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read this article... I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it here to see if some of the members here might have some thoughts.

I know personally I try to keep my training sessions (drills/obedience) short. I have never considered training only 2 or 3 days a week (unless the weather is poor LOL)..... generally I try to train 4-5 days a week and keep my sessions in the 10-20 minute range... mostly at around 15 minutes, I would guess, depending on what is being done.

 

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I train alone for the most part. Occasionally, My son and/or wife will assist. Can's training sessions will typically consist of several 15 - 20 minute sessions in a day. We train in the UP of Mi at our camp and we will train in a large gravel pit area for land work to start, then jump on the atv and move to a river basin to do some water work for 10 - 15 minutes, then move again back to our property to run some meaty marks on our beaver ponds. Then on to our gate pond for some easy fun marks. Can will dictate how long. He has tons of energy and drive and LOVES his job. This is our routine daily, Friday through Sunday. Recovery the remainder of the week.
 

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[
So Im only talking about Training a dog from basic obedience, to FF, then the yard, and to just starting Transition. Young dog training for field work..

I never looked at any step during that process as an amount of time.. It was about establishing a standard, teaching what was expected, then evaluating the dogs progress each session. Importantly, stopping each session, at a point where there was progress, and success..

As far as number of days per week..I chose every day, thinking more about it being a regular, consistent repetition to the standard, and a successful, snappy response to the command.. The CLOCK wasn’t any deciding factor..



I learned that the real trick, was being experienced, knowledgeable enough, to evaluate when to move on and add the “Next” step… I was fortunate enough to have an experienced persons evaluation to let me know when to move on.. So,, The number of days as always consistent, so to apply a standard ,and give enough repetitions to establish if the dog understands the command, and responds with a snappy , confident happy response.. More days,, the more exposure to the standard with repetitions showing the progress..

It was never about a regiment of 10 minutes a day, and those ten minutes done every day. It was about the dog showing positive progress, with a good attitude, and the standard applied on many days to get in good positive repetitions with each step..

In theory, you can spend 10 minutes every day seven days a week,, and not having the knowledge or experience , to resposibly apply your standard,and to know when to move on with success..

QUALITY training time.. That’s your responsibility! Success takes what it takes..
 
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It was a humbling experience too, when it came to that experienced person evaluating progress, that most all the time the discussion was directed at me specifically, and how I performed. Seldom was the discussion about the dog..
 

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I've trained 7 dogs over the years. I've helped train other dogs owned by friends. I use to train in longer sessions depending on the temperature, 4 to 6 times a week. We use to do both land and water. My golden Remy developed Hypothyroidism at 18 months which is young. It took the vet and I 9 months to figure out what was wrong. He was experiencing exercise intolerance, mental dullness and heat intolerance. After we had him on thyroid tabs he recovered. I switched my training to very short sessions running one drill or one test. I might repeat it if he doesn't quite get it. He seems to retain the training much better. I might train on water a little longer since he loves to swim. I give him more breaks to lay under his favorite tree. I train at several clubs and most times I am the only one there. I let them out of the truck and let them run free for 10 or 15 minutes or swim free. This seems to stretch them out and calm them down. I do the same at the end of the training session. I'm retired so it's much easier to just go out for an hour or two. If your working with a young family it's more difficult to find free time.
 

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I've been retired for the last twenty years. Which means training time has not been much of an issue.
In addition, over the years, I have regularly increased the number of places to train. I presently have
two retrievers that are training for hunt tests and hunting. Gigi is two years old and Pounce will soon
be seven. I am 80 years old and plan on training and hunting for several more years.

Frankly, it has been years since I even thought about how long a training day might be. More often
than not, each session is designed to produce a balanced sequence and each day (week) is planned
in advance. Since I train alone about 90% of the time, the length of a day in the field is determined by
how long I can last
. With two dogs it is often easy to provide each one with a brief break between
setups. Now that Gigi is well into transition, they both can do the same field setups.

Usually, it is a morning or an afternoon (including drive time). When I bought the UTV last year, more
became much easier. :love:

The following link is to last June's training journal link. Weather is a continuous work-around project.

https://www.kwicklabsii.com/pounce-gigi-june--20-journal.htm

Training Area List + driving time

The Sand Ponds - 10 minutes
Keely Meyer Field -10 minutes
Thorson Pond (training and goose hunts) 5 minutes
Riverside Park DTA 10 minutes
The Retention Pond 12 minutes
RockCut State Park DTA - 20 minutes
Winnebago County DTA - 25 minutes
Madison Retriever Club properties - 1 hour+
Harrison Road DTA - 25 minutes
Bong Recreational Area DTA - 1 hour
front yard = yard work :cool:
 

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Until my dog is physically or mentally too tired to learn or the lesson was taught and no point in beating a dead horse.
 

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I've been retired for the last twenty years. Which means training time has not been much of an issue.
In addition, over the years, I have regularly increased the number of places to train. I presently have
two retrievers that are training for hunt tests and hunting. Gigi is two years old and Pounce will soon
be seven. I am 80 years old and plan on training and hunting for several more years.

Frankly, it has been years since I even thought about how long a training day might be. More often
than not, each session is designed to produce a balanced sequence and each day (week) is planned
in advance. Since I train alone about 90% of the time, the length of a day in the field is determined by
how long I can last
. With two dogs it is often easy to provide each one with a brief break between
setups. Now that Gigi is well into transition, they both can do the same field setups.

Usually, it is a morning or an afternoon (including drive time). When I bought the UTV last year, more
became much easier. :love:

The following link is to last June's training journal link. Weather is a continuous work-around project.

https://www.kwicklabsii.com/pounce-gigi-june--20-journal.htm

Training Area List + driving time

The Sand Ponds - 10 minutes
Keely Meyer Field -10 minutes
Thorson Pond (training and goose hunts) 5 minutes
Riverside Park DTA 10 minutes
The Retention Pond 12 minutes
RockCut State Park DTA - 20 minutes
Winnebago County DTA - 25 minutes
Madison Retriever Club properties - 1 hour+
Harrison Road DTA - 25 minutes
Bong Recreational Area DTA - 1 hour
front yard = yard work :cool:
Jim
You are an inspiration to us all. Your logging of your training journal and video's are impressive and a great reasorce
Pete
 

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Thanks, Pete. It is interesting how a person's training focus is impacted by all the things
one does that are not about training a dog. At one time, I was the coach of a high school
chess team. The gifted program at Auburn High School concentrated several bright students.

I had not played much chess when I was younger, but teaching was a lot more interesting
than working for a chemical company and being in a laboratory all day long. I had to scramble
a bit to keep up with their talents. Circumstances change and after several years, hunting
took over my focus. It was not long before training a dog became necessary.

Of course, that meant I had to train myself. Therefore, in the course of several months, I would
routinely write lesson plans. Teaching is a skill that involves a daily rationale. I began writing
"Tips of the Month" and recording a journal which led to my WEB projects.

One of the Tips of the Month created a significant, lasting impression.

KwickLabs - March 2004

Learning how to train dogs is a long-term process. What you know and can apply at
any one time is critical to the advancement of your dogs. Dog training is somewhat
like chess...........

"It depends a great deal on how much you know. But, what you know is really
everything you've learned, minus all you've forgotten.........and the forgetting
process is powerful."
Rolf Wetzell (international chess competitor)


He did not begin playing chess until he was in his forties which is a rarity. His plan
was to avoid forgetting by keeping meticulous notes.

Therefore, it would seem a daily record enhances “remembering” and is a wise course
of action. It provides a reference with context. This “paper trail” will provide quick
recollection and inhibit the “forgetting process”. You will know more because you
have planned to forget less.

Just recently, I went back several years to a time I had almost forgotten. It was quite
interesting to visit the past.

https://www.kwicklabsii.com/recollections.html
 

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Thanks, Pete. It is interesting how a person's training focus is impacted by all the things
one does that are not about training a dog. At one time, I was the coach of a high school
chess team. The gifted program at Auburn High School concentrated several bright students.

I had not played much chess when I was younger, but teaching was a lot more interesting
than working for a chemical company and being in a laboratory all day long. I had to scramble
a bit to keep up with their talents. Circumstances change and after several years, hunting
took over my focus. It was not long before training a dog became necessary.

Of course, that meant I had to train myself. Therefore, in the course of several months, I would
routinely write lesson plans. Teaching is a skill that involves a daily rationale. I began writing
"Tips of the Month" and recording a journal which led to my WEB projects.

One of the Tips of the Month created a significant, lasting impression.

KwickLabs - March 2004

Learning how to train dogs is a long-term process. What you know and can apply at
any one time is critical to the advancement of your dogs. Dog training is somewhat
like chess...........

"It depends a great deal on how much you know. But, what you know is really
everything you've learned, minus all you've forgotten.........and the forgetting
process is powerful."
Rolf Wetzell (international chess competitor)


He did not begin playing chess until he was in his forties which is a rarity. His plan
was to avoid forgetting by keeping meticulous notes.

Therefore, it would seem a daily record enhances “remembering” and is a wise course
of action. It provides a reference with context. This “paper trail” will provide quick
recollection and inhibit the “forgetting process”. You will know more because you
have planned to forget less.

Just recently, I went back several years to a time I had almost forgotten. It was quite
interesting to visit the past.

https://www.kwicklabsii.com/recollections.html
This is great wisdom. We remember much better when we write things down. Time is and enthusiasm seems to be the biggest factor. I'll bet you were a great and dedicated coach.
Thanks Jim
Pete
 

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I was just told by someone who is training around some of the most successful in the US retriever game at the top level, that these pros take notes on each dog, every day as the dog leaves the line, before getting the next dog. They do not run a truckload, then take notes from memory after the setup. That is some serious discipline and huge value.

This is powerful stuff.

Chris
 

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Actually, I taught in a high school where the gifted program was located. There was a feeder
grade school that had a chess team with a talented coach. Therefore, when his players entered
high school, they were already playing well. The only instruction the team got (motivation to practice)
was if they could beat me they would probably be promoted to varsity. Beating the coach was a
simple, effective coaching strategy.

There was one girl on the team. She was not very good at practice....no motivation. I would place
her ahead of some of the team members that always beat her when practicing. The reason for
that was practice.....it was just practice. If you remember the old Allen Iverson rant about "Practice
....man....it's just practice." So she played varsity....regularly....and rarely lost.

In addition, there were two real talented students that finally became convinced that the eight
person varsity team could not win a championship unless they worked with the younger players.
Gifted students have a tendency to be self-centered. That scheme turned out two state
championships, a couple of seconds and one national title. When I retired they could not find any
teacher that would coach...which was the end of chess teams at Auburn High School.

note: The two really talented players were the key. However, there was a stretch of time early
on when they did not come to the weekly practices. Therefore, they were informed that they
were no long on the team. I explained why, left the room and went home. After that day, things
improved drastically (they came to practice). I do not think that would have worked in today's world. :cool:
 

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Many many years ago I trained with an obedience trainer from Chatenooga named Max Paris. When we first met he asked me how many times I repeat a behavior in a session. I didn;t have a good answer. He said try a repetition of 4 successful. I've experimented with it ever since. Just that one principle in teaching sub-tasks has cut my overall time in half.
 

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I found and read the actual paper. It's been a few weeks, so I may have some of the details wrong. The beagles were lab beagles that normally lived in large pens, with several dogs/pen. For the study, the trainer would take the beagle out of the pen to the training room for his session. The beagle was taught to go to a basket, lie down, and eventually stay in the basket while the trainer moved around the room. Positive reinforcement was used. (First reward dog for approaching the basket, then for stepping in the basket, etc.). My first reaction was that it took an extraordinary number of sessions to teach a dog to go to a basket and stay, but they were laboratory beagles. Not the easiest of breeds to train and not really accustomed to much one-on-one dog-human interaction. Their study found that the beagles that were trained once/week in a long training session learned faster than beagles trained in shorter, more frequent sessions.

Their results contradict what most dog trainers believe is the most effective strategy: short or moderate-length sessions once, maybe twice/day, every day or every other day. It is hard to imagine trying to teach a dog everything he needs to know for higher level hunt/field, agility, obedience, or such with one long training session once/week.

And yet, there might be something to the study. Sometimes, I've found that working for a fairly long session on something the dog is struggling with (assuming you don't get frustrated or make it too much of a grind for the dog) and then taking a day or two or even three off sometimes works wonders. It's as though the dog needs to sleep on it for a couple of days.

For retriever trainers that don't have the luxury of training grounds close to home, the trainer is often forced into long, infrequent sessions. You may only be able to drive to the grounds on one day of the weekend, and probably not every weekend, because there are those other nuisances of life that get in the way, and not year round, because there are cold seasons, hot seasons, algae bloom seasons, dangerous grass seed seasons, etc. If you are trying to teach a dog a task or a concept that you build in steps, you run into the "50 First Dates" problem. You feel like you are starting over every training session because the gap between training session is so long.

With my current dog, I found that a strategy that has worked reasonably well is a combination of home exercises (little things that take a few minutes and not much space) and strategically-planned training ground sessions. For the training ground sessions, if I have a period where I can take enough time off work to go up every other day or every third day for about two weeks, I can make a lot of progress on something like down-the-shore blinds, and then maintain that with the normal, much less frequent visits. (Note: Not talking about competitive field trial training, just getting to an SH or MH level.)

I found that, (for me, at least), it is better to have a day or two of rest in between long training days. A couple of times, I tried getting a motel near the training area so I could drive up, train until evening, spend the night in the motel, get an early training start the next day, and drive back in the afternoon. That was not very effective. The second day never went very well. Taking a day or two between long training days gave me a chance to rest and to ponder whatever problems I'd run into. More surprisingly, the day off seemed to make a big difference to the dog. I could leave thinking I hadn't made much progress on a concept, come back two days later, set up the situation, and the dog would be much better.
 
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thanks for your thoughts Kelly - it appears that studies do prove that dogs benefit from rest and also learn while they sleep.

. Dog study finds brain waves indicative of learning during sleep – The Quad
I think some people might find it interesting that there is a definite difference in the female brain vs the male brain... which might explain why some people prefer to train females. :)

I have done a few 'training trips' like you mention and it is hard to 'not train' too much. But I think in the future I am planning to have shorter training sessions spaced with a 3 hour break.

I have been working with a dog on 'hold' training for about 5 sessions (7 days). I have been keeping the sessions at about 5 minutes and always end on success at least 2 times in a row. She is progressing very nicely. I did just 'two' reps of moving one step basically a 'sitting scooch' - on the 5th session -- sandwhiched in the middle of sitting and holding....
 

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Can a "Day Off" simply be an excercise, drill, a dog enjoys?

Flinch's favorite activity is running to a pile.. an occational stop along the way, with a back cast.. She loves it,, Its her therapy day or "Day Off"

Still a bit of training.. for a few minutes..
 
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A planted bird hunt..?
 

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What about splitting play and training sessions? I had help from an well known local trainer for OB and he always said to keep training sessions short (10 minutes), and not to mix any play into them at all. But now that I've been doing it solo I'm always so tempted to end the session with a bunch of fun bumpers, or release him to go play with other dogs if I'm at the park and there's any others there. "End on a high note" type of thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Can a "Day Off" simply be an excercise, drill, a dog enjoys?

Flinch's favorite activity is running to a pile.. an occational stop along the way, with a back cast.. She loves it,, Its her therapy day or "Day Off"

Still a bit of training.. for a few minutes..
Smarty loves this as well... she just gets a charge out it. I think it can be like therapy for her.
 
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