Continuous training with your dog(s) is very important, however, with busy schedules and demanding workloads, finding time to train your dog can be a challenge. Continuing training for your dog doesn’t have to be a separate and time-consuming task. You can actually use everyday tasks to work on and encourage behaviors you would like to see out of our dog.
Establish a Routine
Meal times are already a part of your dog’s daily routine. It is also an excellent opportunity to work with your dog on basic commands, impulse control, and patience. Start with the basics by putting your dog in a sit-and-stay while you place their bowl on the ground. They are only allowed to eat their food until you give their release command. As always practice makes perfect. If your dog does not stay, pick up the food bowl and try again.
The more you practice, the easier it will get. Once your pet has mastered this, make it harder by adding distance, distractions, additional commands, or recalling once they have reached their food bowl. If you have multiple dogs, work on releasing them individually by their name.
Taking your dog on a walk can be an enjoyable exercise for both you and your pet. You can also use this time to exercise your dog mentally as well as physically. You can work on loose leash walking, basic commands, and being able to get eye contact with your dog when asked. Give your dog the first 10 minutes of a walk to be able to go to the bathroom and sniff as they please. After their time, they must then be focused on what behavior yous ask them to do. The last 10 minutes of a walk is again, their time to mentally decompress after mentally working. During the “dogs” portion of the walk, it is important to note your dog should still be respectful of you as a handler by not pulling and continuing moving on the walk. If they are not behaving during their time, it should be corrected.
Make the Most of Playtime
Having playtime with your dog can also be training time. For example, if your dog likes to play fetch, use that time to ask for basic commands such as sit or down before throwing the ball again. You can also put your dog in a sit-and-stay before throwing the ball. Have your dog stay until they are released to go retrieve the ball. If your dog enjoys tug-o-war, ask your dog to drop the toy in the middle of your game, once they do, reward and continue the game.
Short sessions are a great way to keep your dog engaged and focused. Be sure to use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage your dog and make the sessions enjoyable.
Household chores are an excellent opportunity to train your dog. For example, if you are vacuuming, you can train your dog to stay in one place while you vacuum the room. This helps your dog learn how to stay calm and relaxed in a potentially stressful situation. If you are doing laundry, you can work on door control by not allowing your dog to go through the doorway until invited to do so.
Consistency is Key
Consistency is essential when it comes to dog training. Dogs learn best when they are exposed to consistent training and reinforcement. If you are inconsistent with your training, your dog may become confused and may not respond as well to your commands.
To maintain consistency, use verbal cues and positive reinforcement techniques consistently. Make sure that everyone in your household is on the same page when it comes to training and that everyone is using the same commands and techniques.
Adding these little additional training times throughout your day only takes a few extra minutes but can make a huge difference in the long run. Start simple and progressively increase the difficulty through additional commands, distance, or distractions as your dog continues to master what is asked of them. If you have questions feel free to contact us.