Train Without 'Training'.
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
If you’ve read my post about my philosophy on the ‘stay’ command, you know that I’m a bit of a Bruce Lee aficionado. To further solidify my nerdiness in that realm, Kato was named after Bruce’s character in the Green Hornet, which was the role that launched his career in Hollywood. Thus, another Bruce quote. History lesson complete - You’re welcome.
You and your dog do life together 24/7, yet for some reason we all, myself included, can tend to forget about that. We segment our days into work, meals, chores, down time, training time, etc. Yet our dogs are always paying attention, learning and being trained-even when we aren’t specifically training them. Don’t get me wrong-structured training sessions are very important and go a long way toward learning specific capabilities and behaviors. However, our dogs can and do benefit from little training ‘instances’ throughout the day, when possible.
This works especially well with puppies, who have a shorter attention span and need more downtime throughout the day. I’ll often grab my treat bag while cooking dinner, picking up the house or going about whatever other daily activities are required, using this time to train as well.
• Pull a climb into the kitchen and reward for duration while cooking your meal.
• Place your dog in a sit, walk back to your task and work the recall.
• Go through a series of sits, downs, climbs and frees while folding the laundry. Make it snappy and fun so that you can still get things done, you maintain engagement in the session from your dog and you don’t feel like you have to block out time to ‘train’.
2 to 3 minutes is all it takes. Your dog will be more fulfilled for it, and you'll make progress in whatever it is you're working on as a team.
This kind of training should be enjoyable for all involved, spontaneous in nature and full of positive energy. Get a few reps in and free your dog up, leaving them wanting more-as the best way to train them for life with you is to train during life with you.