You don’t need 10,000 hours – what dog owners should know

What dog owners should know

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert, as Malcolm Gladwell discusses in his entrancing book Outliers. (Well, 10,000 hours to become a chess grandmaster in fact.) Isn’t that, like, a lifetime??? It’s a large chunk of your dog’s lifetime anyway. Here’s the secret <shhhh!>

You don’t need to be an expert. Sure, your dog trainer needs to be an expert. You definitely want 10,000 hours of GOOD experience there. But you don’t need to be an expert. You just need to be good enough.

Josh Kaufman says it takes 20 hours to learn a new skill. To learn enough to do it well. 20 hours. That’s one hour of puppy class a week for 6 weeks, plus roughly 2 hours of home training each week in between. 120 minutes a week. 20 minutes a day, 6 days a week. You can manage that right? (If not, you probably should just get a fish.)

The reality is, you’ll be training your dog for the next 10-15 years anyway. Because, whether you like it or not, every single time anything happens, your dog learns something. Whether you think you’re training or not. Whether or not you’re interacting with the dog at that point, learning takes place.

Plenty of time to become an expert. But for now, settle for doing it well. It’s enough.

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