January 1, 2024

Be Proactive: Get A Dog Trainer Before A Pup

Author: Jennifer Houghton
Featured image for “Be Proactive: Get A Dog Trainer Before A Pup”

When do you think is the right time to train a dog? When they show signs of disobedience? Once they reach six months of age? Immediately after adoption?

We’ve all heard various rules of thumb for when to begin training your new best friend. But according to Angela DePalma, Floofins & Co. Lead Dog Training Instructor, the best time is earlier than that. She and I discussed something that many people need shortly after the holidays or early in the New Year: training.

While people have various viewpoints on when to begin training, Angela thinks getting a trainer before you pick a pup is a good idea. With an experienced trainer, you can meet with someone who will observe your home environment, activity requirements, and specialize in finding a pet that is a great fit for you and your family, specifically.

“A trainer can help you pick a great dog,” she explained. “If you’re getting a pet this year, a trainer can help you find the right fit.”

I’ve seen the photos of the new puppies my friends got over the holidays. So, I asked Angela how soon people should start working with their puppy. Immediately. The first year is pivotal for a dog’s development.

“Getting a good schedule in place is huge,” she explained. “Dogs like consistency, rigid structures. Talk to a trainer before you bring a puppy home or as soon as you can.”

You want to get ahead of the learning curve. Even long-time pets can experience problems if your schedule changes and you are spending more time in the office. Angela recommends that you have your new schedule in place before you go back.

“That way nothing seems out of whack for the dog when you begin the new routine,” she explained.

So, what should you expect when working with a trainer? Set some goals for your family: make a list. Behavior is going to take the most time, set expectations accordingly. There is no one size fits all for training. Each pet picks up on things at different speeds and with varying levels of interest or motivation. The benefit of individual training plans is that it meets your needs and spends no extra time on things you don’t want to concentrate on. And remember that trainers will spot things you might miss, which means you can save time and effort undoing bad habits.

Everyone wants to put their best paw forward and that means doing the work that allows you to have a pet that you can take out in public.

“The AKC Good Citizen program is a good place to start for good manners,” she said. “If you want to take your pet someplace, take the first course.”

Remember that you are always training your pet. All of your day-to-day activities (letting them get away with things, making them wait before going out the door) are teaching them what is acceptable and what is not.

Angela P.

Angela’s favorite skill is the “wait” cue. Wait for food, wait at the door. “It’s like a pause button for your dog” she said. “It is just good manners.”

To find out more about training with Floofins & Co. and Angela, click here.

Angela DePalma’s credentials include: CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, AKC CGC Evaluator, Professional Level Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and certification in Dog Emotion and Cognition from Duke University.

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