We all lead busy lives these days, I know that I sometimes wonder where the days go! Time seems to fly by, maybe it’s a sign I’m getting older!
If you have a dog, you may wonder how you are going to get any training completed when there are so many other distractions pulling at you for attention. Well, the good news is that you really don’t need to spend ages on a training session with your dog. In fact, it is far more effective to train your dog for no longer than two minutes at a time! Or 30 seconds for a puppy.
This prevents boredom and helps prevent the possibility of the dog becoming distracted and switching off. When I run classes, the approximate time they run for is 45 minutes. This enables me and my wonderful helpers to advise, give help and enough focus and attention on each individual dog and handler.
Our goal is to give you the tools to go away and practice what you have been taught with your dog in your own time-there’s lots of homework suggestions, it’s just a matter of finding the time!
So, when you are at home, the best advice is to keep the training sessions short and sweet. Keep a big box of prepared training treats ready in the fridge and access them when you have a couple of minutes to do some training. It can be really helpful to set a timer before you start training so you don’t get carried away and do too long!
So, where do we find those couple of minutes? Here are some suggestions along with exercises you could practice in the time:
1/ While the kettle is boiling for a cuppa: sit/down/stay/leave the room for two seconds.
2/Having a shower: settle on a bed/stay/focus on an enrichment toy/puzzle in the same room or another place.
3/ Getting dressed: settle on bed/stay/focus on a chew or snuffle mat in a different room.
4/Having a quick snack at the table: sit/down/settle on bed.
5/Taking the rubbish out: loose lead walking/find it game/stay/wait and recall.
6/Going out to feed the chickens /cat/other animals: loose lead walking/find a scatter of treats, remaining calm while other animal is getting attention.
7/Chatting to a neighbour at the gate: sit, calm behaviour/say hi politely/food scatter to keep busy and calm.
8/ Opening the door to the post person or delivery person: either sit, calm behaviour for greeting/or settling on bed or mat indoors with treats of snuffle mat while door opens.
9/Walking around the garden: loose lead walking/ wait/ recall/stay.
10/ Walking to the post box just up the road: loose lead walking/walking calmly with treats past distractions.
I have to admit, I find it difficult to find time for training sessions in the day sometimes, but I do use the above suggestions when I remember!
At the end of the day, if you manage one two-minute session every day, that’s brilliant, well done! You may well find it is so much fun you want to do another two-minute session later in the day!
Training can be very reinforcing for the owner as much as the dog!! It means you may have an easier dog to live with who learns useful life skills, it can deepen your connection with your dog, it helps the dog focus and see you as a source of valuable reward, and mostly, above all, it is great fun!
However much training you manage to fit into your day, remember to simply enjoy your dogs this week!
For more info, go to www.canineconnections.co.uk