Ask the Trainer

5 Minute Challenges for You & Your Dog

The goal of this article is for you and your dog to get out and participate in meaningful activities together over the next 5 days. This will help develop the bond and relationship with your dog.

your dog

Everyone has 5 minutes that they can spend with their dog (so lack of time is no excuse). These activities are meant to be fun training and relationship building activities. You can omit or modify activities as needed.

Day 1: “Sit” or “Down”

Practice 5 minutes of teaching your dog “Sit.” If they are already proficient at “Sit”, work on the more difficult “Down” command. Use food lures and rewards in order to teach the command(s). The goal (which will take more than just one day to teach), is for your dog to perform the command without the need for any hand gestures or luring. All dogs should be able to respond to verbal commands only, that demonstrates a true understanding of the command.

Day 2: Be Active With Your Dog

This one is very simple, take your dog outside and play. Fetch, Tug, Frisbee, etc. are options to consider. Just have fun and let your dog be active.

Day 3:  Go for a Walk

Structured walks are essential to a dog’s overall well-being. Their naturalistic desire is to travel in a pack and experience different sights, sounds, and smells. A good walk is great physical and mental exercise for canines.  

If you are unable to take your dog for a walk, because they drag you down the road, bark or lunge, etc. use today’s 5 minute challenge to contact a qualified dog trainer in your area. Most component professionals can help you solve leash walking issues in just 1 or 2 sessions. Being able to comfortably walk your dog is achievable for almost every owner, and will dramatically improve your dog’s health and overall quality of life.

Day 4:  Car Ride

Turn your car’s air conditioning on and take your dog for a ride. Many dogs enjoy going for car rides, but don’t get the opportunity to do so very often. If your dog is not a huge fan of the car, maybe the only time they go in the car is on trips to the Veterinarian…thus creating a bad association with the car. Use this as an opportunity to help create a more positive association for your dog.

Day 5: Practice the “Come” Command

Arguably one of the most important commands for all dogs to know is “Come.” Unfortunately it’s one that most owners struggle with. Why?  Often times we don’t practice it enough and we expect too much too soon. Owners are very quick to let their dog off-leash and expect them to recall around heavy distractions. Read more on the Important Considerations for a Solid Recall.

For this 5 minute challenge: take your dog outside (in a safe area) on a 20ft. long line and bring tasty treats. For the next 5 minutes, you will get as many repetitions telling your dog to “Come” as you can.  

Say your dog’s name and then the command “Come.” If they come, immediately praise by saying “Good boy/girl!” When they get to you, give them a treat reward. If your dog does not immediately come when you call, use the long line to help gently guide them to you. Rewarding with verbal praise and a treat reward. Massive repetition and gradual progression with distance and distractions are the keys to developing a better recall.

Do one of these 5 minute challenges per day, for the next 5 days. Modify or skip any of these activities that you or your dog are uncomfortable with completing. Also feel free to do these activities for more than 5 minutes and hopefully for more than just these 5 days. Regardless, I hope you and your dog improve the bond, relationship, and overall quality of life, as you spend more active and fun time together.

Westchester Dog Trainer Steve Reid of S.R. Dog Training for puppy training and dog training in Putnam NY.  Read more about Steve at www.srdogtraining.com and www.Facebook.com/SRDogTraining.

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