The word “or” does not have to be in the phrase “Training or living with your dog.”
Let me explain what I mean.
Dog Training Can Be Frustrating
First look at your family lifestyle, then look at your new dog. The thought of the whole training process and just how it’s all going to work or come together is overwhelming.
You feel bombarded with all the different training concepts, the principles and the philosophies. It’s just too much!
You assume there should be a distinction or barrier between what you do in your daily life with your family and training your dog(s). That is to say, training takes “scheduled time” that needs to be separate from your family time.
Somewhere you heard that dogs need to learn in a distraction-free environment. Seriously?
In your world that’s the last thing you have with 3 kids under the age of 12, a cat and a new dog! How is that going to work Mr. Trainer?
How You Separate Dog Training Into its Own Niche
You may find yourself reluctantly putting your dog in the backyard (or crate) while you tend to a family-related tasks.
All the while knowing that you are turning to this solution way too much. At times it’s a “must” but maybe there are times when you could leave him inside and begin blurring the line of family life and dog training.
Eventually, you want your dog to be in the house with the family all the time, but how can you do both things at once?
Don’t let this task become paralyzing.
But how do you get started? How does the blending process work?
Real Life Can Blend with Training Your Dog
Your dog is still learning something even if you are not teaching your dog a command in a scheduled training session. He learns by simply living with you.
He’s just figuring out what works for him. If it works, he’ll repeat it – if it doesn’t work he’ll drop it from his list of things that work for him.
Your job is to help him learn what works for him in your home by “blending” training into your family lifestyle. Your secret is that what works for him actually works for you and your family too. That’s a win-win deal.
Let me explain.
The Line between Training OR Living with Your Dog Blurs
Here’s an example. You’re getting ready to do laundry. You put your untrained dog away (crate/backyard, etc.) so he can’t steal laundry items.
Try this instead. Save half of his meal and use it like this. Give him a pre-stuffed Kong toy or pre-stuff a “doggie food-dispensing toy” for him to work on while you are doing the laundry. Win-win
You are watching television and your dog still jumps up on you since you’ve not taught him to go to his bed. Use part of your dog’s food (one kibble at a time) to increase the value of his dog bed or a location on the floor where you would prefer him to be.
Just toss a kibble on his bed or in that area and as he goes there say, “Good!” just before he gets the kibble. Do this a dozen times and stop. When he comes back over to you, don’t touch, look at or communicate with him (no TLC). He’ll start heading back to that “high value” spot to see if he missed something. That’s your cue to praise/treat his going back over there. He’ll eventually stay there. Later you can add a sit or down as well.
If you think about it, dogs usually get all their dog food at once in their bowl for “one single sit.” This way, he still gets his food only it’s one or two kibbles at a time for giving you good dog behavior as he figures out what works for him.
This is important. When you see your dog doing any behavior you like immediately praise/treat that behavior.
He will definitely notice what works in that moment. He will then strive to give you more of that behavior instead of the unwanted behavior.
You then spend far less energy and time rewarding the good behavior instead of correcting the behavior you don’t like.
Now it’s not scheduled or even drudgery because you’ve worked your training into your daily life with your family.
If you think that’s still too much for your plate, then just take one thing at a time that bugs you about your dog and work on that one thing. Move onto something else once you get that one thing under control.
Focus on your list of “doggie-dos” and tackle them one do at a time.
Scheduled dog training sessions do have to happen eventually but it can take a momentary back seat to your doggie-do list.
If you consistently tackle your doggie-do list every day in every way, you and your dog will be much less stressed. Before you know it you’ll have a well-mannered dog.
Together We Can Raise A Happy and Obedient Dog
Jim Burwell, is Houston’s most respected dog trainer for 30 years, serving over 11,000 clients. Jim works with you and your entire family in helping your dog be the best dog ever.