A common question for dog owners is, what sort of time commitment is it going to take to get my dog trained?
And it's a valid concern. After all, we want well behaved, obedient dogs, but we also have busy lives filled with work, kids, family commitments, and social time, too. So today I want to offer my take on how to efficiently train your dog and keep that training going for years to come.
1. The Walk
This is a biggie. Each and every dog owner should make an effort to walk their dog every day.
First, your dog needs to stretch their legs and burn off some extra energy. We all do. How much exercise your dog needs will vary based on age and breed, and you can certainly supplement the walk with high-intensity activities like fetch or swimming, but don't skip the walk!
It's not just about exercise. The walk is when your dog will get routine exposure to distractions, which helps reinforce staying calm and focused and practicing impulse control. It's also when you'll practice loose-leash heeling, as well as your other commands like sit, down, and coming when called. Safe to say a lot of training happens on the walk.
I recommend 45 minutes a day or so, but do what you can and adjust as needed based on your schedule and dog.
Practice makes perfect, as they say. You'll need routine practice if your dog is going to get really good at performing and holding their obedience commands.
I like to keep training sessions relatively short, usually 10-15 minutes, but even 5 minutes at a time will do. Shoot for 2-3 training sessions a day to go over whatever commands you're working on. Even when you've covered all your commands, keep practicing by doing combinations like calling your dog around the house and putting them in a down or place command.
Everything we've talked about so far is active stuff, meaning you're actively engaged with your dog and taking time to train them. It also involves your dog moving around either by walking with you or rehearsing their commands.
Duration is different, but no less important. In fact, it's some of the most valuable training you'll do, and it's totally passive. Cool huh?
Have your dog in place or a down while you're going about your life. Doing some work? Cooking or eating a meal? Watching TV or reading a book? Have your dog in a duration command to reinforce calmness and impulse control no matter what's going on. It's a fantastic exercise and should be practiced daily.
There you have it, some easy tips on how to integrate dog training into your daily life. It'll take a little time, but keep at it and, most importantly, stay consistent!