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How Young is Young to Start Obedience Training

First let me pre-empt this article with the fact that there are no shortcuts in dog training. Not only are there no shortcuts but only
can take an immature mind and make it mature. Maturity comes with age and the G-d analogy was made to show that there is no power on Earth able to speed up this process. I would appreciate it if you would remember what I have stated here so it can be a reference to you when reading this article.

I am a halfway decent dog trainer. I have over 25,000 dogs under my belt and I admit to three failures. I will tell you that these three failures were beyond my control. I, and others that were brought in on these three jobs, labored for many many months to try and fix the problems. We were unsuccessful. Since these were my jobs, I admit failure for them. I wanted the public, who are reading this, to know that we did everything humanely possible to fix these three dogs. I am telling you this so you know that I have a rough idea on how to train a dog. Now I will get into the meat of this article.

I was told some extremely disconcerting news today. No not disconcerting, but downright gut-wrenching. The news that I was given was that another "trainer" had taken money and a 12 week old puppy and told the owner of said puppy that within four days the dog would be completely obedience trained. That's right you heard me correctly, that a 12 week old puppy would be completely obedience trained: heel, sit, come, stay, and down, 12 WEEKS OLD.

What is the travesty here? After the "trainer" was through with the puppy the puppy went from: housebroken to urinating in the cage, being friendly and happy to when people approach now the puppy urinates, friendly with family members now he is showing aggression towards them in order to protect himself. What the puppy is showing through all of these actions is a traumatic break in his personality that was inflicted on him by the "trainer" playing G-d. Playing G-d which has now destroyed the dog's personality and most probably will have effect on this dog's life for the rest of his life. Traumatic breaks like mentioned above do not go away. They become deeply seated in the dog's personality-that is what is called imprinting.

Now in case the above information is not being made clear enough let me elaborate even further. Picture yourself being a baby. Picture someone trying to teach you algebra and every time you made a mistake you were physically corrected. Picture yourself not understanding what is going on and becoming fearful and afraid of your environment and the people in it. Is this clear enough?

All of my own personal dogs started training at seven weeks old. Corrections were NEVER GIVEN, THE NO WORD WAS NEVER USED, ALL THAT THE DOG KNEW WAS THAT HE WAS LEARNING A NEW GAME. The sessions lasted seconds. The placement was shown to the puppy for a command and broken off immediately with a release word. My puppy's always wanted more of this game. This game took months and months to do. If I had rushed it my puppy's would have become broken dogs. Placement exercises, reinforced with praise, extremely short sessions, are the keys to success. Buildup time of concentration and stability cannot BE DONE IN FOUR DAYS. On my reference page you will see Hasso was the youngest dog in the world to achieve a Schutzhund I and a Schutzhund II. Not only was he the youngest dog but he was completely blind. He also achieved his Schutzhund III at 15 months old (still completely blind). Hasso like all my other dogs were involved in real-life hard-core security work. A dog that is broken cannot do what my dog's did. So this proves that the words I am speaking are true. Broken dogs don't make it in the real world nor do they recover from what some "trainers" do!! The issue here is that a "trainer" trying to jam work down into a puppy for what? When one trains one is supposed to be compassionate and understanding, and know what they are doing.

I have seen many good trainers in my lifetime and I have not seen one in all the years that I have been training, not one (and that includes ME), that can train a 12 week old puppy to do an obedience program in four days. NOT ONE, nor would they even try because it IS MENTALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE PUPPY AND THE RIGORS OF THE WORK WOULD DAMAGE THE PUPPY! You cannot expect a baby to perform and execute obedience work that is beyond their maturity level, it just can't be done!!

What I am proposing here is my opinion. I know that the readers of Aldo's Acres are not stupid. Use your own minds and make your own opinions. I am sure when you review what I have said you will be in agreement with me.

Written by Neal Seaman

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