Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Dog's Attention Span

A common mistake made by everyone from the professional trainer to the average pet owner is training a dog for too long at one time. Under normal conditions the average dog has an attention span of around 15 minutes. During this attentive period a dog is more open to learning and less resistant to control. Beyond the 15 minutes dogs actually become mentally tired and begin to avoid and resist the handler. Young puppies, older dogs, dogs that are just beginning their training and anxious dogs often have even shorter attention spans (maybe five to ten minutes). Dogs that are more experienced with training, and dogs with high drive for food and/or a toy will tend to have longer attention spans. Other factors can effect a dogs attention span. Hot weather can drastically reduce the amount of time a dog remains attentive. Distracting environments will also reduce the dogs attentiveness. Conversely cool weather often lengthens the time a dog is open to training. By training a dog within his/her attention span success is compounded and progress is optimized. Keep training sessions short and sweet and training will be fun and successful for the dog and handler/trainer.

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