How long does it take to train a dog?

How long does it take to train a dog: Setting realistic goals and ‘fixing’ problems

Our dogs are a huge part of our lives, so when they display behaviours which cause us problems or complicate our lives, naturally we want to ‘fix’ them as quickly as possible, ideally with as little effort as possible too.

Residential dog training is often branded as a ‘quick fix’, there’s an assumption that that’s what people pay for and that’s the service being sold. Although residential training can help to get on top of challenging training struggles and get your dog's training moving in a positive direction, owners will still need to be prepared to put in the time and work after too.

Even outside of residential training, all dog trainers work with people who are struggling with their dog’s behaviour and looking for solutions. Most people are somewhat realistic and are genuinely interested in working with their dogs to overcome any issues. However, even the most well-intentioned owner is likely to be thinking ‘how long will this take to fix’.

All dog trainers will be able to relate to that. Most of us will have been through challenges with our own dogs and had to come to some acceptance that there is no quick fix and we may have to make compromises for the sake of our dogs.

We’ve all had to give up that dream of the ‘perfect dog’, and learn to enjoy our dogs for who they are.

The world we live in feeds the quick fix mentality. We want things fast, we want problems fixed instantly and any inconvenience in our lives should be sorted immediately.

Unfortunately, in dog training, there are no quick fixes. Residential training or not, it’s always the same. Your dogs training progress will depend on many factors, including your level of effort, your consistency, and your willingness to adapt to your dog and make compromises to benefit your dog. Not only that, it will depend on your individual dog too and what progress they are capable of.

In order to see progress in your dog’s behaviour, you have to set realistic goals and be willing to accept that realistic may not be the same as your ultimate dream.

Anyone who is selling a ‘quick fix’ solution is most likely selling you lies! Or if not lies, then some seriously harsh training methods which you would probably rather not expose your dog to.

As a dog trainer you meet many people who will say something like ‘I just want my dog to come when I call’, ‘I just want him to like other dogs’ or ‘I just want to be able to have visitors round without him barking’.

The problem with this is that it makes it too simple, ‘I JUST want my dog to do this…’ doesn’t take into account all the aspects involved. A problem behaviour is rarely a standalone thing.

A dog who barks at other dogs will need a huge amount of foundation training and management before you even start working on the actual barking behaviour. Likewise, a dog who pulls on the lead may need a lot of work in other areas before add