The last week of August I was on vacation. A staycation. It was a nice break from work and I enjoyed spending the last week of summer before school started for Ryan.
I was so excited to have ALL this extra time to train Drac. I quickly realized that you really can’t train that much more, especially with a young dog. You can actually over train which will not benefit or further your training. After a morning walk and a few training sessions – it was nap time for Drac (and all of us!). Afternoons turned out to be when the dogs really snoozed and with the heat we have been having – just not a lot you can do outside.
It’s always better to train in shorter sessions. You want to end before your dog loses energy and focus. My sessions are anywhere from 1 minute to ~10 minutes, with most under 5 minutes long. On longer sessions you should have frequent release or play breaks. It’s easy to fall into longer training sessions – just one more time or pushing for more criteria. You’ll find you make more progress continuing your training in a later session than extending the current session. Learning “sinks in” and transfers to the next session. Try it and see! You’ll pick it up later with a refreshed dog with energy and focus, resulting in more success and progress.
Having more time also allowed for lots of walks, swimming at the lake and naps as I mentioned earlier! 🙂
Here’s a short video of Drac swimming at the lake with my friend’s labs.
When you have more time, you don’t have to be as efficient and organized with your time. When your time is limited you have to be more organized to fit in your short training sessions. On my week off – I did have plenty of time to fit in our training sessions and likely a few more than I normally would have time for. We were also able to get to some new places to train.
Here’s a video compilation of what Drac and I did on our summer vacation. I’m very pleased with our progress and all the fun skills Drac is learning across all our many dog sports!