a year was because training methods used to be (and unfortunately still are with some people) harsh and not fun.
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Lunakitty321
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26-10-2008, 08:56 PM
why does training have to be not fun? I trained with our pup every minute of the day once we brought her home. She learned not to jump, to stay off of the sofa, to "leave" or "take" an object/food, various tricks that she enjoyed showing off for treats, walking nicely on a lead while heading to the dog park...she had plenty of play, but we always worked on little things during each bit of play. I couldn't think of things fast enough to teach her because she kept learning them so quickly.
We joined a baby puppy class at 10 weeks, and beginner class at nearly 5 months (we lied about her age-she should have been 6 months- because she was getting bored with not being challenged...she was the star of the class and was always used as the demo dog because she was so quick to pick it up) she loves learning new things... She needs to have challenges or she gets destructive. We finally joined agility because she out grew obedience and since agility changes with every course, we haven't had her get bored of it yet.

I want to show my next dog and it will be the same...you can find something teachable in every moment you spend with a dog. As long as they enjoy it, and you can connect to them, I don't see why you shouldn't start as early as you can...there are always babysteps that you can take that will eventually work up to an amazing feat.
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Trouble
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27-10-2008, 08:51 AM
Training starts the moment they come home and is ongoing. We don't do classes at all so I guess no formal training. We keep sessions short and sweet and try to build a bit of training into everything we do. We prefer the informal approach to life anyway. Never had a dog that couldn't learn or became stressed by learning. Mine learn new things all the time, just by having fun.
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IsoChick
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27-10-2008, 10:03 AM
As above really.... training begins when they get home at 8 weeks old!

Both my boys have been to a "formal" training class from being about 12-14 weeks old, just once a week. Starting with a puppy class and going from there really.

Training doesn't stop at the class though. We use our commands in every day life, so I guess they are constantly being trained.
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Shona
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27-10-2008, 11:21 AM
I tend not to be too fussy over perfect obed healwork untill they are 18 months.. I feel perfect healwork puts a fair bit of strain on the body.. so tend to treat it like people would agility...If a young dog can offer perfect healwork.. I keep it to small bursts of five mins.... not doing more than three a day..

I dont compete my young dogs at obed though. so its easyer for me to be less fussy
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Moobli
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27-10-2008, 12:04 PM
A lot depends on the pup itself for me, and also whether it will be a pet or a worker.

Pets - I tend to do bits and pieces of *training* as soon as my pup comes home. I certainly wouldn't call this formal training though, and it tends to be common sense training while we are out and about, or good manners training in the house. I like my pups to spend the first 5-6 months just being pups though, and so any formal work is kept to a minimum.

Workers - again, I do what I consider very basic training as soon as the pup is 8 weeks + (ie recall and lie down being the main two) but a working pup won't be taken to sheep until it is at least 6-8 months old and then training will begin when the pup is quick enough to get around the small flock of training sheep at usually around 12 months. Again, it depends on the maturity of the pup.
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TBBS
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27-10-2008, 05:14 PM
The earlier the better as long as it's all fun.
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Shona
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27-10-2008, 05:20 PM
I think... it all depends on what type of training.. I would say every min I spend with my dogs is a training opertunity... if they were to do something I felt worried about I wouldnt say.. oh it can wait untill the dogs a bit older.

maybe we should break down what we mean by training.. eg

I expect my dogs to come back first call, be fab round other dogs and live stock, sit/stay on command and that sort of stuff. To me thats just every day dog stuff.
training for me would be obed or similar
clicker training
Sorry I havent explained that well
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