Train/Life Balance

I've been meaning to start my blog for months now. It's been in my head and have had the best intentions to start however life seems to get busy and something happens that takes priority from me sitting down for a few minutes each day to write. I often see this in finding time to train our dogs as well. When are we able to find time to train our dogs with the busy lifestyles that we lead?

This quote always comes to my mind when trying to have that balance of life and training our dogs “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”― Roger A. Caras

Yes we love our dogs and really want them trained, though we do have other priorities in life. Work to pay the bills, errands, kids activities and our own personal activities, by the end of these the day is over and whoops another day that training just didn't happen.

Dogs require our guidance and consistent training especially as puppies and as they are growing. This is a whole new world to them and unfortunately do not know what is expected of them until they get in trouble for peeing on the carpet, chewing our shoes or pulling on the leash. Did we take the time to effectively teach them the correct behaviour? Were we consistent at teaching them? These are questions to ask when our dogs do a behaviour that is not wanted.

Training does not need to be one or two full hours per day. Shorter sessions are actually better for most dogs as they can focus more and learn better. In my class last night it was noticeable to myself and the handlers that after 45 minutes the dogs were losing focus and getting tired. We took mini breaks every so often and let them sniff around but training is tiring on our dogs brains, and is great mental stimulation.

How do we add training into our daily schedules?

  • Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, yes it seems like a sacrifice of sleep though it is only a few minutes. That 15 minutes will help house train your puppy or teach your dog polite manners. The investment is worth it in the end and think of when you are able to sleep in later on.

  • Make use of all meal times. Use 10-20 kibbles at the beginning of each meal for self control or obedience skills.

  • Keep small bags of kibbles/treats around your house (where your dog cannot reach them) If you have bags of kibbles and treats around your house it's easier to to ask for that sit or stay in different rooms or during commercial breaks.

  • Walks are a great time to add in training. Stop in a low distracted area and work on skills with your dog while you are already out with them.

  • Add reminders in your phone or post them on your fridge. It helps when reminders pop up to remember take a few minutes for training. Set them in between other appointments or in free time.

  • Quality over quantity. Small time periods of high quality training is more effective than hours of training. If you are unable to find 20 minutes at a time try for 5-10 minutes two to three times a day. This is where your reminders can be useful too.

  • Hire a trainer that provides walk n trains or a daycare that offers play n trains.

Think of effective and creative ways that will work for your lifestyle. If you have any comment with them as everyone can always use ideas on train and life balance!

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