This is a question I get asked a lot when people see one of my dogs in training and the answer always confuses people when I give it to them… ALWAYS.
Training doesn’t have to be how many classes you attend, how many things you teach, or the amount of hours you spend doing it each week.
Each and every feed, walk, play and experience you share with your dog can easily become a training experience and a relationship building moment.
Rather than putting their food in a bowl and leaving them to eat it, use that food to do a circuit of basic obedience, hide it around the house and make them find it, use it for crate training, or scatter it into the grass and get them using their senses.
When you go for a walk, use it as an opportunity to practise walking nicely to heel, improving their eye contact, awareness at curbs, downstays while waiting for traffic lights, and desensitising them to pedestrians and traffic.
If you’re playing with a ball or a tug, use it to teach them how to take and leave on command, how to retrieve to your hand, and as a reward for basic obedience and impulse control.
By encouraging dogs to think and letting them earn their rewards, you incentivise the dog to make better decisions without having to always ask it of them.
Dog training doesn’t have to be boring or even scheduled, simply think of ways you can optimise the time you have with your dog each day and make the mundane tasks a learning opportunity.