We all have very busy lives. In fact, one of the things I hear most often from clients is “training takes too much time,” or “I don’t have time to do this every day.” Between working, taking the kids to school, helping with homework, housework, etc., it can be easy to let the dog training slide.
Even I am guilty of doing it with my personal dogs! But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few tips to fitting in your dog’s training, even with the busiest of schedules.
1. Short Sessions are the Key
Not only is a five to ten minute training session so much easier to squeeze in, it’s easier on your dog, too. Most dogs do better with a few short sessions a day rather than one long session once a day. This can really help when you are trying to fit training into your schedule – you don’t have to block out a large chunk of time.
2. Share the Load
Make sure everyone in the family is helping out with the training. This helps make sure no one feels “burdened” by having to train the dog every day.
Instead, involve anyone who lives in the house. Be sure to have a list of cues the dogs knows and behaviors he needs to work on, and keep it somewhere easy for everyone to see to make sure you’re all on the same page. Bonus! This will create a dog that listens to everyone in the house, not just the one person who works with them.
3. Make a Schedule
Planning when you are going to train will help you not forget or end up “not having time.” This also helps with making sure someone in your family doesn’t pull the “I thought she was training the dog today” card.
Instead, you can plan who trains the dog on which day. For example, maybe your kids train him on days you work late, and you train on days they have games. Weekends are rotated. Whatever works for you and your family, a schedule will help make sure the dog is not forgotten.
Outings do take up a bit of time. If you have a dog that needs to work on distractions or being around other people and dogs, this does require a bit of planning.
Put outings on your schedule so you don’t forget and plan them on less-busy days. Then, on the other days, you and your dog can work on behaviors that will help him cope when he does go on outings, such as focusing on you, mat work, etc.
If you are not working on behavior modification but just need to get your dog out for socialization, loose leash walking, etc., pick dog-friendly stores that you need items at so you can do your shopping while training your dog – multitasking at its best.
5. Be Creative
There are lots of ways to incorporate training into your daily routines. Some examples:
- Take your dog on your workout walk.
- Have your child reward your dog for a mat stay while she sits and does her homework.
- Watching TV? Movies or TV sounds are great for working on sound-sensitivity. Or, during commercials work on your dog’s obedience cues.
- Waiting for your kids to get out at school? Your pup can even work on cues in the car, such as sit, leave it, down, even stay!
- Have your dog work on staying outside the kitchen while you cook dinner.
- Your dog can be rewarded for being quiet in his crate while you eat dinner.
The possibilities are almost endless!
Using a bit of creativity can really help fit training into even the busiest schedule, and it’s actually good for your dog to learn to work in all those types of situations. It’s a win-win for everyone. Do you have a unique way of fitting your dog training into your hectic schedule? Share in the comments.