How do you fit training your dog into your busy schedule? At my house, we are three hounds with various classes four days a week, and a lot of homework. Fitting in our training is surprisingly easy with just a bit of adjustment to our routines! The key to success is to keep it short and fun for dogs and humans!
Nose work training is more than nose work!
One secret to our nose work training is training with friends and in group events. We have class once a week, usually meet with friends to search once a week, and one to two times a month join a group search event. Facebook has some great nose work groups for our area with searching opportunities! Mom enjoys searching with others for the social aspect, and we enjoy getting to search in new locations. Last weekend I took part in a mock trial at an architecture office which was tons of fun!
Besides getting to work on nose work, practicing with friends or groups means learning patience and discipline. Nose work always involves a lot of waiting around. While waiting I can practice stay, sit, focus on Mom, etc. We are also bringing Madison along to learn to explore new areas and to learn to wait patiently in the car while we go out and search. By combining all the opportunities nose work gives us to train, we keep up to speed, and Mom enjoys hanging out with friends.
Team training while watching TV!
Madison is working on obedience training right now, and she is also working on agility along with Bailie. Surprisingly, agility and obedience training cross paths a bit. Learning to wait, focus on your human, and follow your human are all common things they need to work on. In the evenings when the TV is running and there are commercial breaks, it’s a great time to practice some commands with the two crazies!
Training in tandem helps the younger pups to learn faster. Learning by example, we call it. Another benefit of tandem training is learning to wait your turn. Madison might have to sit and stay while Bailie lays down or does a quick come. In agility, it is a busy atmosphere where dogs are all doing different things and your dog needs to focus on you and do what you say, not what other dogs are doing.
Training your dog on a walk!
With obedience training comes loose leash walking and learning to sit, down, stay, come, all in distracting environments. Madison gets her walk with Mom every day around noon, and they work on her obedience homework outside on the road. A puppy’s attention span is short, so they work on a few things, then just walk for fun, then work on things again, the entire walk taking ten minutes tops. Short training opportunities are best for dogs of all ages.
Cross training and fun, not frustration!
Figure out how to combine your sports training to make things easier, and always make training a fun time that ends on a positive note. The goal is not to over challenge your dog and frustrate them, you want your dog to enjoy training and to be successful. For us, Obedience and agility go together as they are based on the human leading the dog, but nose work and tracking are based on the human following and trusting their dog which makes for two types of training. Mom takes us to classes four days a week. Not all of us go to all the classes, but we still have plenty of time to train outside class by fitting training into our day to day activities! Training your dog should be fun for you and your dog!