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Hi,

I am a first time dog owner and trying to learn as much as I can so I can properly take care of her. I was wondering if dog/owner multi-day immersion programs exist. To be more specific, are there programs that combine general dog care knowledge with training? For example, maybe the days are split in half where the first part of day is classroom training for the owner and the second half of day is training the dog obedience commands.

Thanks in advance!
 

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I'm likely wrong, but I would not expect to find such a training course.

IMHO, the best "immersion" is to get a dog. Begin your research, read books about care and training, search the Inet and forums.

Otherwise, dogs are a bit like kids. You must keep an eye on them.

Probably the most important aspects are good feeding, training and exercise.

Then the 3 Ps. Patience. Patience. Patience.
 

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There are workshops and seminars that kind of follow that concept, BeanDawg, but they're typically focused on dog professionals or other niche topics (sports, for example). Even these don't always involve actually training dogs, because extended training sessions are very mentally demanding and tend to be ineffective and stressful. That's why most training classes aren't going to be longer than an hour or so.

It's great that you're committed to learning more about dog care and providing the best start for your pup! I do think a lot of traditional puppy or 'new to you' dog classes out there will talk about basic care and training, and a good trainer will answer questions as much as they're able, or refer you to other sources. If you have specific questions, there's likely people here who will be happy to answer or point you towards good resources.

Personally, I really like Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash for a basic understanding of how dogs behave, think, and learn and how and why they're different from us. She's got great credentials (PhD in Zoology, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist with many years of experience) and I find her writing very digestible and engaging. For training, specifically, my first book was Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Dog Training, which covers a lot of basics and focuses on reward-based techniques that are fair to the dog and help build trust and your bond.
 

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While humans can tolerate immersion training, most dogs cannot. They need training in very short intervals and a break in between is good. I train obedience formally about 3 days a week.. tracking 3-4 days a week. That means I do parts of a routine on the training field and I take about 15 minutes. That is IT for training there. Tracking is done as a single track or a single tracking problem we are working.. Laying the track takes about 15 minutes.. aging the track can be an hour or more.. then you run the track and the dog actually works about 10 minutes.

Dogs do not take well to drilling. You train little things here and there throughout the day.. but an entire afternoon of obedience (or any other type) training? Not so much.
 

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Do you have a puppy? A puppy kindergarten class is a great way to learn more about caring for your dog. Puppy kindergarten classes in our area include a very basic "How to train your puppy" with basic commands like sit and stay, and they also include how to groom your dog, troubleshooting, things like that. Ask around. Even if they aren't entirely dedicated to "How to care for a dog", there will be plenty of people there who can answer your questions.

A dog likely wouldn't do great in immersion training because they just don't have the brain capacity to pay attention for that long! Dog training typically occurs in short bursts. Even in our higher level agility classes, the dogs are learning in short intervals, no more than 10 minutes if we're learning a new thing! Repetition and drills can be boring to most dogs, and they will quickly lose focus and get tired of working with you!

Although we always had dogs when I was a kid, I still learned most of my dog care knowledge from sources such as my vet, the obedience classes we went to, and reading and learning from people on forums like this.
 
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