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Wait a Minute. Have a Minute? Train Your Dog

by Leslie Fisher

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Whoa, just wait a minute. Hah! We expect our dogs to learn impulse control over natural canine behaviors; as humans we are a society on the move. I mean, who starts grinding teeth when held up in a super market check out line for 30 seconds? Both parents fielding full time jobs, kids and a family dog: wonder who falls through the cracks. Of dogs owner relinquished to shelters, some 47% of owners cite behavioral issues, according to JAVMA, Vol 227, No. 11, Dec.1 2005

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Doobie Learning to Like Vacuum

Have a minute? Suzanne Clothier, as stated at the 2011 APDT conference, says we all do. This no-nonsense hero of mine makes real life dog training accessible for all. Hour long drills? Forget about it. Instead, focus on training in short “bursts” of 1 – 2 minute sessions. The real genius here lays in training time paired with your daily activities. Attention span is also much improved in short bursts of repetitions of behavior. So where is this magical real life time?

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Learning To Do Laundry

Well, the toast does not toast by magic. Make meaningful use of those real life moments. Do something while you wait instead of grinding your teeth. That`s bad for the molars anyhow. Far better that you should train the dog. When else do we routinely wait? I`ll get you started on some other “bursts” of potential training time: brewing coffee, commercials on T.V.,brushing teeth, running tub water for kids, folding the laundry and yes, even vacuuming. On the latter, I kid you not. I desensitized Doobie my puppy mill rescue to latter by, well, vacuuming, albeit very carefully to begin with.

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Time To Make the Coffee

I speak from experience in that yoga and training the dogs: not so much. Yoga mat appearing= conditioned swarm response by all three labbies. In fact, they seem convinced their job is pile on the mat. Often I have to wrestle them for it. Myself being supine overwhelms Talley with joy and makes me laugh resulting in more ridiculous behavior. The other two want snuggle time and crowd me.  Actually, when I think of it, I have trained the labbies rather well to gather around at yoga time. It works for them!

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Yup, Making Coffee. Good Labbies

Maybe the yoga part will work for you. (Actually the labs do eventually give up.) So wait a minute. Got a minute? Don`t let your own dog, in your harried hurried lifestyle, become a statistic. Find that minute and use it. Your dog will thank you for it, and so also will all the overcrowded shelters nationwide. Who do not have room for one… more… dog…..

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People Coming Home? Practice Sit.

Thanks to my pal Pauline, the gal who makes it all happen in the mornings around the kennel; main pic credit goes to her!

Leslie Fisher, Pat Miller Certified Trainer,  CPDT-KA