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The Importance of Timing in Dog Training

How fast is 1.3 seconds?

It’s probably about as fast as you just read that sentence. Fast enough for you to put your car into drive? Fast enough for you to open your front door? Light travels through space at just over 186,000 miles per second. The moon is just under 250,000 miles from Earth, so light from the Moon’s surface has to travel more than one second (about 1.3 seconds) to reach us. Is this also fast enough for your dog to get up out of his sit or down command? It has been proven that you have 1.3 seconds to influence your dog’s behavior! You have only 1.3 seconds to reward them for making the right choice, and 1.3 seconds to correct them for making a mistake. The timing you use in your training greatly effects how quickly your dog learns. If you use good timing and always catch them in that 1.3 seconds your dog will figure things out much faster!

Every time you give your dog a command, pay attention to your timing. Make sure you’re using the 1.3 seconds, and make sure your praise or corrections happen as soon as they are needed. Picture this – You tell your dog to sit, and then you grab a cookie out of your pocket to reward him for doing what you ask. Right as you go to give it to him, he jumps up on you and tries to snatch it out of your hand. You laugh and give him the cookie. What have you just taught him? Because of the timing being off, you in fact taught him that nothing happens when he sits, but if he jumps up and hits you in the belly you dispense cookies!

We have to take a step back and assess our reactions to our dogs’ behaviors as well. Often times when the dogs jump on us we gasp… “no Ma’am” and then make the appropriate correction. In reality we need to be making the appropriate corrections and re-directions as promptly as we are able. Basically, in the time that we have taken to gasp, we are already outside of the 1.3 seconds to make the proper associations for our dogs to understand the correction given with their incorrect behavior.

Everything in dog training relies on good timing. We’re here to help you with that! With options like our private lessons, we can help you to understand good timing, paired with appropriate training for your dog. Sometimes it just takes another set of eyes to see what we may be doing improperly, or to help guide us in the right direction.

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