How & Why: Developing and Applying a Great Training Schedule

woman training her dog

How & Why: Developing and Applying a Great Training Schedule

I work with the public, people with different backgrounds, skills, temperaments, and personalities. Many people who read this will already have a great schedule. It helps us have the best shot at achieving our goals. This entry may not be for you, but please join us anyway. A lot goes into having a great schedule, and I want to tell you everything. A blog can’t be long enough to include all the details, so let this stand in for all that can’t be said now: All Things are Connected. Schedule. Training. Communication. Relationship.  Do you have a schedule? If your answer is yes, that is great. If your answer is no, I am sorry you are wrong. Humans are animals of habit, and we tend to do the same things around the same time every day. Schedules allow us – and our dogs – to predict the future to a high degree of accuracy. They have a measure of consistency and are based on our concept of time. If 6:30 p.m. is always 6:30 p.m., regardless of the day, we can plan for 6:30 p.m. any day we choose. Having a plan is excellent, but executing it makes it a schedule. Others can help; you are the only one that can do it. Scheduling is all about organizing, budgeting, and planning our time. That is all that it is.  We must also consider our dogs’ needs to develop an effective and efficient schedule. Every dog in my care needs and receives the following. 
  1. Food and Water 
  2. Shelter ( in a dry, air-conditioned, safe space)
  3. Time with our human attention on them (not distracted attention, attention focused on them)  
  4. Interaction with us (This includes play, training, massage, and hanging out. I am not a big cuddler, but if cuddling is important to you, it is important to your dog, too.) 
  5. A safe place and time to be alone.
  6. Medical care, if needed
  7. A schedule. Schedules help dogs understand their day, reduces stress, and promotes good overall behavior. Executing a schedule shows your dog that you are reliable and trustworthy.
There is a cliche, “Training is Always Happening.” We should keep our training goals in mind. It will help us with the details of our schedule. Write your schedule down. You can not just keep it in mind and follow it. That will help you be accountable to yourself. I use my calendar and to-do list to make my daily schedule. I share the training schedule below with my in-person clients. It comes from my daily schedule and covers my time with clients’ dogs during board and train programs.  The hard part is “Follow Through!” That is the difference between a schedule and a plan. I teach my clients to reinforce their good behavior positively. I encourage clients to do something they enjoy directly after training their dogs and use training games to make training time fun. I train my clients’ dogs an hour a day, but I ask them to train their dogs 30 minutes a day, and they can break that time down into 5-minute sessions. By positively reinforcing themselves, learning fun games, and keeping training sessions short helps my clients turn their plans into schedules.  Remember, you must create new habits if you are not used to a schedule or if you change your schedule. So, be kind and do not put too much pressure on yourself, but never give up. Once your new habit is formed, it will take less effort to stick with it.  As always, Enjoy Your Dog!!!  The Argos 24-Hour Training Schedule, planned over six 4-hour blocks: Period 1:  2 AM – 6 AM
  • Sleep: The dog is in their crate and sleeping.
Period 2:  6 AM – 10 AM
  • One 45-minute walk
  • Breakfast 
  • At least 15 minutes of play/free time in the yard/body check
  • At least 15 minutes of training*
  • At least 2 hours of crate time
Period 3:  10 AM – 2 PM
  • At least 15 minutes of free time in the yard
  • At least 15 minutes of playtime
  • At least 15 minutes of training* 
  • At least 2 hours in the crate
Period 4:  2 PM – 6 PM  
  • At least 15 minutes of free time in the yard
  • At least 15 minutes of playtime
  • At least 15 minutes of training* 
  • At least 2 hours in the crate
  • Normal Dinner
  • Sometimes 45-minute walk
Period 5:  6 PM – 10 PM
  • Dinner, if not fed in Period 4
  • At least a 45-minute walk if it was not done in Period 4 
  • At least 15 minutes of free time in the yard
  • At least 15 minutes of playtime/indoors 
  • At least 15 minutes of training /indoors*
  • At least 2 hours in the crate
Period 6:  10 PM – 2 AM
  • Sleep: The dog is in their crate and sleeping
* I recommend scheduling your training periods as well. Knowing what you are working on and how many repetitions you can get through in the session is always good. Schedule 2 minutes at the end of your session to make notes about the session, including your missteps and what your dog needs to work on.   For more information about dog training, contact the expert team at Argos Dog Training. We have years of experience and offer an array of professional dog and puppy training programs. Give us a call today or fill out our online contact form!