Are you working 9-5, getting home later than usual and not having the energy or time to spend on working obedience with your dog? Don't worry, you are not alone. Living on Long Island is getting very expensive and now many households have two working adults, and working teens too. So, Fido is getting less and less attention than usual. I will share with you a few tips on using your time at home wisely, and incorporating your dog's obedience into your daily routine. It will benefit you both so greatly - Fido will be getting more attention than ever and you will be rewarded with a well behaved dog.
The first thing to do is to put your training collar and a 6-foot leash on your dog. Only have this on him in the house while he is supervised by you because his leash can get caught in something and he can get hurt! The following is a list of easy ways to work your dog while you are getting other stuff done.
1. It's 7 am, you just wake up...you wander over to the bathroom, tired and not yet ready to start your day. But your dog has other ideas. If he is anything like mine, I usually wake up with a toy or a tennis ball near my head on the bed. So he is ready to play and ready to please. While you are getting dressed or going to the bathroom/showering, give him a command, like sit or down. Begin to go about your routine. If he moves or breaks his command, say a firm no or hey and give him a motivational leash correction. Repeat the command and put him back in the stay, in the same exact place. After a few moments of him staying, reward him and go back to your business. Each time he breaks the stay, correct him. After several days of this, or if you are communicating effectively with your dog, you will get the result you want in the first day and you will have mastered a half hour to 45-minute down stay. Pretty impressive for a morning's work.
2. Feed him after this session, (of course he should have been walked already), but again turn feeding time into a short motivating training session. Put his food out in his bowl. Give a command, sit or down. In other words, don't let him go to his bowl. Put on your coffee and have your breakfast. After you sit down and begin eating, give him a release command like ok, and allow him to approach his bowl and eat. This exercise is especially useful for dogs who like to think they are the leader of your pack. By eating first and allowing him to eat only on your command, you are strongly reinforcing your role as his alpha in his head.
3. Stuff a kong with peanut butter to keep him busy while you are putting on your make-up and having coffee.
4. When you go out to your car to warm it up, bring Fido along. Have him practice walking with you on a loosh leash (he should have been doing this on his earlier walk, but you can never have enough practice), and have him sit out near the car while you start it up.
5. Going back inside, you go through the door first and have Fido wait there until you give him a release command. Now it is time to put him in his crate and he will be pretty tired and ready to rest after all that stimulation in the morning.
6. You get home from work and walk him. During the walk, make it productive. Practice all the commands, sit, stay, come, heel. Make him work, even if his walk is only a half hour or so.
7. You are going to start dinner. Same deal as the morning, put him in a down stay.
8. Sitting down to eat. Repeat the breakfast exercise.
9. Before you clean up from dinner, bring Fido into a room and let him sniff a treat. Go and hide the treat somewhere. Give him a release command to let him find it. While he is looking you can tidy up from dinner. This exercise may take some more work that I described, so email me if you want more details on getting your dog to find stuff.
10. The best practice for a down stay you can do in your house is putting on an exercise video and doing everything with Fido holding a down stay right in front of you for the whole video. He cannot roll to his side, or get distracted. Keep his attention and correct him if he gets up.
Even if you pick two or three of these to do with your dog during the day, your dog will begin to improve on his obedience overnight.
Good luck and have fun!!!