To ensure your dog is fully prepared for any form of training be it general obedience or behaviour training, there are a couple things to consider, is my dog ready to learn and will my dog retain what it's taught?
Just like humans, if a dogs learning ability is inhibited, it will take longer for your dog to be trained. I believe I have the answer, a three step process to optimise canine learning and retention. The three steps are:
2. Gut health
3. DNA (optional)
Diet: Again just like humans, if a dogs doesn’t get the nutrients it requires and has a poor diet, this leads to poor gut health. For dogs this is more important than humans, because the dogs gut is known as its second brain and both are closely linked. – read more about this at my The Truth about dog food page.
Gut Health: Causes a harmful bacteria (only harmful outside of the gut) to penetrate through the gut lining and into the blood stream where it destroys hormones that keep the dogs mood and behaviour in a happy place, reduces willingness, attitude, learning ability etc – read more about this at my Gut Health page.
DNA: (Optional) If you have a mix breed, it is useful to do a DNA test to get to know your dog better, understand what your dogs is wired to do and adapt your relationship and manage expectations around this.
For example, good friends of mine own Tilly a Working Cocker Spaniel, who natural instinct is to nose down and run off into the woods, at first everyone panicked about where Tilly was and how far she had gone. Tilly wasn’t doing anything wrong and it would be fruitless to try and train this out of her. My friends accepted this genetic trait and adjusted a) their expectations and b) training techniques by teaching Tilly recall, Tilly soon learnt to return to the blow of a whistle no matter how long she has been nose down hunting!
So if you have a mixed breed you may have several traits to understand, you may need to adjust your training technique and expectations to suit both you and your dog!
When you have addressed diet, ensured optimal gut health, and optionally got to know your dog better, you’re be best placed to start your training, likewise I know your professional trainer will welcome these insights!
PS: - Have you heard the saying "you cant teach an old dog new tricks?" -This is nonsense, any breed at any age is capable of learning new behaviour!