• kier scott

When To Start A Dog

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War.

I literally have no reason to put that in except to look intelligent. I hope it worked.

A question I get all the time is “when should I start my dog?” The answer is concrete, the answer is, it depends. Now I’ve heard people say to wait until they’re a year old lots and that is a perfectly good answer and is probably the best rule of thumb. Now you can start earlier but it’s always a gamble the earlier you start. Take 4 months as an example, the likely hood of that dog understanding what you’re telling them is similar to my wife letting me relax, mostly impossible. Now let’s say that the 4 month old is turned on and is really looking totally incredible but some sour old sheep runs his ass over, he’s probably going to get worried and may even turn off completely with a 50/50 chance of pulling out of it. That risk decreases with age and their ability to understand goes up during that same time frame. There are dogs that can handle being started earlier and in fact even thrive from it. Now is there such thing as starting too late? Not really. Keep in mind that dogs are prime from around 4-8 and it can take upwards of two years to really train a dog so starting at 6 might be a little too late to hit their prime. But dogs can learn surprisingly quick and be your right hand in no time. There is also the problem of mental conditioning. Most dog owners teach their dogs manners and to always stay in control and not chase things. This can be a hard barrier to work through when starting older dogs. There is also a last point that is equally important. Sometimes a dog is simply not that good no matter when you start. I plan on dedicating more time to good vs bad and having the humility to see the difference but that’s a whole other rant for another day. Which brings me back to the the answer everyone is looking for, when to start. As a rough rule of thumb, 9-12 months is kind of a fair answer. I know that I could have saved everyone a lot of time by saying that at the beginning but it felt like a better finale. Good bye forever.

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