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.
Barbara Rivers says
I squeeze our training sessions in whenever I can and actually like just doing a few minutes per session. My schedule varies so much, it’s impossible to stick to a certain time of day for training purposes.
2 Brown Dawgs says
You have a good plan. The only downside I can see to an online class is there is no trainer there to point out when you may be making an error in training or how you might be able to use a different technique to train something.
I agree that is a downside. However, you can take more advanced levels of classes where you submit videos to the instructor for critique and questions. They’re more expensive, so I haven’t done it that way yet. But in the case of this class, I wish I had, except that it means I’d have to stay on time with everything! 🙂
Christine Caplan says
Hi! Ok first I want to hear more about the reactive Fenzi online class. I’d love to audit that class since we’re spending dog budgets on nosework class but I can use some new tips on managing these guys on leash. Do you love it? Are there practical lessons you’re using? Also one of my fav tips is reviewing lessons while you eat! I feel like I’m always on Facebook when I’m grabbing lunch and I could be using my time more wisely!
I do love the class, though I’ve gotten a bit behind on it. There’s so much to learn. But what I really love is that a lot of it involves things Luke already knows, but uses them in a different way (paws up, leave it). When we got to the leave it part we blew right through the first steps easily (though we still need work on the more advanced lessons there).
Today I taught him something new that tied in and I was so excited when he got it! I plan to write a whole post on it, hopefully soon (I’m been busier with bookkeeping work right now, since it’s tax season).
There is a lot involving leash walking, but I haven’t actually gotten out with a leash yet, but we start learning it in the house and the fenced in yard. I’m really anxious to get out and try the leash as soon as the weather evens out more and I have more time.
I used to spend my meal time on Facebook too! I think I actually enjoy reading the lessons instead. 🙂
Christine Caplan says
oh the class sounds super valuable and I know I could benefit from a refresher on leash management for reactive dogs especially. Thanks so much for this – I love that you’re learning so many new techniques!! Ok I’m going now to check it out. 🙂
Now if we could only get the weather to cooperate so we could work on things with the leash more! It has been bitterly cold so not really conducive to being outside and working with treats – my hands get way too cold too quickly! Now we’re getting a huge snowstorm!
That really is the best thing about the Fenzi classes, knowing all the info will still be there for us when Mother Nature is ready. 🙂
Training during walks is a great idea, sometimes I forget to bring treats, but I use fun bursts of running to reward my dogs for walking nicely on each side.
That’s a good idea. I almost always forget something when we head out on a walk, and often it is the treats (especially if it’s a last minute decision to go).
Mrs Lorna J Griffith says
I have been following your training, so thanks for all the info. The Fenzi classes online are worldwide and there are a few that look appealing. I just love a Beagle attitude, they definitely know their own mind. The one I know always makes me smile.
Tu-Lei is a woofer and doesn’t know how to stop so your work with Luke is similar to what we have been doing. Tu-Lei only has one major issue. Being a German shorthaired Pointer she is a terrible counter surfer!!!
Hugs and kisses to all Luke, Cricket and Sam xx
Ah, now it sounds like Tu-Lei and Luke have a lot in common. Luke is a counter-surfer too, and we haven’t found a solution to that one yet!
I hope you get a chance to try one of the Fenzi classes. I have many more of them we want to take in the future.
Hugs and kisses back to you from the crew! xo
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Great tips, Jan! I, too, need flexibility but too much can definitely be detrimental. I also try to read lessons – or even other things – when I’m sitting.
With Ducky having to wear the Buster collar (sounds better than “the cone of shame”) since her surgery, most of our outdoor training has been on hold because I can’t get her harness on her. So I work with her in the room downstairs for about 5 minutes at a time at various times of the day. I just don’t do it at the same time every day.
With Shadow, the training is minimal. She has always been so eager to please me; and without Callie to goad her into being mischievous, she does what I ask of her 99% of the time.
One of the joys of being retired must be that you have a little more flexibility with your time?
I’m working with Cricket some too, but she doesn’t catch on as quickly as Luke. Plus, with her arthritis, there’s a lot of things I won’t ask her to do. And, like Shadow, most of the time she does as I ask anyway. If both dogs are barking, Cricket will stop when I ask her to, but Luke will carry on if I can’t distract him.
I hope Ducky is almost done with her Buster collar? It must be getting close?
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Yes, thank doG, the sutures come out and the collar comes off (permanently) on Thursday morning. I can’t wait! And I know she will be even happier about it. ????
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Your a great multi tasker, thanks for the tips.
Tenacious Little Terrier says
I am way behind on my Fenzi class for this term. How are you liking the reactive dog class? I’m thinking about taking it but I’m also doing a workshop with the instructor so I don’t know if that’s going to be repetitive.
I like the class. It uses a lot of things we’ve already worked on (paws up, recall, leave it), but gives us different ways of using them. That’s helped us to move along a little more quickly; but it could also make it repetitive for you.
Sounds like Luke is really doing great with paying attention. Is it helping with the reactivity? Is he looking to you instead of feeling the need to react so much himself?
We haven’t really had that breakthrough I’m hoping for yet. But I can stop his reacting much more quickly than I used to; most of the time anyway. If I can get his attention before he gets into too much of a barking frenzy, he is very excited to be paying attention to me, and he sticks with me more than he used to. In the past, he’d run to me, get a treat, and then go back to whatever he was barking at. Now, he will run to me and stick with me, lie down on his bed or up on the chair and hold his stay (with reminders to do so!). Progress….but it’s going to be slow I think.
Training is like blogging … there’s always more you COULD be doing … and there never seems like enough hours are in the day. I think I’m finally getting the hang of setting limits for myself 🙂
Monika & Sam says
Having one dog that can always use additional training and one dog that NEEDS training from A-Z, your tips should be most helpful. While Elsa is very smart, she’s still learning how to be just a dog, having been a puppy mill survivor for 4 years. Sam helps her with some aspects of what’s required and expected but like I said, we can all use more training-me included. It should improve my ability to juggle more than one ball with the 2 of them. ????Thanks for sharing!
It’s so good that Sam can help Elsa some, it’s always great to have another dog to learn from too. Unfortunately, Cricket only seems to want to teach Luke her bad habits. LOL
Monika & Sam says
Sometimes I wonder if that’s Sam agenda too. Mostly he just wants the treat I’m offering her. ????
M. K. Clinton says
I am such a failure at training. Bentley is just so dang stubborn. LOL!
Don’t feel bad, Melissa. You probably notice when we talk about training, I talk way more about Luke than Cricket. It’s not that I don’t try with Cricket, but she’s got that stubborn hound dog thing going on, just like Bentley!
Brian Frum says
Every single time my Dad tries multitasking we’re all in trouble! You sure accomplish a lot!
Multi-tasking is not easy, and sometimes it does backfire! LOL
I need a little of both. I like the flexibility to chose what I am going to work on next, especially with a rescue or an adult dog. I feel like puppy obedience is a little different and can be really great in class format and to follow the steps.
With Callie, now (after almost 5 months) I feel like she could do with a formal class, for the socialization – being around other dogs and working with me, but also for me. I can tell what she needs to learn at home, but I want to take her to get her CGC and therapy dog certificate so she can work with children.
At home, training is more of a take the opportunity as it comes. She is learning recall, stairs, and other big basics for a puppy mill adult rescue.
I agree, I think it’s important for puppies to go to actual classes. I don’t like classes much since I’m not a very social person; so I usually let my hubby handle that (and it’s good for him, because I do ALL of the at-home training).
Luke did go to a private trainer for a while, but then unfortunately that guy became unavailable and we never found another one that we liked.
It sounds like you have a good balance of working with them at home, and pursuing other opportunities as well.
If you want to fit in training, it is pretty easy to do with a few minutes here and there. It seems like the Pet Photography Challenge is falling apart. If that is the case, we will try to get a post together for Friday this week for this hop. There is just so much going on right now.
It’s not looking good for the photography challenge, is it? It’s really too bad (and kind of annoying).
Hope you can get a post together for this! Your family is one of the busiest I know, so I’d love to hear more about how you manage your time. 🙂
I need a little bit more of a schedule. Knowing that Rye has obedience class every week helps keep me on track with practicing the different skills I know our trainer will ask us to demonstrate. If I don’t have that, it’s too easy for me to put it off! I teach online classes, but I think I would be a TERRIBLE online student. It sounds like you’ve found the perfect way to fit training into your schedule, though! Multi-tasking is a big one for us, too 🙂
I like the idea to do some training when you walk… and we will walk much more… if sitting is the new smoking we will reduce the sit-ins on the sofa :o) we started whoa-training last week… and against all odds it seems it works ;o)))