How To Make Time To Train Your Dog


When do I get to come out of this crate! When’s my turn at nosework!? 

Below is a snapshot of my calendar from last week. Things were… well a little nuts.

I think most folks at this point know that I live with one senior hound and two environmentally sensitive dogs.

So I have to make time for training. It literally makes all the difference in how they see and smell the world.

So here’s how I try to fit in training and the method to my weekly “madness”:

  • I identified ONE class or “sport” for both Sherm and Walter. I needed to prioritize as I didn’t have time for multiple sports.
  • Choosing one night a week for class and a time that didn’t make me crazy – so I can calmly get the dogs walked and fed and in the car.
  • Why traveling to a novel environment is also great training for environmentally sensitive dogs: It’s great for Walter and Shermie to learn to travel in crates and to be able to “wait their turn”. So honestly I use time in the car as a training opportunity. You certainly don’t need to have a class to attend for this and can do this anytime!
  • Another great reason to choose a class that is a dedicated two hour time slot for training is that I get distracted at home and even though we “eat on our mats” and offer sits anytime we leave the house, this is “our time” and it’s on my schedule.

The class work we do is focused on Nosework.

What about old Brui? I dedicate one weekend afternoon to Bruisy. I’m teaching Bruisy how to swim at a local K-9 swim facility.

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Other ways I save time? Training on walks -I walk all three separately since Bruisy is slow and Walter as well as Shermie are reactive on leash. I know this sounds insane but it’s easier. I cannot train two at once so this way everyone has an opportunity to learn how to stay calm around other dogs on walks and to sit on every corner before we cross!


Does your planner look like this? This is why I schedule a class!

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Nosework workshop last year with Walter. 

Resources: Nosework article

Positive pet training hop jpeg

Don’t miss all of the other blogs participating in this month’s Time Management for Training theme. Thank you to Tenacious Little Terrier and Wag ‘n Woof Pets, Travels with Barley for hosting this hop!


There are 17 Comments

  1. You sure get a lot done in little time! We’ve been doing a little bit of nosework at home, but haven’t had any classes before.

  2. Jan K says:

    Look at your planner – holy cow! 🙂 I don’t keep a planner per se (just several lists), but I do try to outline my day each morrning.
    I know what you mean about the distractions at home, that is definitely a downfall to working there and not going to outside classes.
    I try to do the same work with Luke and Cricket as well, though they’re usually at different places in our training since Luke picks things up so much more quickly than she does. But she also doesn’t need the training quite as much as he does, so I think it evens out.
    I always walked the dogs separately too, but now that we’re down to two, I’m going to try to walk them together, at least some of the time. I’ll let you know how that goes! 🙂

    • Things were a little crazy that week 😉 I think it’s great you’re walking them together – I think it’s also good for the two dogs to go on pack walks. I’m really hoping in the distant future we’ll be able to accomplish this!

      • Jan K says:

        Luke is very jealous of Cricket at times, and I’m hoping that walking them together will help improve their relationship too.

  3. It’s great you schedule time separately for all three dogs. That was my biggest concern with having multiples. How is Bruisy liking his swim lessons? Thanks for joining the hop!

  4. Emma says:

    Multiple dogs with multiple sports and classes all take a ton of time, but whenever we train or go to class, Mom realizes how much we all love it and how she forgets everything in life and focuses on us and what we are training. It makes it all worthwhile!

    • It totally takes a TON of time. I also finally get to be present with the dogs and I’m not on technology which I love – I also leave all my baggage at the door. So it’s for me as much as it is for them!

  5. Beth says:

    We’re big fans of having a set time each week for class! No matter what else is going on and how much the rest of our training gets pushed aside, for that 3 hours (1 each one to class and 1 of class) it’s all about me and Barley or me and Rye.

    Walking with two reactive dogs is difficult! Barley has been training for so long that she’s usually pretty good at listening when we see distractions, but with two leashes, it’s definitely harder to reward Rye to teach her not to lose her mind of squirrels, cats, dogs, joggers, bikes. We spend a lot of time turning and going in new directions when I have them both since avoiding the trigger is a lot easier than trying to reward. I don’t always have time to get both girls out for separate walks but I work from home on Fridays, so Friday-Sunday I try to make sure that both girls get an individual walk so that I can reinforce with Bar and teach Rye how to walk nicely. Having them walk together was also a really important part of getting Barley to accept Rye, too, so it’s probably the most complicated part of our training these days 🙂

    • I really like class for this same reason – it’s so hard just to have training time and I like the feedback from an instructor too. It’s super hard to do the extra walks and some days I really want to just go for it but I know that day I’ll run into like 20 dogs. 😉 And quickly regret my decision!! I totally agree with you – that pack walk is SO important so when my husband is available we try to get the two out together!!

  6. Heather Reid says:

    A class is such a good idea. We actually just found a class for Max, but haven’t signed up yet. It’s so easy to say you’ll schedule the time on your own, but with a schedule like that (and holy moley yours is a doozy) training gets overlooked. I totally agree, scheduling a time when a teacher is expecting you is one of the best ways to make sure your dog doesn’t get overlooked (yay accountability! lol)

    • Thank you! Yes! Classes are best overall and if it’s not scheduled it just doesn’t get done in our household. And to your point now that I know the instructor so well I do feel accountable so we don’t miss unless I’m traveling!

  7. Monika & Sam says:

    I got tired just looking at your scheduler. And ‘losing an hour of sleep’ on top of it this week. Impressive.

  8. It sounds like you’ve found some good ways to get training in for all the dogs. And I love that photo of your dog at swim class. Too cute!