We all lead busy lives and sometimes it’s difficult to steal some time to work with our beloved pups. We are great at giving snuggles and making sure all the basic needs are met. However, when our lives become hectic, training our dogs is the first thing to fall by the wayside. Here are a few quick ideas to offer your pup the mental stimulation she needs.
1.) Before You Leave In The Morning– This is one of the most hectic parts of the day but you can do a couple things for your pup before you leave the house. You can take a minute and hide treats around the house for your pup to find after you leave. You can also leave your dog with an interactive toy such as a food-dispensing ball. These neat contraptions allow you to put your dog’s kibble inside. She then has to push it around so the food falls out one bite at a time. If you use this, you will want to test it first at dinner time to make sure your doggie can figure it out. Both of these activities are great at providing a little mind work while you’re away.
2.)When You Get Home – Most of us here in the city take our pups out for a walk when we get home. The next time you go out, bring a clicker and some treats and work on a few commands. You can practice “Sit”, “Stay” and “Watch Me” easily on leash. You can also throw a treat a few steps ahead and say “Find It”. Now, you are turning the afternoon walk into an easy training session! If you’re unfamiliar with the clicker, the point of it is to bridge the gap between your dog performing a command and when you treat her. In training, timing is really important. If you are a second late, you might be rewarding another behavior entirely.
3.)While Relaxing In The Evening – If you are like most Americans, you probably spend a little time in front of the old boob tube in the evening. Commercial breaks are a great opportunity for bonding with your pup. Take those two or three minutes and practice more trick training. Before you start your show, bring your bag of treats to the coffee table. When the commercials start, use the “Come” command to call your dog over and start practicing all sorts of tricks. Besides the ones mentioned above, "Shake", "Rollover", "Around", "Down" are all good ones to try. Remember, trick training isn’t just for show. It flexes the muscle of communication between you and your dog. The more you use it, the more your dog will pay attention to you when you need her to do so. The mental stimulation provided by these exercises also makes your dog less bored and less likely to strike out in mischievous behaviors. Always be sure to end your little training sessions with a command your dog has mastered. This builds her self confidence and puts a positive spin on the whole experience!