We often get the question, "When is training done?" Our answer is "never!"
It is important to put a solid 1-2 years of foundation training on your dog. But it is as equally as important to maintain that training throughout their life. So that means training is never done! This does not mean training has to be a time consuming process, or that you need to have independent formal training sessions forever.
I encourage people to take all the foundation classes they can! Learn as much as possible about training your dog in as many behaviors as possible! The more you know about training, the more successful you will be at maintaining those skills throughout the dogs life. Another thing about classes is it helps people stay accountable to train their dog. I get it, I am also really good at thinking "I will train the dog tomorrow" ... which we know generally doesn't happen. That is why I also take classes, it helps me stay accountable to actually training my own dogs and often watching other people can inspire me to work harder on certain skills or new tricks! But again, it is really important to maintain your dog's training throughout their life.
Some people will find that they enjoy taking class or doing activities with their dogs. Sometimes it becomes a social event for people as well. Regardless, continuing training is always helping build a relationship with your dog.
Formal Training vs. Maintenance Training
The younger or less experienced dog should be receiving formal training sessions to learn various skills. Once your dog knows all the skills you want them to, then you are in the maintenance training phase where you go about life as you normally would, just making sure that you are maintaining and following through with expectations.
How long should training sessions be?
Shorter is often better. Your formal training sessions can be as short as 5-15 minutes! Don't make training this long ordeal where the thought of how time consuming it will be deters you from getting up and starting to train! You should always end your training session when your dog still wants to train a little more. If we train until they are bored, obedience then becomes boring to them!
Our recommendation for Training Schedule/Timeline:
Have 1-3 formal training sessions each day with puppies/new dogs until they are easy to live with in the house and understands all basic skills (Focus, Sit, Down, Stay, Come, Walking nicely on leash, Leave it, Place). We recommend taking our Foundations 1 & 2 classes in order to help with the above skills!
Then working on taking your dog outside and in public dog friendly places to work on generalizing those skills. We recommend our Foundation 2 & 3 classes to work on generalizing those skills to real-life skills, to understand how to train our dogs in more distracting environments, and off-leash reliability training.
Now you are at the stage of maintaining the training now, so instead of doing formal training sessions, you just need to make sure you are maintaining expectations and following through on those expectations throughout their life. For example, you put your dog on place while you eat dinner. If they get off of place, you go put them back on- don't let them wander.
However, we hope you and your dog caught the training bug and enjoy classes as a fun night out together and decide to continue with us in finding various activities to enjoy with your dog such as a variety of dog sports.