How Long To Train Your Dog
Training your dog can be analogized to athlete training. The duration of a particular training session is as important as the content of the training itself. Also the amount of time spent on a certain exercise within the training session is equally as important. To continually allot yourself (for example), 30 minutes to train at each session, is detrimental to training. Once again, keeping your dogs attention will produce results, and repetition of the same amount of time on a session will eventually detract from that attention.
Vary the session length. As an example, (remembering that each dog is different, and you will learn yourself what is best, over time) to those just starting out, 15 minutes one day, off the next, 25 minutes the following day, 15 minutes the next, off the following day, 30 minutes the next. This is a basic additional progression routine. It gives staggered days off, and an incremental two steps forward, one step back formula. It is important to note, that for novice beginners, there reachesa point where too much time can be spent training on a practice session. Since there is only so much contained within the scope of the exercises for novice obedience, an overabundance of repetition is inevitable. There is really no reason to extend a novice training session past 30 minutes, if you have all your ducks in order, and have pre-planned the session.
Always plan the session prior to actual implementation. This will give you not only optimal exercise training time, but will also instill confidence in your dog. It will also get you through the session in the least amount of time. This may sound like rushing the training, but in reality, it is expedience, and another way to keep your dog from becoming bored. After all, how many times would you come when called, or left and right turn, before it became more of a mundane chore, rather than an exercise?
Exercise duration is also to be taken into consideration. Except for certain things like problems to work out, or the long sits and downs, training time on any single exercise should be limited to two or three run throughs each. Varying the length of time on exercises is helpful as well. Your dog should never get used to a set number of repetitions, or a certain amount of time for any given exercise. Long sits and downs should be varied greatly. In novice training, anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes for the sit and 3 to 15 minutes for the down. Never fall into a set heeling pattern. Break it up in every kind of different configuration you can develop.
Concentrate of taking different numbers of steps from one start / stop to another. Mix up the lefts, rights, and about turns often. Practice stutter starts and stops. (very short, quick heeling starts and stops, in varying times, and distances) Practice the stand, sits and down exercises one day, and heeling, recall on the next day of training. Alternate combinations of exercises, and the order in which you perform them. As you progress, once or twice a week go through all the exercises, just as you would in a ring situation, in the proper sequence.