When it comes to training our dogs, one of the most common concerns we have is not being able to make time to train them. While it would be great if everyone was able to spend hours a day working with their dogs, for most people, it’s just not a realistic expectation, especially in Singapore. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make progress in training your dog in just a few short sessions each day. Here are 10 ways that you can work on improving your dog’s manners without making any major changes to your daily routine!
Sit-Stay for the Food Bowl
Most of us feed our dogs once or twice a day, and that’s an opportune time to work on impulse control. Ask your dog to sit and then slowly lower his food bowl towards the ground. If he breaks his stay, the food bowl comes up. If he keeps his bottom on the ground while you place the food bowl down, then you can release him to eat!
Hand Touch for the Toy
Does your dog like toys? Ask him for a simple behaviour like a Hand Touch the next time that he brings you a toy. As soon as he touches his nose to your hand, throw the toy and start a round of fetch. It’s a great way to reinforce behaviours while playing with your dog at the same time.
Tricks during Commercial Breaks
Instead of watching a boring TV commercial, you can use those few minutes to work on some tricks with your dog. Keep a jar of treats close by and make the commercial break a little more exciting by working on a fun, new trick!
‘Leave It’ on Walks
Your daily walk is an excellent time to work on your dog’s Leave It cue. There are going to be a myriad of distractions to tempt him! Any time that he gets sidetracked by a person, dog, smell, stick, etc., stop walking for a second and ask him to Leave It. As soon as he does, treat him and then continue on your way.
Come when Called on Walks
It’s also really easy to work on your recall on your walk. Give your dog the entire length of his leash and let him investigate all of the smells in different areas along your route. After he gets a minute or two of sniffing, ask him to come to you. When he does, you can reward him by letting him go back to sniffing or by moving on to a different spot to re-start the game.
Practice Heeling around the House
Heeling doesn’t have to be something that you only practice when out on a walk. Try asking your dog to heel with you as you move around the house doing your daily chores. It’s a great way to add distractions to your heel work and clean the house at the same time!
Down-Stay in the Kitchen
Most dogs are very interested in anything that you do when cooking in the kitchen. Asking your dog to hold a Down-Stay while you’re making dinner is a great way to work on his self-control and keep him from getting underfoot.
Settle on the Mat while You’re on the Computer
The moment that I sit down at the computer and start working is usually the same moment that my dogs choose to start getting a little rowdy. Asking them to settle on the mat while I’m working is an excellent way to teach them how to relax when I’m busy and it also allows me to get my work done!
Knock Knock Game
Does your dog bark when someone knocks on the door? You can easily work on desensitising him to the sound of the knock throughout the day. Keep some little treats by the door. Whenever you pass by, knock a couple of times and then immediately drop some treats on the floor for your dog to eat. After some practice, he will be looking to you in excitement instead of charging at the door whenever he hears a knock.
Sit to Greet
Think about how often your dog asks for attention throughout the day. For most dogs, it’s a lot. Next time your dog asks for some petting from you, ask him to sit first. You are reinforcing polite behaviour and he gets a belly rub!
How did you train your dog at home? Share them here!