A well-trained dog is a happy dog. Why? Because well-trained dogs are considered good citizens and are welcome in many places. They are allowed to go on walks, free to run in dog parks, able to ride in the car, and are well-liked visitors when you stop by a friend's house. That's why it's so important to train your dog properly, even if your schedule seems to leave little time for a comprehensive training regimen.
Luckily, dog training is less about time investment, and more about consistent behavior on your part. In fact, when it comes to effective dog training, you may have more time than you think. That's because it's easy to fit small intervals of training into your routine. And when you do that consistently, it will remind your dog that you're in charge, while reinforcing good behavior.
Here are a few easy-and-quick daily training suggestions to try with your dog:
- A few minutes before taking your dog for a walk, run through a few basic commands: praise him only when he's done them correctly. After the final exercise, tell him to "sit" and get his leash.
- If your dog gets overexcited when you get his leash, ignore him until he settles down. Only put the leash on him when he calms down.
- At mealtime, don't let your dog beg at the table. Give him a hollow toy filled with food that will occupy him while your family has a nice, disturbance-free meal together.
- Every time you are about to let your dog in or out a door, ask him to "sit" before opening the door. You are the master, and your position needs to be reinforced by being the first one to enter or leave a room or building.
- If your dog sits by your side when you watch TV, you can turn commercial breaks into productive training/reinforcement mini-sessions. During the breaks, turn down the sound and review a couple of basic commands with your dog.
- Whenever you play "fetch" or any retrieval game, ask your dog to "sit" or go "down" before you throw the ball.
- Before putting down your dog's food or water dish, tell your dog to "stay" before letting him eat.
- If you have kids, make sure they understand the basic commands you want your dog to follow—and show them how to be consistent with your dog's training.
- And in the little time you have every day, don't forget the Golden Rule of Dog Training: praise your dog when he's being calm and well-behaved. And ignore him if he's barking, begging, or being noisy. Follow this simple advice and chances are you'll end up with a happy, well-adjusted, and loyal friend.