One of the biggest stumbling blocks people have when thinking about signing up for dog training is,
“I don’t have time.”
And of course this isn’t unique to dog training at all!
“I wish I was fit but I don’t have time to go to the gym”
“I wish I could eat healthier but I don’t have time to cook”
“I wish my dog was well behaved but I just don’t have time to train her.”
Have you ever said something like that? I know I have said all of those at one time or another!
Time is precious and so of course we want to spend it where it will benefit us the most.
But what if just five minutes a day could make a big difference over time?
When it comes to training our dogs, every small investment of time goes into the “good behaviour bank account.”
So it’s important that we make that time count and put in as much time as we can. However, it doesn’t need to be hours per day of training. Even short sessions here and there add up. In fact, your dog will retain learning better if taught in short fun sessions.
On top of that, what if I told you that you could incorporate training that makes a big difference to your dog’s behaviour without even setting aside training time? You can.
Here’s some tips on how to fit in training without even setting aside time for a training session.
- Nothing in life is free (NILIF).This is a concept that you can apply to your daily life with your dog that will strengthen your relationship, solidify your leadership and fit in training practice in little bits throughout daily life.Pick a command your dog knows, like sit. Now practice your dog’s sit command every time your dog is going to earn something from you. And by something, I mean anything and everything.Dog wants to go out/come in? Sit first and then get access as a reward. Dog wants affection? Practice that sit first for a few seconds and then get affection for a reward. Feeding time? You guessed it – let’s see that sit first. Oh and focus on me, not the bowl too….You can see how a reward is what your dog wants most at the time, not necessarily a toy or treat. As long as your dog wants something, you can use it as pay for good behaviour.
- Walks are training sessions.Your dog is always learning from your interactions together. So whether you like it or not, your walks are training sessions. Are they teaching your dog things that work to your advantage? Or are your walks a free for all?Of course your dog can still enjoy the walk and have some free time. But if you’re trying to install good habits (and aren’t we all?) then you can make the most of your walk time by making it a more purposeful training session and walk in one.As a bonus, learning is tiring. More so than physical exercise. So when you combine the two, your dog will be extra tired and satisfied at the end.You can start with a simple sit at random intervals like the curb, and at those lines on the footpath. To teach your dog to focus on you more on walks, don’t walk again until your dog looks up at you. This is their ticket out of the sit. Adding this one skill to your walk and make a big difference to your dog’s focus and calmness on your walks.
- Stay there while I’m busyYou can teach your dog to stay on their bed while you’re busy. Keep a bowl of treats on the counter while you’re cooking and while your dog is on the bed, toss them a treat at random intervals and give them praise.OR do the same thing while you’re watching TV (if you have time for that sort of thing) and just have your dog learn to chill while you chill.
So there are three easy tips for fitting in training time, even when you’re busy. If you were to put all three into place, you would notice a positive change in your dog’s behaviour in a short amount of time.
And remember, your dog is always learning from you in every interaction you have together – what are you training them?