Dog Training Tips for a Busy House
The most common reason a family decides to re-home their dog is because it becomes more work than they expected. Life situations will always make for busy seasons and stressful times, and owning a dog can be challenging, but don’t let your dog’s behavior create further frustration.
Homes with young children, growing families, owners who work long hours, or owners who travel often tend to struggle with following through on dog training. It’s easy to mentally schedule the time and effort into training, but the execution may fall flat, especially as the weeks roll by. New dog owners may also underestimate the training process needed for the results they were hoping to achieve.
In a perfect world, you would bring home a house-broken dog who instinctually followed all commands, didn’t steal food from your toddler, and knew not to dig in the backyard - but what fun would that be?
A trained dog is a happy dog because he knows what is expected, can perform what he is taught, and understands his place in the family. Just as you are not perfect, your pup won’t be either, but with consistent training, he will be a really good dog.
Dog Training Tips for a Busy House
Unless you have trained a dog before, or have the time to read and educate yourself on the process until you feel truly confident, you may want to invest more than time and consider spending money on training methods. There are three basic forms of paid-for training options:
A trainer can come to your house and work with your dog over several sessions. They will also train you in the process. You will need to continue the training in short sessions each day to make this successful.
You can send your dog to a training ‘sleep-away’ camp. These vary in length from 2 weeks - months long, depending on what type of training you are after. Your dog will be returned to you completely well behaved. You will work with the trainer on the specific commands and how to ensure your dog stays well trained. There will be a bit of boundary testing, so you will need to work hard the first few weeks to follow-up with what the trainer showed you. This is probably the easiest (and most expensive) training option for busy homes.
There are training classes available through the Humane Society, as well as numerous other facilities nationwide. For a fee, you will attend class with other dogs/owners and be taught how to train your dog.
If you do not want to sped the money, you can train your pup at home on your own. This will take more effort and time up front, but can still have the same outcome. The American Kennel Club recommends the following when training your dog:
- Keep your training sessions short. Five minutes per session is more than enough.
- Spread training throughout the day. Every time you interact with your dog, you have an opportunity to train, even if it’s as simple as practicing “sit” before you let him outside to go to the bathroom.
- Take advantage of mealtimes. At the very least, have your dog perform a desired behavior before you give him his bowl. Better still, divide the food up and get as many repetitions as you can.
- Use rewards other than food. Anything your dog is willing to work for is a reward, from going for a walk to getting a cuddle.
- Don’t let walks go to waste. Learning is far more difficult in an exciting environment, so be sure your dog has mastered the basics in a quiet location before adding the element of distraction.