Spontaneous dog training can be great for most dog parents, when there is very little time remaining in a day to train our dogs like we all want to. There is already so much going on with work, the kids and more! If you have a busy life, most things need to be scheduled and planned. However, a little bit of spontaneous dog training can go a long way, especially if you have been ignoring any undesired behaviors due to the lack of time to train properly and correct those behaviors.
Our dogs are basically what we have taught them to be, or not taught them to be. Unfortunately, it is possible that without any time to train, you may have inadvertently created time for them to acquire bad habits. Let’s fix it!
Quick and spontaneous, short learning experiences can be fun for all and easily applied within the normal course of your day / night. Create training opportunities that take a minute or so. Your dog may surprise you at how quickly they learn.
Let’s say that you are finally able to sit and watch the television for bit. During commercial breaks, give them the command to “Come” (in your command voice, say their Name + Come). Place a small treat on the floor in front of them and practice the command “Leave it”. Once a 30 second commercial is over release them from the command state (“OK“) and let them enjoy their prize and praise them for learning. See that, you didn’t even have to get off the coach and your dog got some practice!
If you think of dog training as a “lifestyle”, it makes dog training easier and less of a daunting task. It is also fun for all. You are creating opportunities to train your dog that fit your life and your schedule exactly. As a bonus, it keeps things interesting and challenging for your dog. In fact, over time, your dog will eventually associate these events as “training” and the simple act of complying will become a reward in itself!
We are sure that you can think of more, but here are a few ideas for potential, spontaneous training opportunities:
During a TV commercial break – work on Leave It (the above example).
During their bath, brushing them or trimming their nails – work on Sit, Down, Stand, Roll Over.
Of course, during a walk – work on Heel, Sit, Stay.
While you are cooking dinner or eating dinner – work on Down, Stay, Place.
While taking a break from home work, facebook, emails, etc – Tell them them good boy/girl and that they are doing great job learning. If your break is longer, do something fun with them. Remind them that you love them.
While at Vet’s waiting room or any other place – work on Sit, Down, Stand, Off, Touch.
When getting dressed – work on Down, Stay, Place.
When you are going to the restroom (if your dog follows you already, if not, command them to come) – work on Heel at the doorway followed by Stay outside the bathroom door.
Always reward and praise them. Be sure to always release them from a command state. If they don’t quite get it right at first, try to remember that it’s really not their fault and be patient.