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Noting that all dogs and all trainers are individuals, I still wonder at what point certain milestones are reached. With your help I would like to do a survey measuring just a few milestones. To make it easy I have picked 6 milestones, and to make it even easier I am just asking you to enter the number of months for each. Also indicate if you are a novice or experienced trainer. Complete one survey for each dog.

 

1. Toilet Trained

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour.

3. 80% successful recall with distractions.

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions

5. Loose leash walking with distractions

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions

7. Acceptable greetings

 

For example, for Juno I would complete it as follows

 

Juno, 2.25 years, novice

1. 6

2. 18

3. 24

4. Not yet, but close

5. Not yet, but close

6. 12

7. Not yet, but close

 

I realize that this survey would be highly unscientific but I am willing to compile the results and post them. If quite a few dogs are reported the results could be quite interesting. If this is a lame idea just ignore the survey.

 

Thanks

Bill

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Going to do this for the 3 I've raised from pups, and own now.



Experienced owner.



Molly - BC, 20 months.


1. Toilet Trained - We never had an accident inside. She started asking to go out and holding it long enough for us to open the door about 4 months old, but I worked from home so I could still take her out FREQUENTLY, and kept eyes on her.


2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. - 6ish months? I think.


3. 80% successful recall with distractions. - I don't know. 8 weeks? Seriously, she's blown one recall, ever.


4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - Same. She's blown ONE recall, ever.


5. Loose leash walking with distractions - Still doesn't have it. SHe'll HEEL with distractions but not just loose leash walk. It's either all or nothing.


6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - 3-4 months? Stay's a big deal with me. I work it early.



Thud - 3 year old GSD X.


1. Toilet Trained - 6-7 months old. He was sick when he was really young - and by sick I mean explosive diarrhea.


2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. - Never. Not now, probably not ever. Dog's trouble.


3. 80% successful recall with distractions. 2, 2.5 give or take.


4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - recently, and I'm reluctant to call it yet - he's done it, but at less than 3 months of doing it I'm waiting for a backslide.


5. Loose leash walking with distractions - About 2.


6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - 4 months.



Kylie - Almost 4 year old Chi-mix.


1. Toilet Trained - 4 months - same stipulations as Molly. No accidents, and that's where she asked to go and would try to hold it. I doubt she could have held it for hours, but I couldn't tell you when that came along.


2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. - 4 months. She was a really reliable little dog.


3. 80% successful recall with distractions. - Like Molly, except I don't recall Kylie EVER blowing a recall.


4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - Same


5. Loose leash walking with distractions - 6 months?


6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - Again, 3-4 months.



PS: CAN YOU SEE THE SLOW MATURING DOG IN MY CREW? LOL.


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Here are my two. Both came to me as 8-9 week old pups.

 

Torque, BC, ~8.5 years

1. Toilet Trained - 5-6 months

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. - 12-14 months (but I tend not to give them freedom very early, he could have been OK at a younger age, but I never tried.)

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - very early, 9-10 weeks

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - same as above, but I have noticed that it has degraded in the past year. I don't think it is hearing loss because if I call and he doesn't come, I can take one (maybe two steps) towards him, and he will decide he had better come. I have to work on making myself more interesting again. Plus, he doesn't have the energy of a young pup.

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - I don't really work on this as I live in a rural setting so we do a lot of free-range walks. The recall is of paramount importance.

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - I don't work on this either.

 

Kiefer, BC, 23 months

1. Toilet Trained - 7-8 months

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. - 14-16 months

3. 80% successful recall with distractions. - 9-10 weeks

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - 9-10 weeks

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - same as Torque above

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - same as Torque above

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I think these results are going to skew heavily toward 'what really matters to people' rather than their skill at training, experience with training, or even dog's ability/strengths.

 

Not entirely - of course, Thud had a lousy recall for a long time - but the rest of this? How much it REALLY MATTERS to the person and is focused on and rules applied with consistency is a huge factor.

 

This list happened to hit a lot of things I care about in daily life. Throw in some other things (sitting to greet people, for example) and my answers would be much more 'erm, never?'

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Lily - 2 years

 

1. Toilet Trained - 6 months was her very last accident inside.

 

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour.

6 months... I never tried leaving her out before that.

 

3. 80% successful recall with distractions.

 

Always had fantastic recall, so 10 weeks when I got her?

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions

See above

 

5. Loose leash walking with distractions

12 weeks and she had loose leash down, as she was too scared to pull back then and I renforced it.

 

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions

12 weeks... She never broke a stay after she realized what it meant.

 

 

Lyka- 2.5 years

 

1. Toilet Trained - 12 weeks, as my DH was home with her almost all day in a small apartment so there wasn't opportunity for accidents

 

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour.

6 months... I never tried leaving her out before that.

 

3. 80% successful recall with distractions.

6 months... Living in an apartment this was really important for me.

 

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions

1 year before she could ignore other dogs and recall.

 

5. Loose leash walking with distractions

On a harness 1 year...on standard collar, well let's just say I'm still working on that.

 

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions

6 months before I completely trusted her stay without me watching her, but I can't recall a broken stay after 3 months...

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Dear Doggers,

 

The indispensable for any dog training is seeing what the dog is actually, really, doggily DOING. This is so obvious that it is often disregarded: "Oh, he downed twice last week so he has a sold 'down'. Today he just didn't feel like doing it" Or "The wind was blowing in his ear" or "he was stressed" or "I didn't give the command properly" or . . .

 

So scorecards like these are enormously helpful. For many years, I bought a new small journal for each dog and recorded our daily training sessions giving the dog a score and myself a score. They forced me to SEE hat the dog was actually doing.

 

Donald McCaig

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I'll do this for the dog I raised from a puppy.

 

Cole- labradoodle- I was an inexperienced dog owner

 

1. Toilet Trained- Really young. He had maybe 1-2 accidents in the house after bringing him home at 8 weeks. He also came home in May and spent much of the first few months outside in the yard with my mom, so not a lot of opportunities to mess up. He was also crate trained.

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour. Like 18 months. We moved when he was around 1 and it took some adjusting to apartment life before I trusted him enough.

3. 80% successful recall with distractions. Around 1 year.

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions I'm not sure he ever got this (passed away at 5). It depended heavily on what the distraction was. Scent of deer was a guaranteed blown recall, and since it was unpredictable when it happened, he was usually on leash.

5. Loose leash walking with distractions- Same as below, we worked on this in Puppy K or other early class, so in the first couple months.

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions Young, I think he did this in one of his early obedience classes, so 6 months or younger.

For Gabe, he came to us knowing most of these, except we taught loose leash walking and it took a few weeks. Maybe 3-4? He still doesn't stay in the house alone unsupervised. Every time we consider it, he starts nosing at the garbage can.

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Thanks everyone for your input. I wasn't expecting the detailed comments as well but I should have expected this from such a concerned group. I probably should have included a number 7 with sitting to meet guests. If any of you want to add this in as a number 7 that would be great but not necessary. My reasoning for the first 6 was that if a dog could do these 6 things reliably, the dog would be easy to live with, have more freedom, and be safer.

Bill

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I feel that most dogs have good easy recalls when young pups then reach an age when they are more likely to want to explore, sniff do their own thing. The more consistent and insistent we are the better they will be at all training. If we practice with them and up the distractions as they mature they will have better recalls. If we walk them on a leash daily and require them not to pull in 'exciting' situations they will get good at that. If we only walk them on a leash every 6 months then not so much.

 

I will say that these 2 14 mo old sisters I have are just about the most consistent about recalls that I have ever had. This was accomplished in the pasture with sheep. Simply walked them through the sheep pasture first on a leash then long line then dragging a line and asked them to leave smells, sheep poo and moving sheep to come to me. Now on and off sheep the recall has remained excellent. Do not think it can get more distracting for a working dog than coming off moving sheep. We started small and gradually increased distracting the long line insured success and the reward was to be able go explore then work sheep once you came.

Being totally consistent is the KEY. Consistent to the point that coming to me means close enough I can pet, touch take a collar if needed, not within 3 ft or half way. They have a different word if I just want them to head the way I am going or do not want them go further. Same with leash walking, no pulling, no going out to the end ect.

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Penny, almost 3 years old, Novice

Brought her home at 8 weeks

 

1. Toilet Trained - 6 months old

 

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - around a year to 18 months, but she still gets crated if we are leaving the house fully and not just working outside

 

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - 6 months old

 

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - around a year

 

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - around a year

 

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - 6 months, although I don't practice this very often anymore for duration

 

7. Acceptable greetings - she was about 90% with not jumping up from around a year (excited puppy likes to give kisses to everybody, OMG) but this improved a lot once I taught a "go to your mat" when the doorbell rings :)

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This is for my current dog who is the only puppy we have raised. Foster pups are not with us long enough.

 

1. Toilet Trained: not completly till he was 9 months, we made some mistakes when he first came it was hard going back.

 

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour: we liked our furniture so were very careful, he had a lot of freedom when we were home, but he slept in a crate till 12 months, and was crated during the day until 18 months.

 

3. 80% successful recall with distractions: can't remember but very quickly, we have always had a very close connection.

 

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions: realistically not till he was about 2 and had grown up, he was very slow maturing.

 

5. Loose leash walking with distractions: never its is not a priority for us and I have not really invested any time in training it.

 

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions: can't remember from young, it was something we worked on from being little.

 

7. Acceptable greetings: from young, never really had to train it as he is not a confident dog, on the other hand if you are one of his "special" friends you are going to get a very enthuastic greeting which is not for a the faint of heart and as they all like him it's not a problem but a compliment.

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Argos BC, now age 6, acquired at 4 months

 

1. Toilet Trained - 4 months. He had one accident in the house the second day he was here, never again

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - 1 year

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - 6 months

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - 1 year

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - 1 year

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - 6 months

7. Acceptable greetings - a huge issue due to fearfulness of people sometimes he behaved offensively, sometimes he hid, outside he did ok inside he'd freak. I would say only in the last year are his greetings acceptable everywhere.

 

Jasper, Papillon now age 4

 

1. Toilet Trained - 5 months, he was good at sneaking off to the garage to pee in inclement weather

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - age 2.5, he was into everything

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - age 1

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - age 3

5. Loose leash walking with distractions age 2.5

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions 6 months-ish

7. Acceptable greetings - hes still a heathen, but hes a cute and small heathen so we never really bothered

 

Swiffer, Papillon now age 12, came into my life mid divorce, me working 2 jobs, living in an apartment with 2 other dogs, partially untrained

 

1. Toilet Trained - 3 months

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - 6 months

3. 80% successful recall with distractions -. 6 months (only thing I really trained)

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions -1 year

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - she still pulls, she weighs 6 lbs so I don't care

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - still can't

7. Acceptable greetings - still wiggles...but again, 6 lbs and super cute

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Thanks again for all the responses. It is clear from the comments that the variables involved are countless. I was thinking primarily about the differences between experienced and novice trainers, but it is pretty obvious that I was being a bit naieve.

 

I will only be tabulating the numbers but these should also be interesting, though very limited in their validity.

 

I will put out a summary in a week or so but I'll keep tabulating beyond that date.

Bill

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Ivy, BC mix (mom BC, dad unknown), 15 months. Brought her home at 10 weeks, and I am a novice trainer.

 

1. Toilet Trained - pretty early on. Maybe 3-4 months?

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - still not even close. She still gets into everything all the time!

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - from the beginning. She always has had a pretty good recall.

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - not yet. I think she hovers around 90% - her biggest distractors are squirrels/cats, or if she is very involved in playing with another dog.

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - still no. This has been one of the hardest things for us. She can heel, and she can finally walk fairly well on a loose leash in a familiar location without major distractions, but still has trouble with distractions or when walking somewhere new.

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions: 6-7 months - stay has always been a strength for her.

7. Sitting to meet guests: still no. She is getting better slowly, but we haven't really worked on this as hard as we could have.

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Here are the results so far. Don't take these results too seriously as the sample size is small and I have taken a few liberties. For example, when an activity hasn't been completed yet I just used the dog's current age. So if a dog was12 months old but wasn't able to stay yet I put it down for 12 months. Normally this type of result wouldn't be counted but with such a limited sample it at least gave a minimum time for completion.



Of the 15 dogs reported on only 3 were from inexperienced trainers so I have only made a few comments.





1. Toilet Trained


3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 6 6 6 6 7 7 8 9


Average 5.3months


Range 3 to 9 months


Not much difference between experienced and inexperienced trainers



2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour.


4 5 6 6 6 6 6 12 12 15 16 18 18 18 18 30


Average 12.6 months


Range 4 to 30 months


Generally this happens a bit earlier with experienced trainers.



3. 80% successful recall with distractions.


1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 6 6 6 6 12 24


Average 5.2 months


Range 1 to 24 months


Not much difference between experienced and inexperienced trainers (one report of 24 disregarded)



4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions


1 2 2 3 3 3 12 12 12 15 20 24 27 30 36 60


Average 16.3 months


Range 1 to 60 months


Experience trainers seem to be quite a bit better here



5. Loose leash walking with distractions


2 3 3 6 6 12 12 15 18 20 27 30 144


Average 21 (11 disregarding the 144) months


Range 2 to 144 months


Experience trainers seem to be quite a bit better here



6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions


3 4 4 4 4 5 6 6 6 6 6 12 144


Average 16 (5.5 disregarding the 144) months


Range 3 to 144 months


Experience trainers seem to be a bit better here



7. Acceptable greetings


4 of 7 report that this goal hasn't been successful yet. Other 3 took 12, 12 and 72 months



As I said these results are highly questionable because of the small sample and the liberties I took with the data, but nevertheless they are interesting, and especially so when the comments are viewed.


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Well, I have this to say, I sure feel a lot better reading some of these results. My first border collie was amazing and very easy to train. This pup I have now, a challenge. I thought we were big failures, until I read the stats above and see there is a lot of variance and some dogs are just more challenging than others (and I am just an owner, not a experienced trainer).

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Aed, 19.5 months, novice
1. Toilet Trained - 7ish months.

2. Freedom in the house alone for at least an hour - 4 or 5 months, but not for much longer than an hour.

3. 80% successful recall with distractions - Always.

4. Close to 100% successful recall with distractions - Depends what "Close to 100%" means. He will recall well except off of someone throwing a ball. He will never recall off the ball, not yet anyways. So the answer is either "not yet' or about 7 months.

5. Loose leash walking with distractions - Only just got this, about 18 months, we'll see if it sticks.

6. Staying for at least one minute with distractions - 4 months maybe.

7. Acceptable greetings - They were good about 80% of the time at about 12 months. They're still not good 100% of the time.

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