The easiest way to fit in training every day for us is to pair it with everyday activities. Setting aside time specifically is nice and I try to but sometimes it just gets lost in everyday living.
The dogs are expected to sit/lie down and wait nicely for their meals. They’re not allowed to eat until they get a verbal confirmation. Mr. N is very good at this and will wait patiently even if I leave the room. Foster Pup Onyxx? If I don’t watch him, he will scarf everything down the moment he senses the opportunity.
The dogs are fed several small meals a day (due to Mr. N’s sensitive stomach). For their “snacks,” they usually have to perform. If I’m in a rush, they get away with a trick each. But usually it’s a combination of tricks. I try to vary the order so the dogs don’t anticipate what’s coming. Onyxx always thinks “play dead” comes right after “down” and he’ll flop over as soon as he lies down.
So it might look something like this for Mr. N: sit, shake, dance, back up, spin, spin the other way, down, roll over, touch (high), beg. It takes about two minutes and reinforces their trick knowledge.
Onyxx’s isn’t quite as long both because we’re still working on his impulse control and he doesn’t know as many tricks but he is adding to his repertoire. In the past two weeks, he’s learned how to spin, jump through a hoop, and wave.
I’ll put one of the dogs in a stay and run through several tricks with the other dog. Both dogs find this difficult. Onyxx will start demand barking and Mr. N comes over and starts running through his tricks. It’s good for their impulse control though.
Also I’ll use odd bits of time here and there to work on training. I’ll unload the dishwasher and tell them to stay for however long it takes me. I’ll ask for a couple of tricks during commercial breaks. If we’re waiting in line, we’ll do a couple of the more stationary tricks (shake, watch me, touch etc).
I got word today that a local dog daycare will let Onyxx take their basic training class for free (which is nice of them). He knows almost everything they’re teaching in the class but I figure working in a high distraction environment will be good for him plus I need to work with him on curbing his demand barking. We’ll see if he’s the star or the dunce of the class!