As many of you know, I recently acquired a one year-old Dutch Shepherd named, “Petra.”
Since Petra had only a minimal amount of training, I’ve been scrambling to get her “up to speed” so that I can use her as my demonstration dog.
A client recently asked me to write out a typical day’s schedule with Petra, from morning to evening. As you can see– getting fast results with your dog is not about spending three hours a day training; Nor is about waiting for the weekend to get out to the park to train. Instead, it’s slipping the training into your everday rituals. Of course, it’s much easier when you work from home. But even if I had a job that required me to work in an office, I’d want to incorporate the training into my lifestyle, before and after work and on weekends. The trick is to make your dog work around your lifestyle… and by work, I mean “train”:
5:30 AM – Wake up, let Petra out of the crate. Petra must hold a sit-stay while I put the e-collar or prong collar on– depending on what I’m planning on training for during the day.
5:40 AM – Let dogs out to potty. Practice recall when it’s time to come back inside, usually with the e-collar.
6:30 AM – We have breakfast while Petra holds a down-stay (commonly called, “duration work” or “impulse control”) on her place-cot.
7:30 AM – Get ready to take dogs for a 1 to 1.5 mile walk. Petra is required to hold either a sit-stay or a down-stay while I get the leashes organized, put on my shoes, get my jacket out of the closet, etc…
7:35 AM – Wait at the front door (even though the front door is now open).
During the walk, she is required to walk alongside our Golden Retriever without pulling on the leash. At various times throughout the walk I’ll make her do “sits” and “downs”.
8:05 AM – As we return from our walk, Petra holds a sit-stay while I get the mail, then Petra’s job is to carry some of the junk mail back to the house.
8:10 AM-8:20AM – Play fetch in backyard.
8:20 AM — Feeding; Petra must hold a sit-stay while I scoop food into her bowl and she waits for the “free!” command.
8:30 AM – Back out to the yard to potty, then into the crate. Or she loads up into the car to go meet with clients.
10:30 AM – 11:00 AM – Formal training if working on a specific exercise. (See video below)
11:00 AM – Back in the crate.
12:00 PM – Potty break.
1:30 PM – Petra practices the “Load up!” command and then rides in the back of the car while we run errands– if I’m going to a dog-friendly place. For example: Today we went to Home Depot and Lowes. Yesterday we went to “Julie’s Signs”. Everybody loves to see such a beautiful dog and it’s good socialization for Petra. In addition, we’re able to practice impulse control and duration work by using the sit-stay and down-stay commands around distractions. Or if we’re meeting with clients, she’ll come with me depending on what we’re teaching. Even if I don’t use Petra during the session, I’ll pull her out of the truck and work with her for five or ten minutes while I’m waiting for my client to show up.
3:00 PM — Back at home, I’ll usually do a quick session working on positions while in the kitchen for 5-10 minutes. Or Petra will hold a a place-command while I do computer work in the office. Alternatively: Meeting with clients where she is expected to either participate as the “distraction” dog or sit quietly.
4:30 PM — Let the chickens out. We practice the recall command around the chickens and when we’re done, Petra loves to wrangle the chickens back into the chicken run. (She’s getting really good at this!)
5:00 PM — Back in the office where she must stay on her pillow and chew on her bone or sleep. She’s a snorrer!
6:00 PM — Dinner, same as breakfast. Then immediately back outside for a potty break.
6:30 PM — Petra again must stay on her place-cot while we have dinner.
8:00 PM – 8:25 PM — Tug toy play: This is productive play where she must go into a different position (heel, down, between legs, spin, circle) and her reward is to tug on the toy
8:30 PM – 10 PM — Petra must stay on the pillow in our home office.
10 PM — Potty break and then into the crate for “bed.”
To learn more about my approach to dog training, take a look at my book, “Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!”