Can't find the time to train? Life too hectic? Too much to do?
We all have good intentions. Sometimes life just gets in the way. We put off what we know we should do.
When it comes to dog training, we all want a well behaved dog but it can be difficult to find the time to teach the dog what we want. They won't figure it out by themselves, as much as we'd like to think so.
One thing we all do - is go to the bathroom...
What? What has that got to do with dog training?
Dog training is about finding opportunity to reinforce behaviours you want to see more of. When I go to a client's house, I tell them one of the ways to get more of a behaviour is to capture it! That means watch for something the dog naturally offers and want to see more of, such as sit or down, or a cute head tilt and reward it! The more something is rewarded, the more it will occur. When you are sitting around watching TV or at the computer and your dog naturally settles into a relaxed down (on one hip), quietly reward it.
I don't suggest teaching everything this way as it can take a long time but I do recommend it as an adjunct to training with luring and shaping.
I recommend keeping small containers with treats in various rooms, ready to use as rewards.
Here is where the bathroom comes into the picture. Don't worry, I won't get too personal!
I know, without a doubt, my dog will offer a big long stretch when I am in the bathroom. At first I didn't do much about it and simply thought, isn't that cute.
Then the trainer part of my brain kicked in. I decided to keep a small container of treats handy, (on the back of the toilet) in all my bathrooms. From that moment on, every morning, I began marking ("yes") and rewarding that spontaneous stretch.
It didn't take long before I was able to add a verbal signal. I tried to think of something snappy and fun but all I came up with was "stretch". I'm not terribly creative that way but I do have a great behaviour on cue now!
That got me thinking of all the behaviours you could train while in the bathroom: sit stay, down stay, targeting, back up, sit pretty, play bow, high five, eye contact, play dead, go to mat.
It all depends on your imagination and creativity!
It may sound like a crazy thing but I suggest you pay attention to what your dog does when you are in the bathroom. Does he lie down? Reward it! Does he sit? Reward it! Does he play bow? Reward it! Does he spin? Definitely reward it!
Your family and friends may wonder why you have a container of dog treats in the bathroom but so what, you'll be having fun with your dog!