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Age for serious obedience training?

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Merlin is 10 months old and his training for the most part is going very well. He has good food and toy drive. We have trained him with intent to keep him calm and as a pet not a working dog. Simple commands and lengthy requests are understood and followed through on.


His morning walk is still about discovery with intermittent brief training sessions along the way. Afternoon and evening training sessions are also brief between playtime. Recently he has learned to swim and loves it.


He can be difficult on recall when he really gets involved in activities; like swimming. Within our fenced property he has earned off leash privileges by responding very well. As we live in an urban environment he is leashed everywhere else, except swimming.


My query is when do we increase the obedience intensity without dampening his enthusiasm?




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I personally think your dog will tell you when they have had enough. It's when they start to get bored and get tired of it. Short training sessions are always for the best and you want to end it on a good note. You never want it to end when they are mentally exhausted and start to stray away from the training.

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At ten months, you can certainly start more formal obedience training, but do it incrementally, in short sessions. Get the basics right, and the rest can be added on.


Things like stays can be practised easily in the home. Get him in the right position, tell him to stay and then step away and do an ordinary activity like brushing hair, making a coffee, changing clothes, opening a door. Make obedience training part of his ordinary life.


I personally like drops as a safety tool. If they are going somewhere they should not, like towards a road, a strong drop at a distance can be a lifesaver.


But why should training have to dampen his enthusiasm? Make training a positive experience and it will become something he enjoys doing, not a chore.

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I agree - make it fun and it should not become a chore. My Border Collie pushes me for work and has a hell of a time waiting her turn.

When I'm trying to shape behaviours with my Aussie (who learns MUCH slower than her) she tries to intervene to do it for him. :P

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