5 Tips to keep your dog happy with your busy schedule.

You know you should be spending more time with your dog and even do some training with them.

But if you’re like most dog owners out there, you are also telling yourself you don’t have the time.

If you’re wondering how to fit some good quality time with your dog into your already busy schedule, these simple tips will help you towards improving the relationship you have with your dog, not to overlook the quality of life you provide to your dog by spending quality time with them.

After all, dogs are classified companion animals for a good reason, like us, they thrive on companionship.

Train smarter, not harder. By simple planning, strategically you can make much better use of your time. For example, did you know that a 30min TV show contains approximately 10 minutes of commercials. By using your TV down time smartly and using the commercial breaks as an opportunity to work on and build your basic obedience foundations with your dog, both you and your dog will benefit from this.

This can be from the basic commands such as sit, drop/down and sending your dog to its bed, through to fun skills and tricks such as “Say your prayers, play dead, roll over etc”. All of these skills make living with your dog more pleasurable whilst encourage mental growth and stimulation for your dog.

Why buy the cow when you get the milk for free. Think about it, why would your dog take the opportunity to learn and work for it’s food when it has access to a never ending trust fund of food. We know what happens to our children if they are given every opportunity in life handed to them for free. We are doing them a disservice to the by denying them the skills to learn and experience the gratification of a reward when you have worked hard for their effort. The same goes for our dog. We can’t deny how smart dogs are, we are seeing them used as detection dogs from narcotics and explosives through to medical alert dogs, assistance dogs and search and rescue; the list goes on and on. Your pet dog is no different, in fact any of the successful detection dogs currently working in detection rolls throughout the world were surrendered pets prior to being rescued from shelters and pounds.

So start having your dog work and learn for it’s food. You can incorporate this in TV commercial training. You can also start feeding your dog via puzzle and game techniques. Instead of giving your dog the silver service of room service and delivering its food directly to him, you could scatter your dogs food around your back yard and have your dog go on a treasure hunt. Be sure to create a treasure hunt in which your dog will be successful, afterall, no one has fun if they can’t find the treasure.

You can also create a DIY puzzle toy out of PVC for your dog like this one here

DIY Dog Toy

DIY Dog Toy






*be careful if you have multiple dogs to avoid fights over food.

Learn the true value of what you do with your dog. There is a belief that in order to be a responsible dog owner that you must walk your dog for an hour each day. This is based on a false believe that this will calm your dog down. Some research is starting to show that this can in fact highly arouse your dog and you may be inadvertently reinforce undesirable behaviours in your dog. I often use a the example of joining a gym, the more we go, the fitter and stronger we become and in turn the faster we can run and the heavier we can lift. Whilst having a healthy and fit dog is vital for their well being, what kind of athlete are you training and wanting in your pet dog at home?

Try some “Impulse Control Training”. Get your dog to display trained behaviour in turn for it’s reward. You can use a game of fetch which great success to teach impulse control within your dog. This is best used in conjunction with a release or termination que so your dog has a clear understanding of what is expected of it.

Eg: Your dog must sit until you use your release word in order to chase the ball.

You can slowly increase the level of expectation of your dog and start to chain behaviours together such as getting your dog to drop/down then sit, to stand before you release your dog to chase the ball. Even using the send away command of sending your dog to it’s bed, in order to be released  and play fetch or get a treat.

It’s important to start at the level at which you have trained your dog and increase the level of control needed as your dog succeeds and gains a better understanding of what is required

In a recent survey we asked the members of The K9 Company if 20 minutes of training with their dog is worth more than a 1 hour walk, the result was an outstanding 99% in favor of 20 minutes of training with your dog being more beneficial to your dog.

The simple gift of time. As I write this article, in fact when I have written all of my articles and or books, my dogs are at my feet whenever possible. If I get some down time and watch get to watch a movie, again my dogs are with me. This plays to the innate strength of companionship. It is the same with children, the simple act of company can be of tremendous value. Just sitting with and hugging a child has a calming effect. I often used this time to do an relaxed body check of my dog, almost at a subconscious level. You know when your dog is right there you simply start to pat them, often without realising is. However if my dog has developed a lump or any unusual physical issues, it is during this calming down time that I would find them. So don’t overestimate the power of simply spending time with your dog and the benefits it can play, not only for human health but also for the mental wellbeing and behaviour for your dog.

Many undesirable behaviours displayed by pet dog are a result of them desperately wanting their owners attention, the tricky thing is, the owner doesn’t know how to stop the cycle of “bad” behaviour and start to teach appropriate manner and behaviours so as a result the dogs “bad” behaviour can start too and continue to snowball and escalate into more troublesome behaviours so the vicious cycle continues until you either learn how to break the cycle or you give up and your dog might end up at the pound; not a good place for a dog nor a guarantee for finding a new home with overall low rehoming rates.

Find a good and fun dog club and join.  Now before you start listing off all the reasons you don’t have time to do this and ask what good is this advice in an article based on helping you and your dog when you already have a busy schedule, there are some important factors for your consideration.

When you first bring a dog into your life, it can be a fun and exciting time. This time also comes with the commitment and responsibility of looking after the best interest of your dog. If you invest in teaching your dog how you’d like it to behave, this in turn repays you with years of pleasure enjoying your best friends company.

As a highly cognitive species the more you teach your dog, the greater the ability of your dog to problem solve and make better choices when it comes to the behaviors they display. We call this being “Wired to learn”. It is so much fun living with a dog that can make these smart choices, where they’re not relying on us to always have to “tell” them how to behave, instead they can make these decisions themselves. I often use the analogy of young children to explain this, to start with we teach them to say “please” and “thank you” then we would move on to reminding them if they forget and as a child’s cognitive ability expands, there would come a time where we would simply expect manners to be forthright and volunteered. I have similar expectations of my dogs, I take responsibility in teaching the, how to behave, I may have to help them “remember” when there are high distractions (imagine a 5 year old child that has lovely manners, yet at a birthday party with all their friends may easily forget to say “please – thank you” and is more than like to scoff down party food and talk with their mouth full when they would usually know “better”).

Finally, if 20 minutes of training with your dog can be more beneficial than a 1 hour walk, imagine what benefit you and your dog will gain if you attend 1 hour of professional of training a week. Not only will you get the help, support and advice on your dog behaviour and how to get the most out of your relationship, but your dog will blossom and become all you ever wanted and more. Having a well trained dog that you can communicate verbally with should be a base for all dog owners and certainly relieve and major factor of stress in your dogs life as they can understand what is expected of them and also build a basis of which they can communicate with you in the future. Finding a good dog club is vital for your success and enjoyment, I recently wrote an article of the integrity in the dog training that will help you choose wisely.

Feel free to share these tips how the simple implementation of some of the above tips may help you and your dog build a better relationship without with taking a toll on your already busy life and help be the difference in a dogs life.

One thought on “5 Tips to keep your dog happy with your busy schedule.”

  1. Linda Samson says:

    I have recently returned to dog training after a fractured knee followed by a total knee replacement, so I hadn’t been physically able to train my dog adequately. In the first week after returning, we noticed a difference in the dog. This morning was very hard to get out of bed for, especially as I had had a late night previously, but again, it was well worth the effort. Thankyou

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