Daily Tasks

Dogs love routine, they love living on a schedule.  Mostly we all live by schedules.  From Monday to Friday (in most cases) we get up, do the 3 S's, maybe get the kids up and ready, cook and eat breakfast, head off to school and work.  That morning routine is visited every weekday.  Having a dog adds some time to that routine.  Many live in apartments or other dwellings with no yard these days which means a walk in the morning for exercise and elimination. 

Where do we find time to train?  The evening routine doesn't leave much time either.

When it comes to training dogs most trainers will tell you that you should train every day for 15 minutes to an hour on one may be behaviors until they are mastered.  Studies have shown us that this intensive training schedule is actually detrimental to the dog's progress.  What the studies showed was the one long session once a week had the greatest results.  The only problem was that it took weeks longer for the dog to become proficient at the task with only the one long session per week.  

Its well known in the positive reinforcement based training world that training with successive approximations creates more reliable and fluent behaviors.  Choice training has increased that and empowerment training even more so.  The world of training is changing on an almost monthly basis these days.  Much research on dogs and behavior is finally being done after so many 1000's of  years of partnership.

It has been our experience that daily 5 MINUTE exercises, a different exercise each day, produces the best results.  Since successive approximation works so well, breaking each behavior down into component parts and creating one exercise for each part is truly effective.  

Let's take the training plan that we've created for Savvy Socialization and work on one weeks daily tasks also incorporating the 5 minute rule.

Goal Week 2 – What to do when assessing new spaces and new people
Plan – Introducing spaces and what can be done in them

Day 1: A Room For Each Behavior
Day 2: Walk About
Day 3: Do Nothing

All three of these exercises, to gain proficiency, would of course take more then one or two 5 minute sessions.  The reason that this week has only three exercises is due to the nature of each one.

For instance, A Room For Each Behavior takes you and your dog to each room in your house to perform one behavior.  Sit in the living room, stand in the bathroom, down in the kitchen, etc.  Walk About takes these same behaviors into outside environments and Do Nothing helps the dog relax.

So day one might look like this:

7am - Walk About for 15 minutes with the 5 minute game being puppy pushups (sit, down, stand).  5 minutes of puppy pushups in the kitchen as you make or eat breakfast. Exercise is achieved both physically and mentally and you're off to work.

5:30pm - Work on circle and spin in the bedroom as you change your clothes from office to casual. 15 minutes of Walk About with your 5 minute game being circle and spin on the move.

9pm - Do Nothing while sharing popcorn and watching American Idol.  5 minutes not necessary with this exercise.

Obviously each trainer and each handler has their own methodology and philosophy of training their dog.  Follow yours, but think about this.  This application will help you develop your training plan monthly, weekly and daily and help you keep track of your progress.  How you train is up to you.  I've provided how I do things here simply as an example.