Did you know that if you want to make faster progress with your dog’s training you can do multiple training sessions each day? The key is sleep!
A study performed in Hungary published in 2017 suggests that sleep is just as important for dogs as it is for humans and that sleep after training helps dogs to learn and consolidate information.
As a trainer, when a client asks for best practices for training their dog, I recommend multiple short sessions per day – as short as 2-5 minutes for young puppies and a bit longer for older dogs, but always keep it only as long as it will be fun for both you and your dog!
The important key for doing multiple sessions per day, however, is sleep. Be sure your dog has time for a nap in between sessions.
The daily routine I recommend is:
1- Play with your dog for a while (the exact amount of play will vary depending on the age, breed, and individual dog) to burn off a little energy and help them be able to focus. Play also helps us bond with our dog.
2 – Do a short training session. Keep it short and fun! Just a few minutes is all you need.
3 – Send them to their crate, a bed, a quiet room, or other favorite resting spot, for a chew or a lick session. Chewing and licking are calming behaviors for dogs and will help them settle down for a nap. Some peanut butter, Greek yogurt, or canned food spread on a lick mat are great for encouraging licking.
4 – Repeat! Once your dog has had a good rest, you can start again.
As always, be sure to make learning fun and set your dog up for success. And now you know to also be sure to give your dog plenty of opportunity to rest.
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Check out reporting from the American Animal Hospital Association on the study here: https://www.aaha.org/publications/newstat/articles/2017-02/sleep-could-enhance-learning-in-dogs/
Check out the NIH report on the study here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5292958/