Tomorrow, I start a new job and I will be working a normal 8am-5pm Monday through Friday schedule. This is a lot different from my previous work schedule. Before I was working 13-hour night shift 3 or 4 nights a week. With this schedule I had 3 to 4 day weekends that were devoted to spending time and training Odin. My new schedule will give me about 1 hour of dedicated training time and 2ish hours of exercise per day. With this new schedule I will need to create a new training routine to ensure that I am providing him with the necessary training. By creating a routine, I will not be wasting my limited time on workdays figuring out what we will be working on day to day.
Creating a training routine will ensure that you continue with your training and will make it a part of your daily routine. It is easy put off training because you are tired from work and have limited time. Creating a plan beforehand will take the hassle out of training. Plan out your training for the week on Sunday and make sure you have all the tools you will need easily accessible. Motivation to continue training can be hard to come by, that is why I suggest signing up for a training course (either classroom or online) to use for structure and then add in fun training sessions on other days. I spend two training sessions a week reviewing what we learned and practiced in our classes. This means less for me to come up with on my own in terms of training material.
Below is an example of my training routine plan for Odin:
For each of Odin’s one hour training sessions I will start with a 5-minute warm up which will include going over things he already knows and has a strong foundation in, such as tricks (sit pretty, spin, etc). This will get him in mood for and ready for training.
From there the rest of the 45-min training will be focused on the following:
Monday – Fenzi Training: Bye, Bye Cookie. Hello Delayed Reinforcement
- This is an online course provided by Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. The course focuses on getting your dog to work even when they cannot see their reward. It is mainly a focus building course with delayed reinforcement.
Tuesday – Intro to Agility (Classroom Training)
- This is a 6-week training Odin and I will be taking at our local dog school. Signing up for local classes is a great way to continue with training, especially when you need help coming up with a training game plan.
Wednesday – Tricks!
- On Wednesdays, we will be focusing on our trick training. There are a handful of tricks we are currently working on and building foundations for. Currently, we are working on Footsies, Handstands (muscle building only right now), and Obit. I use the App Puppr created by Sara Carson of the Super Collies. I find that the app provides great instructions on how to train tricks and there are a ton of ticks to choose from. The app also has regular updates where they add new tricks. It costs about $10 For full access to the tricks on the app and this includes any updates and trick additions. I think it is a great price for its value.
Thursday – Canine Conditioning and Fenzi Review
- For this day, I will split the training time between conditioning using canine gym equipment and review the Fenzi training from the week. Canine conditioning is important to do with active dogs. It can help reduce long term stress and health issues due to high activity. I use FitPaws equipment and they have a handful of videos on their website that show how to effectively use their equipment. Since, Canine conditioning can only hold his attention for about 25 minutes, the rest of the time will be spent reviewing this weeks Fenzi Training activities.
Friday – Agility review
- We will spend our training time reviewing and practicing the activities/concepts we learned this week at training class. I have a handful of homemade agility equipment that I made out of PVC Pipe.
Saturday & Sunday are free days with no plan. We can work on whatever we feel like. Usually, on my days off, I like to take Odin hiking or spend time training at the dog park. These are fun days and usually our training is less structured.
Everyday we practice and train for managing reactivity during our daily walks. Walks provide the best environment for reactivity training for us and we also do focus work while out on walks.
Overall, having a training plan and routine reduces your daily stress as you will already have a plan in place. You can hop right into training, rather than waiting time developing your training plan. Developing a plan will also help to keep you on track as you will have a daily goal to complete. Life gets busy, but by planning ahead and creating a training routine you will be reducing the chances of life getting in the way of your dog’s training.
Do you have a training program or routine for your dog? How do you keep yourself motivated when life gets in the way? I would love to hear about your experiences! Please comment below!