How to fit Dog Training into our lives
It's been exactly a month since my last blog post about Angus's preparations! Where does the time go? It's easy for us to feel guilty about not being able to fit in enough time to train our dogs or feel like whatever we do achieve isn't enough or that we should be progressing faster - this is all normal and happens to the best of us! We all live busy lives with the commitments of work, family, friends, hobbies, household chores, care duties and everything else that happens in our life.
For this post I'm going to mention some ways that I fit in training around general life obligations. Maybe it could help you find time in your week to spend a little bit more time training with your dog.
Before and During Walks
We all have to walk our dogs to keep them physically and mentally stimulated while keeping up their socialisation, so we might as well use this time that we spend anyway to do a bit of training on our walks. Here are some ways to fit in training into our usual dog walks;
Waiting to get lead put on
Waiting at front door
Waiting to get in and out of car
Waiting at kerbs and traffic lights
Waiting before going off lead
Waiting for a photo
Waiting while you pick up their poo
Walking without pulling
Coming back when called during walks - not just at end when I need to put lead back on
Waiting before letting them out into garden
Associating them coming back into house with cue "In"
Training when your dog wants to play - asking for a cue before throwing ball/tugging
Training during ad breaks or while next episode loads on Netflix
Sending dog to bed while you have dinner
Practise coming back when called - use their food or a game when they get to you
Practise walking beside you without a lead - again use their food or a game
At their meal times take 10-20 pieces of their meal and use those for training before giving them the rest of their bowl/give rest in a puzzle feeder
Out and About
Taking the dog in the car while you fuel up, go to the shops etc to teach the dog to settle in car and that it doesn't always end in a walk (weather permitting of course!)
Take the dog with you where possible - dog friendly shops, cafés, bars etc to keep up socialisation
At vet appointments arrive a few minutes early and do some training in waiting room, with the scales etc to create positive associations with being at the vets
Attending Classes or other Events
Registering for a training class, workshop or other doggy event will mean that you are more likely to commit to training and at the very least you know you will spend an hour or so each week completely dedicated to your dog. I still take Angus to class on a regular basis to keep up his socialisation and training around distractions.
My next set of puppy and adult dog classes starts on Friday 6th April and are 6 weeks long. Puppy class is from 7pm-8pm and adult class is 8pm-9pm. If you'd like to sign up for class you can register online here.
In the near future I will be starting up a drop in class on Saturday mornings in Newtownabbey so that dogs and their owners can drop in and practise their training for an hour whenever they are available. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page to receive the latest news on upcoming classes.
Do you have any tips or tricks for fitting your training into your daily routine?