That to do list never grows any shorter and there are always so many demands on your time. You may think you have no time to train your dog due to all the other pressures of modern life. But if you find a way to consistently carve out a few minutes each day, it can really make a difference. Both to your dog and to you. A well-trained dog is much easier to live with. Here’s how.
When You Settle, Have Your Dog Settle
If I’m doing a passive activity like surfing the web or watching TV, sometimes I’ll set up Mr. N’s mat and have him practice settling on the mat while I relax. I’ll toss treats periodically for signs of relaxation (like flopping onto his side or curling up instead of being a Sphinx, closing his eyes, a less stiff stance) and for choosing to ignore distractions like the neighbor’s dog barking or someone walking up the stairs.
Reward Good Behavior as You See it
I have clickers and treats strewn about the house so there’s usually at least one handy. If I see Mr. N making good decisions and practicing good behavior, I mark it and reward. So if he comes when I call him instead of barking at the door when the pizza delivery arrives, treat time for the little Yorkie pup!
Train Instead of Playing on your Phone or your Vice of Choice
If I’m bored and waiting, my first impulse is to pull out my phone. Take some of that passive time and run through some behaviors instead. I’ll train Mr. N while in line for example. We’ll work on stays or focus or tricks that are easy to do without a lot of movement (sit, shake, cover eyes, sit pretty etc).
Make it a Habit
I usually fit in a minute or two of training as I feed Mr. N his snack. He eats his snack about the same time every day so it’s routine to run through a few tricks that he knows or do a quick clicker training session. I don’t have to think about it as we’re both accustomed to it and it’s on auto-pilot.
Utilize Walk Time and Potty Breaks
You’re going to have to walk your dog and take her out anyway, you might as well multi-task. Practice stays at the door and at crosswalks. Do a few jumps on and off things like logs and steps. Reward for attention when your dog sees squirrels, bikes, chickens, skateboards and Darth Vader riding on a unicycle while playing flaming bagpipes (yes, this has happened).
Those few minutes a day really add up. Consistency is what really matters in dog training rather than training for large swatches of time here and there.
How do you find time to train your dog?
Welcome to First Monday’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Tenacious Little Terrier, Travels with Barley and Wag ‘n Woof Pets. Please share your responsible pet owner positive pet training tips by linking a blog post or leaving a comment below. Our theme for this month is time management and dog training but any positive reinforcement training posts or comments are also always welcome. The Positive Pet Training Blog Hop goes all week long. Our next hop will begin April 3rd and continues for a week.
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