As a dog trainer I hear this a lot! “Between the kids and work, I can’t find time to do formal training with my dog!”
There is a simple way to fit training in to your daily routine that doesn’t take extra time….add it into your daily walk! You already allocate time to take your dog for a walk so why not combine training into that?
First question….Do you walk your dog for your exercise or theirs? If you are taking them for YOUR exercise then you need to change this up a little and allocate some of this time to your dog.
Next question….Do you let them sniff the ground or do you want them to walk by your side? If you don’t let them sniff, you need to relax that a little! Make walk time enjoyable for you both. Imagine being taken to a theme park but not being able to look around or go on the rides. Does that sound like fun to you? Not allowing your dog to explore on their walk would be the same for them.
Dogs learn about the world around them in many ways and sniffing the ground and trees is one of them. Allowing them to sniff is great for their mental health and is something we at Fellowship of the Paws dog training encourage. When we walk our dogs we allow them as much time to sniff as they like. If we want to walk fast for our exercise, we leave them at home.
Train when walking
Walking our dogs is a perfect opportunity to engage with them and enjoy getting out in the fresh air and sunshine together. Taking 5-10 minutes out of our walk to let our dogs have a sniff at the tree, the grass, bushes or fences gives our dog vast amounts of mental enrichment. When dogs use their nose, their brain is working overtime figuring out who their neighbours are! They are assessing the different elements to the smells to know who left it.
Now that doesn’t mean they are allowed to drag us to whichever spot they want, there is still the requirement to walk nicely and keep moving when asked, but their reward for doing this is freedom to explore. And this is where training comes in….
Training your dog doesn’t have to be something you spend hours doing everyday. Short training sessions, in different environments are just as beneficial.
Here is how a 25 minute walk can be broken down:
- Spend the first 5 minutes practising loose lead walking and the reward for your dog is to sniff their environment.
- Spend 2 or 3 minutes training by asking your dog for a drop stay or sit stay, walk 5 or so steps away and recall him to you. Do this a few times, increasing your distance from your dog and the time they are in the drop or sit stay.
- Spend another 5 minutes rewarding loose lead walking with more sniffing.
- Next 10 minutes is a nice, brisk walk where the dog is rewarded for keeping a loose lead.
- On arriving home, the dog must wait at the door and only enter when invited.
Easy to fit training in isn’t it?
Next time you go out, instead of taking your dog for a walk, go for a walk with your dog. Watch them sniff and explore their world and throw in a one or two obedience skills.
If you are having trouble getting that loose lead walking right, get in touch and let us help bring the joy back to walking your dog.