Do you become overwhelmed just thinking about adding another task like training to an already busy schedule? Many dog owners often ask the question “How do I incorporate training into my already crazy day?” So, here are a few suggestions to help you teach and maintain your dog’s good manners without sacrificing too much of your time.

Bright & Early

Begin training as soon as your dog wakes up. There are three very important things dogs want to do in the morning. Easily remembered as the three E’s: Eliminate, Eat, and Explore.

Simply ask your dog to “Sit” at the door before allowing them to go outside. When your dog is starting to eliminate say “do your business.” This is a time saver as it teaches your dog to eliminate on command. When its time to feed your dog ask them to “Wait” place the bowl on the floor, then give them the “Okay.” You can also take a portion of their food and run through a few behaviours rewarding them with kibble.

Reward Good Behaviour

Capturing behaviours that please you, takes no time at all. It is very important to reward your dog’s good behaviour.

When your dog is settling nicely, or walking on a loose leash praise them or toss them a treat. This is an opportunity to communicate with your furry friend your expectations. Reinforcing good manners will increases the probability that your dog will repeat these behaviours.

Life Rewards

This is an activity during the day that your dog finds rewarding. Dogs have their own likes and dislikes. First, make a list of activities your dog considers high value, then pair the items on your list with behaviours:

Behaviour Reward

Sit Throw the Ball

Loose Leash Allow to Sniff

Wait Jump in the Car

Lie Down Message

Witching Hour

Most dogs have a sudden burst of energy between 4 pm to 9 pm in the evening. I like to refer to it as the “Witching Hour.” This time tends to be very frustrating for dog owners. You will be far more productive if you take 10 – 15 minutes for a training session. Stimulate the dog’s brain and exert some pent-up energy, rather than wait for the “witching hour” to subside. Another hint; after the training session give your dog a long-lasting chew treat (Treat-filled Kong, Bully Stick, etc.) and say “All Done.” Chewing is a great way to dissipate the last of the pent up energy.

Daily Walks

This is a great way to multi-task! You can provide your dog with both their physical and mental exercise on a walk. Every street corner is an opportunity to ask for learned behaviour. Training outside with distractions will also help strengthen your dog’s behaviours.

Use items you encounter to make the walk more interesting. By thinking out of the box, you can discover your own agility course. Landscape rocks to jump up, a row of trees to weave through, a park bench as a plank walk. Make it fun for you and your dog!

    – Tracy