dog training routines

Dog Training Routines: A Fresh Approach to Good Manners

I now have to do dog training routines on top of everything else I have to do on a daily basis?!

I know, dog training routines sounds like a daunting task. I know because I get those looks from clients that seem to say, “You’ve got to be kidding, right!”

dog training routines

Like most other dog owners, you want a well-mannered dog but you don’t have a lot of time to put into lots of training.

I get it.  I also understand the frustration when my clients don’t see training progress and continue to have the same complaints.  Trust me it is just as frustrating on my end.  

That’s why I want to tell you about Sally.

Along Came Sally

Sally is a stay at home mom with two kids – ages 10 and 12 years old. Sally is also the proud owner of Burt, a 7 month old Lab mix that’s a “work-in-progress.”

Sally’s plate is more than full with kids in school, kid sports and other activities. Everything Sally does must be on a schedule. I’m sure you moms out there can relate.

When I was asked to help Sally with Burt, I challenged her to put Burt’s training on a schedule just like everything else on her daily schedule.

At first the idea of scheduling dog training routines was a little overwhelming and really odd.  That was until Sally looked at Burt’s dog training like she did scheduling her kid’s activities.

It made all the difference in the world.

Burt’s Base Expectations

Now here’s where it starts getting better! Sally didn’t have big chunks of time to do training but she did have very small pieces of time on her schedule for Burt’s training.

We first taught Burt his basic commands: come, sit, down and off.

How she scheduled his dog training routines made all the difference in the world for Sally – and Burt.

You’re Going to Love This

Sally showed me her schedule for Burt’s training and I’ve got to tell you, I was so impressed I had to share part of her schedule with you. I hope this can give you a new or different perspective on training your “work-in-progress.”

6:00 a.m. Wake up

It’s time to get Burt out for his morning pee but not before requiring him to sit to be let out of his crate. Good crate door manners = good front/back door manners – eventually.
Burt sits before going out and sits to come back inside.

6:15 a.m. Wake up kids

Burt helps to get the kids up (on leash in the house.) He has to sit at each bedroom door, he then gets to go to their bed and help her get the kids up so they can get dressed for school.

6:30 a.m. Feed kids and Burt

The kids are at the table waiting for their breakfast. Burt waits on his mat but not too patiently. Sally puts him in a down on his mat tethered to the china hutch leg so she can prepare food. Each time he gets up Sally makes him lay down again. At first this was difficult but is easy now. Sally feeds the kids, then makes Burt sit and down for his food. Dishes and dog food bowl go in the sink for later.

7:30 a.m. Burt helps Sally take the kids to school.

Burt has to sit to go out the back door, next a sit to load up in the car. Once everyone is buckled in, it’s off to school.

8:00 a.m. Burt and Sally return for KP duty.

It’s time to clean up the kitchen and for Burt to do a down/stay on the mat as Sally loads the dishwasher. Yum! All those smells! With no kids around Sally can focus on distraction training Burt on the down-stay around the dirty dishes. Lot’s of smells here!

The bottom line

Sally’s approach to dog training was easy because she looked at it differently.

Sally didn’t view it as an added burden taking a big chunk of time out of her already busy schedule. Instead Burt was included in as many natural occurring activities around the house as she could.

Burt was crate trained so when Sally felt overwhelmed, she crated Burt with a stuffed Kong, giving her and the family time to themselves.

Burt got time in his “man cave” to chill out with his Kong and stuffies.

Sally’s evening relief comes in the form of a husband who takes over with Burt for training and walks with the kids. A similar pattern of expectations (sit or down on the mat) are required for Burt at night to continue developing good manners in the house when the family has time together.

Sally knew that if she could schedule training activities for Burt (just like the kids); i.e. down/stay while she loaded the dishwasher, his expectations of what to do and when to do it would become predictable.

“Now I get it!”

Once Burt recognized these daily exercises/activities as regular occurrences, he began to see a routine shaping up. Dogs thrive on routines.

Schedule your dog training routines daily. Everyone will be happy and smiling.

I’m really interested in your thoughts and opinions on this. Comment below, I’m here to help.

Remember:  “Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

Jim Burwell is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 25+ years, serving over 10,000 clients.  Jim takes the science of dog training and makes it work in your home with your family and dog.  He gives you the ability to get the same great behavior from your dog.

3 replies
  1. Candee Teitel
    Candee Teitel says:

    I love the idea! It is often difficult to get clients to incorporate what they taught the dog into something useful. The idea of a schedule is a win win for the dog, the trainer, and the rest of the family. Another benefit is that it causes the trainer to think about what behavior they want/need at the moment, and then practice it and it becomes useful.

  2. Sara
    Sara says:

    This was good. I have never put it together that a dog having a routine and you have a routine with your dog could make like easier. I do that with my kids!

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