I work from home and I travel for work. When I am home, Archer and Alba have learned my schedule (or maybe they have created it for me). Every evening at 5:30 they come running together upstairs to my office and get me for training time! Well.. I call it training time but I’m sure to them it is just fun play.
I don’t know a lot about training and I am absolutely not an experienced trainer, but over the years I have spent a lot of time consulting with trainers and reading and watching online videos. Ever since I was a young child I wanted to train dogs more than anything! I never took the dog training path professionally, but I do like to think the effort of learning what I can has paid off. I am quite proud of how well behaved my dogs are in general.
Now the 5:30 training time is a part of the day and it keeps me disciplined to take a break from work every day (even if I need to log back in and finish a few things up in the evening). If the weather is nice we’ll go outside and practice with the frisbee or a ball. It’s not just throwing the toy and letting them retrieve it repeatedly, but I use the toy as the reward for practicing all the tricks they know and to learn knew things. They have to sit, lay down, sit from a lay, give a paw, heel, sit and stay, go around me and run through my legs, play dead … all kinds of things and in all sorts of variations. Sometimes instead of fetch we’ll do tug as the reward. It’s super fun and they are always so calm and happy after we have had our training time.
If the weather isn’t good, we can do the same thing in the living room but the fetch is very modified. I get them to sit in front of me and they take turns with catch. I say the name of the dog that gets the toy and that’s the dog that gets it! A while ago I had a young child visiting and loved the dogs so I taught this to her. She entertained herself and the dogs for an hour tossing the ball at each of them back and forth. I definitely don’t recommend this with other dogs in the house that are not familiar with the game. Collisions are not fun and cause severe dog face injuries when they both go for the ball at the same time. They have learned to take turns and it works so well – lots of fun.
Spending daily time with the dogs not only makes them happy and calm but it is good for me to break away from work. I love our daily training time!