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Having Trouble Finding the Time to Train Rover?

How to easily integrate dog training into your daily life
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Rewards don’t have to be food. Get creative with the use of non-food rewards:
• Going outside after waiting at the door
• Getting to chase the ball after sitting politely
• Being allowed on the bed after being told to 'jump up'
• A belly rub after going to their bed

The Savvy Trainer

When a young pup or newly adopted adult dog joins our family, we have great intentions. We resolve to do whatever it takes to train and socialize this dog. We buy training books, do research on the Internet, and sign up for a class. For the first few weeks we are diligent with our training efforts, but once Rover settles into our home, training is overshadowed by other priorities. 

For most of us, it’s hard to find time for one more thing in our already over- scheduled days. Training the dog takes a back seat because it seems optional until Rover develops some horrible behavior that is really hard to correct. Finding a way to create good habits from the beginning will save you time and frustration later, and it’s not hard if you just do a little planning ahead of time.

Dogs are pack animals. They need social interaction and structure to thrive. The 'Nothing in Life is Free' method makes our dogs work for every reward they receive. Rewards can be food, attention, play time, or anything the dog enjoys. If I make my dog wait before going out the door, I don’t have to give her a treat when I release her with an 'OK.' Getting to go out is the reward.

The easiest way to train our dogs is by integrating training into every single interaction we have with them.

Training sessions are most effective when they are short, fun, and the dog is motivated to work. For most dogs, hunger equals motivation. Measure out half of your dog’s daily ration of kibble and put it in a baggie. Use these as training treats throughout the day. I love this method because it keeps me honest. If I don’t train, my dog doesn’t eat. 

Here are some examples of how training can easily be integrated into your day:
• Wake up and go out to potty: 'Wait' by the door to go out.  'Good dog' when they go.
• Breakfast time: Practice some cues before eating. (sit, down, watch me, shake, etc.)
• Time to eat: 'Wait' for the food bowl to be put on the floor and 'OK' as a release to eat.
• Morning walk: 'Wait' to go through the door.  Say 'Walk with me' if walking on leash. If Rover is off leash, periodically call him back to you and then release with 'Go play.' Stop periodically and give your dog a cue. (sit, down, etc.)
• Time to get in the car: 'Load up,' 'Wait,' and 'Unload' can be part of this common routine.

This kind of schedule creates structure and rules that allow you to train as you move through the day. If you are lucky enough to live in a multi-dog household, these routines are even more important. You will be amazed how quickly your dog learns to follow the rules and you can stop feeling guilty for letting yet another day go by without training.

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March 14, 2019