When You Have No Time to Train Your Dog


Train Your Dog

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.

Train Your Dog
Mr. N practicing his sit stay and eyes on me.

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.

Train Your Dog on Walk
Practicing “in” and jumping “on” top of the log during a walk.

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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30 Responses

  1. Beth

    March 6, 2017 4:23 am

    We had a lot of similar tips! Walks are such a good way to practice different behaviors in new environments. I love that picture of Mr. N and his new friend with the log!

  2. Jan K

    March 6, 2017 11:48 am

    We all seem to be on the same wave length – fit it in when we can! I especially like your idea to put that phone aside and use that time, and doing some tricks at snack time. We usually just do sits for snacks, but why not ask for a little more than that? That would be really fun if you have company over too, and they like to give a treat. Then you get an opportunity to show off their skills a little bit too!

  3. Pamela Webster

    March 6, 2017 2:20 pm

    Great tips.

    I definitely need to reward Honey more for being relaxed. She does the sphinx thing a lot. 🙂

    BTW, love the new site. You’ll love WordPress. It’s amazing.

  4. Emma

    March 6, 2017 2:46 pm

    We’ll be joining up the end of the week. Training is super easy to fit into every day life, just some sports like tracking take some extra time, but we don’t have to do that every day. Love your new site! At first I thought I was in the wrong spot, LOL!

  5. Sandra crespo

    March 7, 2017 10:24 am

    Ty for this post ! I need to train my dog she’s so spoiled lol but she’s so cute and she was my first child before my little human babies came along lol

  6. Talent Hounds

    March 8, 2017 9:36 am

    I love the photo and the suggestions! Training can be very time-consuming so great ways to fit in reinforcement. I too leave and carry treats around and reward good choices. Kilo needs mental and physical stimulation every few hours so I jump up and we work on a few tricks or behaviors just 2 minutes at a time and play chase and tug and go find. Gets me up from my desk too.

  7. Beth

    March 8, 2017 4:56 pm

    It is easy to feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Making or finding time for little training sessions is easy to do though. Thanks for all your suggestions and tips! Mr. N is such a great ambassador for small dogs!

  8. Christine Caplan

    March 8, 2017 9:11 pm

    You are absolutely right – those minutes do add up! There are so many moments I waste looking at my phone and social media! You reminded me that I should be using the clicker more. I used to use it with Walter and then I just stopped but he does so well with it.

  9. Jessica Shipman | Beagles & Bargains

    March 8, 2017 9:30 pm

    So many great tips! Sometimes finding time to train can be challenging, but it’s important so we make time. One of my favorite tricks is to train sit, down, and stay before they eat meals. Every time I increase the stay time or make it more challenging by walking further away or hiding. It’s been very successful for both Ralph and Luna.

  10. Kim

    March 9, 2017 6:56 am

    We also have jars of treats and clickers around the house to capture good behaviour and treat calm time

  11. Jean Dion

    March 11, 2017 4:49 pm

    I love that approach to training! Scattering it throughout the day like that makes training much more fun for my very distract-able dogs, and I find they’re more likely to pay attention to me if they know they might be asked to do something (and get something) at any point.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  12. Elaine

    March 13, 2017 5:38 pm

    I love this post! There’s so many ways to work on training without setting aside huge chunks of time. I think a lot of people put off training because they think it always has to be formal and structured. Thanks for sharing these fantastic tips!

  13. Dolly the Doxie

    August 30, 2017 5:57 pm

    Wow that’s a guilt trip on us for sure! We pretty much don’t even think about training any more, but I need to work on getting Dolly to stay as I can’t always just have close up pictures of her. But I always forget every time we are out in the back yard. Sandra and Dolly


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