FitDog Friday #57 – Making Time for Training


Mr. N and I work on training every single day (mostly because he needs it!). I attempt to do something new most days but at the very least, we review something he already knows every day. It takes literally a minute or two and since he has to work for all his food already, it doesn’t take extra time. He gets two snacks a day (we were advised to give him small frequent meals because he has a bit of a delicate stomach) so snack time is usually training time for us.

Practicing his stay and perfecting his photo pose

The secret to training regularly is making it part of your routine. I don’t wake up thinking oh we should train this at such and such time today. I just cram it into small slivers throughout the day. For example:

  • Brushing your teeth- down stays
  • Commercial breaks – learn new trick
  • Before dinner – leave it
  • Waiting for the microwave – review old tricks
  • Cleaning the living room – work on retrieving items
  • Waiting for the laundry – mat work 
  • Folding laundry – go to bed (Mr. N loves sleeping on fresh laundry if we don’t tell him otherwise)
  • Waiting in line – practice various paw behaviors (high five, shake, fist bump, cover eyes)
  • Watching TV – grooming time (brushing fur and teeth, cleaning eyes) 
  • Walks – impulse control, greeting other people and dogs politely
  • Anytime your dog is doing something else – recall (once your dog is ready for distractions)
We do not do all of the above tasks in one day but I mix it up and Mr. N gets reinforced for good behavior and we proof old behaviors. 
I also have clickers all throughout the house (which the boyfriend is not fond of) so I’ll pick one up when I’m moving to a different room and do some shaping with Mr. N if I’m thinking about it.
He likes training time because he gets treats and attention and praise and if I ask him if he wants to train, he’ll dash out of bed and wait at our usual shaping locale (in the living room, by the kitchen). 
We haven’t worked on anything particularly exciting lately although I do want to get him a skateboard and I think we might try to work on the hot dog retrieve during the holidays to give him something to do. 
When and what do you train with your dog(s)? 
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21 Responses

  1. Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    December 12, 2014 8:56 am

    Back in the day when I had but one lucky, super smart dog, we did a lot of these sorts of training sneak-ins. But now… it has to be focused, scheduled time or else it just turns into a pile of dogs (and sometimes a cat and cockatoo) trying to please me (which isn't necessarily a terrible thing but it doesn't facilitate actual learning.)

  2. cupcakepetrillo

    December 12, 2014 11:40 am

    Mom also works with me on new and old things every day (because I need it, too). I am food motivated, so each treat and both meals require tricks, balancing, and good behavior. In between, we practice bowling with my plastic bowling set, knocking down stacks of cups, and fetching (which still eludes me most days).

    Love and licks,

  3. Emma

    December 12, 2014 12:29 pm

    Mom says she should work more on obedience training with us, but she hates obedience training, so it doesn't happen much. We do train other things all the time, on walks, in the yard, for photo shoots, etc. Our brains are being challenged a lot, but we will never win an obedience competition. We know our sit, down, stay, shake, high five, etc, but we won't always do it when told.

  4. 2browndawgs

    December 12, 2014 1:08 pm

    We also work on training various things throughout the day, but it is very informal and maybe the only reward is a pat on the head. It is usually just reinforcing obedience they already know. We don't work much on tricks. 🙂

  5. SlimDoggy

    December 12, 2014 1:53 pm

    You are so dedicated – I admire that. I'm a bit lazy when it comes to Jack and Maggie. But I do do things at different times and different places with them.

  6. Beth

    December 12, 2014 2:26 pm

    Barley and I work down-stays when I do the dishes! Otherwise, she thinks having my back turned gives her the perfect excuse for getting into things. We also work on stays when Soth wants to play because sometimes Barley forgets that she's much bigger than he is and tries to beat him to the balls I throw. I love your "schedule" of ways to fit training in throughout the day!

  7. Kelsie Merwine

    December 12, 2014 3:36 pm

    Those are great ways to work training into your every day routine. Since pyrs aren't obedience dogs, training time has to be a solitary task to gain focus. Atka and I work on basic commands and impulse control in stores, but he would never multitask like that at home 😉

  8. Gilligan Ahoy

    December 12, 2014 4:44 pm

    Great insights! You can see a few of our moves on Tuesday's post at I love how you incorporate training into everyday tasks! Papa does this to an extent, but he'll be interested in a couple of these. We would love to see more about your clicker training, as we haven't used that yet. *wags*

  9. Groovy Goldendoodles

    December 12, 2014 9:02 pm

    What wonderful suggestions. I too use treats for training. Harley is strong in some areas and then weak in others. It's a process I suppose. Will definitely use some of your techniques by mixing it up with our daily routines.

  10. Hawkeye BrownDog

    December 13, 2014 1:30 am

    Hi Y'all!

    When I was young…I came to live with my family at 14 months…my Human and I went to school together. We learned agility, advanced obedience and rally obedience. No we never competed. During this period we spent 10 to 15 minutes morning and evening working on a new skill and reviewing previous skills.

    However, free time, off leash time and household chore time also offer time to reinforce the basics and add variations on those skills. I'm a senior now and we still work practice into our daily routines and I still get paid in treats for doing as I'm asked.

    As for tricks, the rollover has been a favorite. I even impress the vets, 'cause I'll rollover when they want to check my tummy. You sure know a lot more than I do, Mr. N.

    Merry Christmas!
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  11. Janet Keefe

    December 14, 2014 8:37 pm

    I feel badly that I don't sit and do formal training with Luke every day, but we really do mix it into our everyday routines. When I'm cooking supper, we're working on going to his bed and staying. Whenever a car pulls in the driveway, we work on not barking continuously. When we're playing outside, I'll have him come to me every so often. I do hope all of those little things help as well, and I like all of your ideas too.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets


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