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Friday, May 28, 2010

Lifestyle Training

Continuing from my previous post about continuing to train your dog for her whole life -- I think it's relatively simple to do:  integrate training into your lifestyle and routine -- I call it "lifestyle training."  I am, at my innermost being, a "lazy" dog trainer.  While I love routine, it's hard to stick to it sometimes with our active family.  So, I look for opportunities to train while I am busy with life.  For example, we ask for a behavior (a sit, a shake, a spin, etc.) before giving any treats, we ask the dogs to wait before going out the door, while I am working at the computer I will randomly call a dog to come to me for a quick petting or play session or a yummy treat, while we are cooking or eating dinner we work on long stays, we practice tricks when we are preparing for a therapy dog visit, etc.  By adjusting our life, we have added into our normal routine ways to train our dogs for their entire lives.  

Lifestyle training works at our house because everyone in the family is on the same page.  We all have things we do with the dogs and all of these things put together add up to lots of mental stimulation, affection, and training opportunities for the dogs.  At the very least, it's important that no one person is sabotaging your efforts by sneaking things to the dogs, letting them get away with things they shouldn't, and generally wreaking havoc with your routine and lifestyle training.

Does this mean you can't spoil your beloved dogs?  Absolutely not!!!  Our dogs are very spoiled!!!  My beagle sleeps with me, all of our dogs are free to roam the house and backyard, they all get to travel with us, they get very yummy, very healthy, very much desired treats on a daily basis, and we go out of our way to be sure their needs are met and they stay healthy and happy.  We just expect in return that they follow the rules of the house (communicated to them through the lifestyle training).  This has created a home where humans and canines live peacefully together, enjoying the journey together.

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Have a great time with family, friends and canines!!!

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