The Big Wide World: And Why It's Important to Show Dogs What Life is All About
A few weeks ago, I started training a new dog, he is 7. When people ask me if their dog is too old to be trained, I say "Never say never".
The dog I started the beginning of April lives with a wonderful family who love him very much, this much is obvious to me. While their pup benefits from the comforts of home (food, water, shelter, toys, love) his family felt he deserved more. They want to take him places, show him new things, have him enjoy life outside of their home and their back yard.
This is where I come in. While this family desires to have a dog they can explore the world with, he pulls on the leash, gets overly excited when he sees animals he would like to chase, and does not have the general manners required for them to experience activities with him without the stress of unwanted behaviors. A loving, good-nature dog, he is also a big boy and not very easy to handle; this makes it challenging to take him anywhere outside of the family's home.
Day one of working with this dog I noticed that he was excited and curious, but also apprehensive and nervous. Exposing him to a variety of different environments and forming a bond with him was my goal for the day and things turned out pretty well. He and I worked on his pulling and I introduced him to "The World".
We have a long way to go and "The World" is a very big place. There are all sorts of new sights, sounds, and smells that can be overwhelming to a dog who has not seen much outside of his own house and backyard. I will say, with confidence, that after 5 days with me Atreyu was a different dog and his family is now be able to take him on all kinds of adventures.
What I want to communicate to other dog owners contemplating hiring a trainer to help with their dog, I can say this. A dog with basic on leash obedience is far more enjoyable than a dog without manners. Barking, lunging, leash pulling, jumping, and lack of impulse control make living with a dog far less enjoyable. I can fix most of these issues within a 5 day program, and for a reasonable price. While it is beneficial to start a dog early, it doesn't mean it's too late for your dog, progress is always possible