Many people struggle to find the time to train their dogs, and with today’s busy lifestyles, I am very sympathetic to the problem. (Between my work with dogs, my writing, teaching at the university, being a wife and mom, coaching soccer and my running, I am always strapped for time. In fact, lately I have adopted a policy of, “If it’s not on fire, I’m not putting it out yet.”) And yet, I think it’s possible to find time to train our dogs. It’s a matter of squeezing in a minute here, a minute there, rather than trying to find those elusive big blocks of time. Of course, I’m in favor of more training over less, but it’s better to incorporate a little training into daily life than to do no training at all.
- Do a couple of repetitions of sit and down each time a commercial comes on TV. (For people with TiVo, it is still possible to work in a sit or two while you are skipping past the commercials.)
- Ask your dog for a stay each morning while you are brushing your teeth.
- Have your dog wait at the door each time you go outside, even when if you are just going out to get the paper or out for a walk together.
- Practice a trick or two while you are out on a walk.
- Do a minute of heeling practice when you are in the back yard for any reason such as to water the flowers, dump your compost, or to have a cup of coffee on the back porch.
- Call your dog to come when you are about to go on a walk. (It’s one of the easiest ways to teach your dog that good things happen when he responds to the cue “come!”)
- Have your dog heel with you each time you head to the bathroom.