I have no time to train my dog!
“I work very long hours at home. I hardly have any time to train my dog.” This is a common problem with lots of dog owners. But the good news is, even when you are working, you can train your dog at the same time. I have lots of dogs to train so l cannot always be playing/walking/training my own dogs. But my dogs are still being trained when l am training other dogs. They do not go crazy and they do not demand my attention constantly. How come? Well, teaching a dog how to relax is a kind of training. Teaching a dog how to be content when he is not the centre of attention is a form of training. Showing a dog how to ignore other people and dogs is a very important part of training. Making sure a dog knows how to be content and relax on his own is the foundation of good behaviour. How do you train your dog these important life skills? You can do so by incorporating training your dog into your daily life as you are busy doing other things. There are formal training sessions and informal training sessions. Dog training is not just when you roll up your sleeve, have your food/treat and clicker ready, and get all ready to do sit, down, come, roll over...for 30 mins. Those are formal training sessions. But informal dog training is about teaching your dog how to handle “life”, and it is very important, too. Teaching your dog to stay on his bed, in his crate, or by your side in a down stay as you are working is dog training. Teaching your dog to ignore the dog you are training is dog training. Teaching your dog to be calm and content in his crate when you cannot give him attention is training. Teaching your dog to relax when you are vacuuming or when you have people over is dog training... The list goes on and on... The bottom line is whether you roll up your sleeve and take out your treat pouch and spend a specific time during the day to train your dog, your dog is always observing and learning. Some people have dogs who can do lots of tricks but are full of behavioural issues (resource guarding, reactivity, aggression, ...) because they focus a lot on formal training but not enough on the informal ones; they focus heavily on obedience (I.e. the dog will comply when being told what to do) but little on behavior training (i.e. the dog will offer the appropriate behavior on his own without being told). It is up to you to pay attention to what your dog has observed and learned when you are not formally training your dog. Interestingly, these informal sessions are much longer than your formal sessions as they are happening all day long. If you don’t have lots of time to do formal obedience training with your dog, it is fine, please make sure you pay attention to the informal life training you do during the day, as those are what really shape the proper behavior and mental state of your dog.