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Tuesday Training Byte: Finding time to train

Certainly, a well trained dog doesn't just happen overnight. People often ask how long it took me to train my dog. First, since dogs have short attention spans, I much prefer to train in 15 minute sessions. But if I don't have that much time, I put in five to ten minutes of exciting activities with my dog. I always end with something the pup knows well and be sure to end on a good note. Typically, my work week is very busy, so I set a schedule to train for 15 minutes 4 times per week. I even do some of the training indoors which can really be best if your dog is very distractable. Tonight I had a function at work late so I made a 5 minute game with my 4 year old Rottie. Yesterday I have her a large butcher's bone with meat and marrow. After I got home tonight and sat on the couch, I called her to me. I told her to "Get your bone", and she promptly came back with it. I told her "drop it" which she did. Then I rubbed her face and petted her telling her what a good dog she is, then I told her "take it". We did the drop and take game about 3 times while I increased the time I held her bone. The last time I gave it back telling her to "take it" I praised her extravagantly and cheered, and released her from the session. My release word is "okay!" This dog already knows these commands, but it was really good practice for her to release that yummy bone to me without trying to snatch it from me. From the recliner, I can send her to get her toy or get her ball. Just a few minutes of reinforcing words and commands in a fun way makes the dog eager and willing to learn new things. After she gives me the toy, I might command sit, then down, sit, then down a few times in a row, then throw her the toy to catch. Even after a long day at work, it is great to have a few minutes of fun with my dog, and all of this is actually training!

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