A new puppy in the house can be overwhelming. There are so many options for training. New puppy owners are often confused on what to do and where to go. Here are some things to consider when seeking training.
Developmental Deadlines For 3 Key Puppy Skills:
There are three skills that have developmental deadlines at 5 months of age. They are safe socialization, potty training, and safe mouth training. Fluency in these skills at 5 month is critical. Fortunately the developmental window does not slam shut at 5 months and one day. Every day after 5 months of age, it becomes more likely that your puppy will never be fluent in the skill. I suggest one in-home lesson with a credentialed dog trainer (like me) close to the arrival date of your new puppy. At this time, I am charging $115 for a lesson. I can give you protocols and help you manage your environment for success. My clients are able to avoid rookie mistakes that lead to behavior issues as an adult. These skills should be the priority because they are deadline sensitive. In home training is the most efficient and effective way to get immediate and long term success. There are board and train options, but they are very expensive and your puppy will still need lots of environmental management and training when you get your puppy back. I agree that a two-week program will set an owner up with good habits, but puppies need months of consistency to succeed. Please see my blog on “5 Reasons Why Board and Train May Not Be The Best Option“. I know of less than five trainers in Broward and Dade Counties that I would trust with my own puppy for board and train. If you are thinking about sending your dog to board and train for more than two weeks, you are missing out on the best part of raising a puppy and bonding.
It is so important to have clear communication with your dog. Spending the day telling your dog “No NO No” is ineffective. Having a set of behaviors like sit, sit-stay, down, down-stay, coming when called, loose leash walking, greetings, drop it, leave it, makes it easy for your dog to succeed because they are receiving specific cues that have been made very valuable. These skills can be achieved in private sessions or group sessions. We offer both group and private training at Oh Behave. Most of our clients need 3-4 private sessions for the basics. Our group class is 6 consecutive Saturdays offered in spring, winter, and fall. Click here for our group class information. Do not take your dog to any training that is not force free, fear free, and pain free. Your relationship of trust with your dog will be compromised with aversive and punishment training. If a dog trainer uses shock, prong, choke collars or any aversives.. RUN AWAY! And yes.. there are board and trains that do basics… look out for the aversives that go on behind closed doors and the amount to time the dog spends in confinement or kenneled with other barking dogs.
Intermediate and Advanced Training:
Through private lessons, I help clients achieve Canine Good Citizen title and advanced manners and skills so you and your dog can enjoy going to many complex environments and have the skills to be good ambassadors and enjoy the experience. There are so many dog friendly places in south Florida. From pop up open markets, farmers markets, car shows, to dog friendly parks and restaurants, imagine you and your dog enjoying new adventures together.
Sports and Volunteer Work:
I love when clients come to me with goals of agility, obedience titles, rally, therapy, nosework and more! Your dog will likely need to have a good background of basics or a Canine Good Citizen title as a pre-requisite. I help with any pre-requisites. After that I can refer you to one of my awesome colleagues that can help you get that title or set you up for volunteer work. Positive and credentialed dog trainers all get continuing education together and all help each other. We love to refer to one another and see our clients succeed with our dog trainer friends!
Service Dog Training:
I do not offer service dog training due to the liability involved. There is so much fraud and many misconceptions in this area of training. Please read my blog “4 Things You Need To Know About Service Dogs and ESAs” for more information. Any reputable Service Dog Trainer will require that the dog pass a public access test prior to teaching the service task. I can prepare you for the public access test.
The beauty of getting early training, is that your dog is less likely to have behavior issues as an adult. However, sometimes dogs are genetically predisposed to behaviors like resource guarding, reactivity, aggression, and anxiety. I am able to do behavior consulting and behavior modification (force free, fear free, pain free of course). If your dog has been practicing this behavior and getting a payoff for the behavior, you will likely need to manage the behavior for the life of the dog. I can help with management and making incompatible behaviors more valuable. If the behavior is so intense that I am unable to make meaningful progress, I may refer the client to a veterinary behaviorist. There are only three that I know of in Florida and they usually have a waiting list. They will suggest the behavior modification that I would have implemented but they are able to add pharmaceutical intervention if appropriate. Pharmaceuticals are not the total answer. You will still have to do the behavior modification. Meds just will make it more likely that the behavior modification will be successful. NEVER allow a veterinarian to prescribe behavior medications to your dog unless they are a board certified veterinary behaviorist or unless they discussed the details with a board certified veterinary behaviorist. In Broward County, the closest veterinary behavior practice is Florida Veterinary Behavior Service.
The importance of early training is so key in puppy success. Those foundation months go so fast. I get that people want to “wing it” or try it on their own. Sometimes you get that puppy that just is a born follower and looks at you for information (LUCKY YOU). Many times that is not the case, and the longer you wait, the harder it is to make the “good” behaviors more valuable than the “bad” behaviors.
Looking for a top notch dog trainer/behavior expert in Greater Fort Lauderdale? Please call Oh Behave Dog Training at 954-587-2711 now for a free phone consultation.