A dog’s ability to learn a behavior is quite incredible. We bring dogs into our homes and expect them to act, well, almost humanlike! The majority of their natural behaviors aren’t all that compatible with our day to day lives. So what do we do? We ask them to do the opposite of what comes natural to them in a lot of cases. The real amazing thing is how little we have to do on a daily basis to teach them how to do the behaviors we’d like them to do. And once we’ve taught it, you don’t have to do too much to maintain it. When following a training plan which breaks everything down into steps, you really only need to practice a few reps per day to teach the step or maintain the step. If you spent a total of 3-5 minutes per day, you’d likely be able to get 20-50 repetition in which gives you a ton of chances to reinforce behaviors you’d like to see more of. Remember, the behaviors that receive the most reinforcement are the ones you’re more likely to see in the future!
Here are some ideas on how to incorporate training into your day to day life: 1. Use their meals! Take a handful of their meal and ask for 20 sits or downs. 2. When out on a walk, randomly ask for eye contact and reward with treats. 3. When letting them outside, ask them to wait and then give access to the outdoors as the reward!
Anytime you’re giving your dog something he really likes, it’s not a bad idea to ask him to do a simple behavior first. You’ll end up getting lots of reps in that way too. If you’re able to find a way to work this in each day, you’ll notice that your dog will be responding more frequently and much quicker.