I’ll admit, ‘I don’t have time to train my dog’ is something I hear a lot and it’s something that makes me sad.
It makes me sad for two reasons.
Firstly, it implies the human is missing a fundamental premise when it comes to ‘training’.
Secondly, why bring a dog into your family if you don’t want to engage with them and communicate with them in a way that benefits you both?
I have been known to roll my eyes when I hear that people want to change something about their dog’s behaviour and proceed to tell me that they don’t have time to work on changing it. I hate to break it to you, but it’s probably your inadvertent ‘training’ that has led to that behaviour developing.
I was chatting to someone yesterday about her dog’s habit of jumping up at every opportunity. I watched as her dog put his front paws on her knees. I then watched as she stroked him in response, told him how cute he is (he is very cute!) and then said ‘get down’. He didn’t get down so she put his paws on the floor, ignored him and continued telling me about how busy she is and needs a ‘quick fix’.
Everything you do and every interaction you have with your dog teaches them something. You are always training your dog. You might not be training them to do something you want them to repeat, but you absolutely are training them.
I explained the way she can quickly solve this problem and you can get our guide, ‘no more jumping up’ here, but I’m sure you can see that the jumping up was heavily reinforced with fuss and then as soon as the dog’s paws touched the floor, he was ignored. Teaching him a sit means we can break the habit, ask him to sit before he jumps and then reinforce that. Simples! The dog loved having fuss and he’s in a fabulous, loving home so all we’re doing is changing when he gets oodles of fuss in order to reinforce a behaviour we’d like him to repeat.
‘Training’ doesn’t have to be a formal half an hour every day. It’s something that happens all day, every day.
I do feel strongly that if a human doesn’t have the time to invest in their canine, why bring them into the family? Dogs deserve better. Humans deserve better too.
What do I mean by that?
Well, as part of our social projects we see the changes in human behaviour when people have the opportunity to spend time with dogs. Rather than watching something mind-numbing on the tele-box, switch it off and take that time to be with your dog. Teach them a trick or a new cue. You can find a tonne of examples through our links here. In that time, you’ll be interacting, you’ll both be getting a burst of oxytocin and you’ll BOTH benefit.
Honestly, try it!