How long does it take to train a Dog
Doing too much in one session will overtax a dog both mentally and physically, and he will end up thoroughly confused. Aim to do one exercise – interspersed with play sessions for light relief – until you have perfected it; then move on to the next task. Keep daily training sessions short and fun: 10-15 minutes of concentrated training per hour is the maximum most dogs can cope with. Puppies do not have a prolonged attention span. Three 10-minute training sessions a day are better than one 30-minute session. Always finish on a good note, so that both you and your dog will justifiably feel pleased with, and good about, yourselves.
Keep a diary, so that you can see how progress is going, and note down areas of Particular achievement or difficulty, so that you can work on those exercises that your dog finds trickier than others. Above all, stay calm, be patient and make training fun.
All dogs are different
Some dogs learn things faster than others. Large breeds tend to mature more slowly, so you sometimes need to be extra patient with them. Small dogs, on the other hand, can be too clever for their own good and you will have to be on your toes. Bear in mind that working breeds, while intelligent, have an inbred instinct to chase and retrieve, guard or herd, or all three, and require disciplined handling and training to get the very best from them. Such dogs tend to thrive on agility training and training ‘tasks’, such as retrieving items for you or scent-tracking items. Making training a ‘game’ is the key to success in all cases.
There are no set time limits to how long it should take to fully train a dog. In fact, setting time limits can be counterproductive if the owner thinks his dog is not progressing as it should. The time it takes to achieve success depends on the aptitude of both owner and dog. Continual training and reinforcement of lessons are what are most effective. This means, for example, that once you have taught your dog to, say, sit, then repeat the lesson often and reward him appropriately so that he does not forget how to respond correctly to commands and directions. Reinforcing lessons learnt on a daily basis help to keep you and your dog ‘sharp’, and ensures that your dog remains well mannered.
Reinforcement and consistency help prevent bad habits forming. For example, if you allow your dog to push past you when you open a door, he will think it is all right for him to do so the next time – and the next. Similarly, if you let your dog jump around excitedly whenever he sees you get his leash out ready for ‘walkies’, then he will think that this is acceptable behaviour.
Finding a good trainer will be invaluable in helping you to turn your dog into a well-mannered and controllable companion. A regular training session will help point you in the right direction, as well as be a whole lot of fun. Additional on-the-spot help and advice can’t be beaten when it comes to putting into practice what you have learnt on paper. Many trainers will also give you and your dog the chance to try your paws at various activities such as agility, flyball, scenting work and the increasingly popular heelwork to music.