Are shorter training sessions better?

Are shorter training sessions better?

There is a myth about dog training out there that training a dog for a longer period of time will give the best results. Without knowing specifics of the dog in question and not knowing how long or short a training session lasts, I seriously question this approach.

Instead of focusing on time, here are some things to consider that would help to better training and quite possibly short training durations.

  • Plan what you want to achieve before beginning your training session. The goal of the training session will hopefully not be to just exhaust your dog, but rather to teach or advance on a certain skill/curriculum. You are free to end the session after you have reached your goal, no matter how long it took to achieve it.
  • Puppies and young dogs, together with some adult dogs who haven’t had much training before can mentally handle a long session not very well. Sometimes, it is more beneficial to break down the lessons into shorter and more frequent sessions.
  • In training, some stress is inevitable (and it’s good to have a dog that can handle stress), but extreme long training sessions can sometimes cause unnecessary stress to the dog. Shorter sessions can help reduce stress
  • It’s easier for us humans to make excuses as to why we can’t fit in a 90-minute training session into our already busy day, but it’s easier to squeeze in two twenty-minute sessions in a day
  • Take advantage of the benefits of giving a break to the dog. Sometimes, when a dog is really struggling with something, we will give them the following day of off and let the information settle in and give them some processing time, instead of making the next lesson really hard with the skill’s type. When we approach this skill next time there is a lot of progress

What have the experiences of training your dog taught you – do they do better with short sessions or longer training sessions?