I have boards I've been riding for over a year and they have no dings except for pressure dents on the deck... but I build them to last... which is the other thing you might want to consider: quality EPS/epoxy and S-glass or combinations of heavier E.
dings and cracks are a part of life. No matter how careful you are your going to get them. Heel dents and cracking around fin boxes are nearly impossible to avoid, but don't get too upset over it. Get a bag to help with this, but your biggest enemy is going to be over exposure to the sun. Also, don't leave it in your car in the summer heat for too long, especially if its EPS foam construction.
I get a ding on almost every new board almost immediately after buying it. It's almost comical and it's almost always the same way. Riding a wave in crap surf becuase i can't wait to surf a new board, hitting some white water the boards flips and i crack a rail on my ankle. the crack is easy to find becuase it has a leg hair in it.
I am just a beginner so I realize that I am most likely putting more abuse on my board than more experienced surfers. Non the less, I feel like my board is getting beat up very quickly. I travel with it in a bag and have been surfing beach breaks. All the dings are just cracks, nothing major.
So I'm wondering:
How often do dings happen on average?
Is it normal to ding your board a lot when learning or am I being to hard on it?
Cracks are a good sign of either a poor glass job or a bad can of resin could have been used. They both happen more often than you think. Most Brand Name Boards are glassed light and unless you get it custom glassed its just something you have to deal with. I saw in another comment that the cracks are mostly on your rails. You can blow out a rail from falling on the deck but if the cracks are all up and down your rails its most likely a light glass job.
I have a feeling that its a light glass job, like your saying wave1rider65. It's a Doyle board that I got cheap and comparing it to other boards in shops, it feels less substantial. That said, I'm sure that its a combination of things.
Do the thumb test... see how much pressure it takes under your thumb for the glass to begin to "give." Just don't do it hard enough to leave a permanent dent. Compare that to other boards you have. The advantage of this test is that you can do it on any size/shape board... because comparing weight does not take into account the size of the board, or the core material used. While a lighter density core will dent easier than a higher density core (and weigh less) the skins' deflection under the pressure of your thumb is primarily due to the weight and type of glass in the lam.