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I've been slacking in training since Roscoe finished puppy class. Part of that is that my son moved in with his dog, so I don't have much one-on-one time with Roscoe anymore, part of that is my own natural tendency to start off strong then fizzle out, and part of it is that I'm just plain tired after work, gym, life, etc. Also, in the time I am spending with Roscoe, we're focusing on socializing him and exposing him to new surroundings, sounds, people, animals, etc.

When I think about everything I want to train and the basic behaviors I need to firm up I get a bit overwhelmed. I think I need to simplify and train consistently and I need to prioritize.

1. How often do you train and for how long per session?

2. How often (and when) do you add new behaviors to the mix? I feel like it's a fine line between trying to train too many behaviors at once without really having complete reliability on other basic behaviors. For instance, Roscoe knows sit, down, and off, but he's not completely reliable on these commands when he's distracted, excited, or just feeling contrary.

3. How long does it take to actually firm up any specific behavior? For instance, I still require my husband's assistance to clip Roscoe's nails. If I train 5-15 minutes per day, what is a realistic expectation to see reliable results? I get frustrated because I can't clip all of his nails in one sitting, but he's only 5 mos old and I know I haven't been consistent and I'm impatient, so I just want to keep myself focused on realistic expectations so I'm don't feel so frustrated.

I've had dogs my entire life and I've raised two kids. I don't know why training a puppy seems so difficult, but some days it just does. **sigh**
 

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Haha trick question for me.

I train 24/7! Whenever I am out and about with dogs I always have my treat pouch handy so that I can capture the behavior I like as I see it. Back when the family was training our pup, my mom would have the treat pouch on indoors. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. Sort of like a pop-quiz. It was a great way to proof commands, partially, I believe, because dogs (and humans) learn well in short bursts.

Puppies can learn 2 maybe 3 commands at a time. That is usually the pace puppy classes seem to go at. Once a command becomes very solid in the house you can start proofing it, and by then it probably doesn't matter how many commands you have on the go. Proofing is a bit different than learning because the dog knows how to go through the motions of the sit/down/rollover/whatever, they just need to
a) Make that cognitive leap where they generalize the command (eg. sit means sit on linoleum, as well as grass, at the dog park, or in the pet store).
b) Know the command thoroughly enough that it doesn't require a lot of thinking/concentration to do when the environment gets distracting.

Generally we see things proofed in a manner something like:
Kitchen -> Other rooms in the house -> Backyard -> A quiet park -> A park full of distractions (like a dog park).

If your dog struggles, just take things back a "zone", practice up and try again next week.
 

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at least 5 times a day for a few minutes or even just seconds.
he get's gets a painkiller pill for his HD in the morning and in the evening. the Pill is wrapped in a tiny piece of bacon and we do a few tricks before he's allowed to eat the pill/bacon.
And when we leave the house for a walk, he's got to do a few tricks before we attach the lead. leaving the house is rewarding for him, so he likes doing it.
We also do random training during the day, depending on how the dog is feeling the day and if we've got fun doing so.

And then there are socialisation sessions... there is a training effect, but it's not like tricks.
behaving while riding the bus, downstay means also downstay if there a boy that looks like he really wants to play with you (he's not so interested with people in general but male preteens (8-12 years)are the pinnacle of awesomeness in his opinion), heeling under distraction, behaving when visiting a shop or café...that stuff.

and then there's a lot of random recalls inside the house, in the garden or on walks...it's not really active training since it's basically just communicating and living together...but it reinforces a specific behaviour.
 
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Agree with @kelly528 I'm always training in some regard or another. If we're out on walks we are working on loose leash walking, or a really focused competition heel, or sometimes we do rally sign stuff on the sidewalk (I'm positive I look totally crazy). If we're in the house, we're working on obedience stuff. Levi gets around 10 minute session, and Heidi gets anywhere from 5-15 depending on the complexity of the behaviour.

I think the amount of time it takes to firm up a behaviour depends on both the behaviour and the dog.

Try to pick a few behaviours you really want to work on and focus on those for a bit.
 

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The benefit of having solid positive and negative markers is you can be training at all times, even if you don't have food in your hands.

Obviously you need to train with food sometime to get those solid markers.
@gngracie He's only 5 mo, don't expect unlimited patience while in a sit. That's not a training failure that's just puppydom.
 

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I understand; I get tired too!

I try to work on things, in a structured session, for a few minutes each night. It's not ideal but between everything else it's probably the most realistic right now.

But, like others, I'm constantly training (and I bet you are too!). I'll see situations where I can counter condition Chisum to something, or help him explore it. Or I'll reinforce good behavior on the fly (cooking dinner - laying down gets you a treat, paws on the counter gets you nothing). Stuff like that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I feel better after reading everyone's posts. You made me realize that I'm actually training more than I think I am, just not formal sessions. We do a lot of socialization and work on basic manners during social outings, and I do a lot of things on a daily basis at the house, like requiring a sit/stay before eating, and practicing loose-leash walking on his walks.

Thank you all so much for your input. I still need to get more consistent with working on his nails, and definitely need to practice recall, but I feel much better after reading all of your comments. I'm not a total slacker mom after all. hehehe

@Esand, your comment about "that's just puppydom" gave me a good laugh. You're absolutely right, I just need reminding from time to time. ;)
 

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I've been slacking in training since Roscoe finished puppy class. Part of that is that my son moved in with his dog, so I don't have much one-on-one time with Roscoe anymore, part of that is my own natural tendency to start off strong then fizzle out, and part of it is that I'm just plain tired after work, gym, life, etc. Also, in the time I am spending with Roscoe, we're focusing on socializing him and exposing him to new surroundings, sounds, people, animals, etc.

When I think about everything I want to train and the basic behaviors I need to firm up I get a bit overwhelmed. I think I need to simplify and train consistently and I need to prioritize.

1. How often do you train and for how long per session?

2. How often (and when) do you add new behaviors to the mix? I feel like it's a fine line between trying to train too many behaviors at once without really having complete reliability on other basic behaviors. For instance, Roscoe knows sit, down, and off, but he's not completely reliable on these commands when he's distracted, excited, or just feeling contrary.

3. How long does it take to actually firm up any specific behavior? For instance, I still require my husband's assistance to clip Roscoe's nails. If I train 5-15 minutes per day, what is a realistic expectation to see reliable results? I get frustrated because I can't clip all of his nails in one sitting, but he's only 5 mos old and I know I haven't been consistent and I'm impatient, so I just want to keep myself focused on realistic expectations so I'm don't feel so frustrated.

I've had dogs my entire life and I've raised two kids. I don't know why training a puppy seems so difficult, but some days it just does. **sigh**
I read a book that said not to train a dog until it is 9 months old. I disagreed, but followed the instructions anyway, now I have the most intelligent dog I have ever had.
 

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Daily 5-15min sessions few times daily max. right now working on sit and down. Then will add in again more things like make sure she still confident being tied up on lead and do it in different areas etc.

Terriers are bad for nails! even Jessie!
 
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Any time I'm with Libby! She can learn so much in more shorter trainings than one long. Just here and there I would keep saying some things and she just picks it up! I think it is a key to successful training! :)
 

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I read a book that said not to train a dog until it is 9 months old. I disagreed, but followed the instructions anyway, now I have the most intelligent dog I have ever had.
Roscoe is definitely a smart boy, but I would be afraid to not teach at least basic manners until he's 9 mos old since he has a bit of a contrary nature and likes pushing buttons just for the sake of pushing buttons. hehehe
 

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I think that 'don't train your dog before 9 months/one year of age' might come from dominance training. Maybe the reason might be that force used on a puppy is even more harmful than on an adult dog.

Another thing I can think of is that it has meant training for work/sports but misinterpreted as regarding all training or people giving it do not recognise housetraining and basic manners as training. Nowadays we have methods to prepare puppies for their future job and gentle methods that don't do any harm on a puppy but we are still adviced to leave the jumps and other heavy or stressful exercises until the dog is physically and mentally adult and can handle them better.

To the original question:

I get training spouts. Sometimes I have training sessions often and then there may be weeks or even months that I do almost nothing. I haven't taught Alva anything really new for ages. Alva is a nice pet so she does not really need training anymore to be a proper housemate but training might be good for exercising her. I should now consider training her new obedience moves so we could enter trials again. Lately I've only held short irregular sessions to refresh her old skills. Another thing we should do is to vary the sessions that even though the moves are familiar, there would be something unusual and new. My imagination isn't good though.
 
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