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Dog Training in Everyday Activities

Since we have virtually no time for “real” dog training these days, I’ve taken to making even everyday things … like Lilly following me around as I attempt to keep the house somewhat in order … into a working thing. OK, maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but Lilly seems to enjoy doing what I ask, even if she would do those things anyway.

For example, rather than just letting her follow me up and down the stairs as I do laundry. I ask her to SIT-STAY while I load the washer. I release her when it’s time to move. I ask her to SLOW when we go up the stairs together. I ask her to DOWN-STAY off the bed while I put on fresh sheets.

I reward these daily activities, just as if we were doing new training tasks, and I have to say that Lilly honestly responds like it is real work. And, we all know how much she loves to work.

So, even if it’s a simple HOP UP (where she settles on the bed), I ask her to do something as much as I can so that we can engage in a deeper human-canine communication than when she just follows me around hoping for a little interaction.

Her latest thing is bringing me sticks while I soak outside in the hot tub. She gets to play fetch. I get to relax … at the same time.

I really am trying to make more time to play and walk and work with her the few hours I have to myself each day. And, as I mentioned earlier, if a nap is what I need, then Lilly is absolutely invited.

I still feel like we’re in a deep hole, but we’re making the best of it.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

MarthaandMe - January 24, 2010

I love the mental image of you soaking in the hot tub, throwing sticks! Our dogs would love to do that too.

KB - January 22, 2010

You are not the only one who uses simple things like you mention to give a dog a job. K, like Lilly, likes to work but we aren’t up for any huge new training projects right now. Happily, she seems proud to do the simplest things. That makes me feel good.

Wild Dingo - January 22, 2010

I think this is an excellent idea! I do this type of stuff all day long with my dogs. Training NEVER stops, even if it isn’t “formal.” Instead of locking my dogs out of the house while i mop floors, i down stay them in a room. I take 5 minute breaks with them throughout the day to play their favorite games (tug for the GSD mix and “tricks for treats” or ball fetch for the sibe). I let them accompany me in the yard when i do yard tasks. and talk and engage with them all day long while i do chores. NOTHING wrong with that. I like your profile story. that makes me think of my GSD mix Loki who I plan to train in Schutzhund. I don’t think he’ll ever “title” but I like having him work and he likes it too. Helping your dog become his greatest potential is the most rewarding thing you can do, even if his greatest potential is a sit-stay or the champion of your heart. sigh.
woo!
wags-n-wiggles,
wild dingo

Maery - January 21, 2010

That’s a good idea. I feel so bad that during the week I have so little time for Java. I’ll have to try this out.

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