Welcome to National Train Your Dog Month, where you're encouraged to "make training a part of everyday life with your dog." You're also likely to be trying to stick to some New Year's fitness goals and/or some new diet improvements/restrictions. How do you fit it all in? Well, as I attempt to adjust to a post-holiday schedule, including training time, the words of a former dog training instructor echo's in my head: "Every walk is a training walk." Even though it is possible to mentally stimulate and alter the behaviors of your highly intelligent best friend with as little as ten minutes of training each day, it's hard to find the time for everything. With three dogs to train, I often find myself combining walking time with training time.
When we walk/jog for exercise, the dogs are expected to keep my pace and, while they needn't maintain a proper "heel," they are supposed to focus on exercising. This is excellent practice for the dogs "with me" command- which is what I use to tell them to focus when they don't have to do a formal "watch"- as well as occasional "leave it" and"quiet" commands. I praise them for obeying "wait" (at crossings) as well as ninety degree "right" and "left" turn commands. I always carry a clicker although I don't always use it since I no longer carry treats on every walk. The dogs have come to expect a treat upon return to the house. They have learned that proper behavior the entire walk is worthy of a reward. Of course, this came from years of constant training, praise, clicking and treating on walks.
During errand walks and visits, polite behavior is also expected. "Quiet," "off" and "say hello" are commonly practiced commands.
We also try to make time for training when we return from a walk. The dogs practice a "home to your house" or "home to your yard" command (this is a great discernment exercise because the choice is up the steps to the porch or staying on the narrow path to the side gate.) Once in the yard, we practice "wait" at the gate and random recalls. In the house, we practice "go to your bed" and "wait" at the door.
Making time to fit in training can be as easy as taking a walk with your dog everyday. Here are some tips for making the most of your walking and training time together:
Which of these tips might help you make time to train each day?
Thank you for joining Cascadian Nomads, Dachshund Nola & Tenacious Little Terrier for the premier of our first Monday Positive Pet Training Blog Hop. Each month, bloggers and readers share and learn about positive pet training techniques, tools, frustrations and triumphs. Please join us next month, Monday, February 3rd, to celebrate Responsible Pet Owners Month. We encourage posts about how training and maintaining socialization makes you and your pet better members of society. Please share tips for life long pet socialization, important cues in a well behaved pet, taking the CGC test, howwell behaved pets are more accepted places, etc. However, any posts about positive based training with any pets are welcome in our blog hop this and every month.