Not Busy Enough!

Most people got the point of my post titled "too busy"; there is a difference between "too busy" and "don't feel like doing it".  One is an excuse and the other is an honest appraisal of your situation at that time.

Then I read some really interesting comments in various places.  Apparently, some of you train your dog for one or more hours a day.

Seriously?  What would you do for an hour a day?

I'm assuming what you mean is that it takes an hour to drive to the park, set up, work the dog, and go home.  Right?

Or...maybe that means a class that runs for an hour, but the actual amount of time you have your dog out and working is maybe fifteen minutes.  Right?

Or maybe it means that it takes an hour (or several hours) because your sport involves a club situation where you are helping others with their work, but your dog is not working.  Right?

Because if you're seriously training your dog for an hour a day, then that's...... 3600 seconds.

In 3600 seconds, I could do 50 left turns, 36 right turns, 24 about turns, 17 changes of pace, 100 doodles, 15 retrieves over high jump, 9 retrieves on the flat, 9 finishes, 3 sets of scent articles, 8 directed jumps, 5 sets of gloves, and 12 straight recalls

Or maybe some other combination, but I think you get the point.

If you are training in a way that is engaging for your dog, then the exercises flow together at a rapid pace.  You are fully engaged and aware of what your dog needs.  Mistakes are quickly followed with opportunities to do the work correctly.  At this pace, you can take a trained dog through every exercise from Novice through Utility in 15 minutes.  Twice.   If anyone doubts that, then I'll make a seven minute tape and show you.

My private lessons are 30 minutes long, and believe me, that is more than enough.  My students have had enough of me after that amount of time, and there is a good chance that much of that time was spent with the dog on a stay as we discussed how to proceed.

If you drag training out for an hour, your dog will learn to pace himself, and that's not a pretty picture.  The goal is to make training time intense, engaging and fun.  If you're chatting with your friends while your dog sits around doing nothing then you're teaching your dog that training is dull; an opportunity to find something more interesting to do.

Is that really the association you want to make?


Ann Dahlin

Many competitive obedience classes drill too long in the heeling. Dogs definitely learn to pace themselves in that situation. Only the most driven of dogs go through that experience and maintain any appearance of enthusiasm in the heeling. Plus I found it impossible to not start daydreaming and mentally checking-out myself! Afterall, heeling can only stay interesting for so long.

Amy Randle

Well said:0)


true, but if I counted all of that then I’d have to account for every moment of the day! I’m specifically referring to skill training for a sport.


Cool, now I don’t feel so bad when I don’t train that much… I do short bursts, 15 minutes or so, at home, a couple times a week. probably not nearly as much as I should do, or as others do… but I definitely don’t over do it. LOL

Steve Shaffer

Depends. I agree with your points in term of competition skills training. However, training is not only what happens in the ring. As John Lyons (horse trainer) says: You are either training or un-training all the time you are interacting with the horse. Do you expect your dogs to behave while you’re fixing their meals? while you are eating yours? walk on a loose leash? meet (or ignore) dogs in social context or at shows? To us these and the dog’s general manners, social skills are all training. When you take life skills into account, we are training our dogs at least a couple of hours per day.

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