Welcome to the Positive Pet Training blog hop! This month’s theme is “Time Management for Training”. Time management is one of my biggest challenges (with motivation being a close second!). Right now, I am taking a Reactive Dog Management class online through Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, and that’s the focus of our current training.
I enjoy taking the online classes because I can work at my own pace, and read and work on our lessons on my own schedule. I do think that too much flexibility can be detrimental to keeping motivated, so if going to a physical class is what you need to keep on track, then that could very well work better for you. I like to do things on my own time, so it is perfect for me. If I get behind on the lessons (which I always do), it doesn’t matter, because the class lessons are available to me for a year afterwards.
Training for sports is certainly more time consuming, so my hints here are mostly for obedience training, reactive dog training, and they work with trick training too.
Use all available time. I read my class lessons over meals. I pretty much must have my mind occupied at all times. Therefore, when I’m eating meals, I’m usually watching the news or on my computer anyway. It’s a perfect time to read over lessons, watch videos, or do whatever else you use to learn. You could also take that time to read lessons from a physical class, review notes, or make mental plans for your next training sessions.
Multi-task! The work I’m doing with Luke for this class mostly requires getting him to focus on me, thereby not focusing on something that he might react to. We play ball out in the yard daily; but Luke is not as into playing fetch as Cricket is. When he starts to lose interest in chasing the ball, we start working on our lessons. I can recall him to me at random times when he’s sniffing around or doing something else, and we can go through our other paces. In between all that, it’s easy to toss the ball for Cricket.
Everyone is happy, and Luke is really starting to look forward to these sessions. In fact, unless he sees something outside the yard, it’s hard for me to get him to take his focus OFF me, because he’s always looking to see me putting my hand in my pocket to get a treat! I have to try to be sneaky so he doesn’t know when I’m going to call him.
You can also incorporate training into walks (which we’ll be doing more of when the weather improves), visits to the dog park, or even just hanging around the house. Take every opportunity you get, even if it’s just a few minutes of training. Right now, we’re having trees cut on our land, and seeing the workers outside gives me a lot of chances to work on distracting Luke and Cricket from barking at them. I can’t always drop everything when the opportunity arises, but I do it when I can.
Just to clarify, I am OK with them barking when they see someone come into the yard. I actually want them to do that. My goal is to get them to stop barking after a minute, and relax.
Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking? Researchers are finding that sitting too much is extremely detrimental to our health. For those of us who do most of our work at computers, that is not good news. Therefore, I like to get up and move around for a few minutes frequently during the day. I can do a little housework or things like that, but I can also take those few minutes and do a little training! It keeps the day more interesting for the dogs as well.
The advantage of the Fenzi class we’re taking now is that we have several different things to work on, and we don’t have to do them in a certain order. We can start lessons indoors and then move them outdoors later. If I was planning on working outside, but the weather turns bad, we can work on things inside instead. Other than certain sports training, there are probably things you can work on inside. Being flexible is important for me, it’s too easy for me to make excuses not to do something because of the weather or other factors. I like to have an alternate plan when needed.
Most importantly, don’t forget to give yourself a break! Do the best you can. Some training is better than no training at all, and sometimes life just simply interferes. Regroup and get back on track as soon as you can.
What works better for you? Keeping yourself on a schedule, or like us, just squeezing training in wherever you get the chance?
We are pleased to be co-hosting the Positive Pet Training blog hop with Tenacious Little Terrier and Travels with Barley. Please join us in this hop by posting your positive pet training stories, it is open through Sunday. You may share any positive pet training story, whether it’s on our theme or not! Please enjoy the posts below as well.