dog sitting waiting for command
General Dog Talk,  Training,  Wellness

7 Easy Ways to Train (and Entertain) Your Dog from Home

Working from home because of the COVID-19 Coronavirus? Here are 7 easy ways to train your dog while working from home.

We talked to HP Parvizian, owner of Sit Means Sit – Houston & Katy, to find out some easy ways you can incorporate dog training into your work from home routine.

7 Ways to Add Dog Training to Your Stay Home Routine

  1. Involve them more with your daily chores.
    • Goal: Increased interaction and easy training opportunities.
    • How to:
      • This is the simplest of our tips. Just let your dog tag along!
      • Folding Laundry? Have your dog hold a sit while you are working.
      • Getting the mail? Practice a walk to the mailbox. Have them sit while you get the mail. Then have them walk with you on a loose leash back into the house.
      • Making Coffee, changing your HVAC air filters, brushing teeth, and many other daily routines are a great time to practice training.
  2. Hide and Seek. (Come Command)
    • Goal: Keep your dog engaged and work on a ‘come’ command.
    • How to:
      • Walk out of your dog’s sight and call their name. Most dogs will be interested enough to come check it out.
      • Give a reward for the behavior. If you have a toy motivated dog, have a toy ready to engage in a quick game of tug or fetch. Treat motivated pup? Have a small treat waiting.
    • Advanced: Increase the difficulty of the game by hiding behind doors or ducking behind furniture. Try going to a different floor of the home, if available.
    • Extra credit: If your dog is skilled enough, sit your dog and walk away to hide. Once hidden, release your dog to find you. This is something regularly taught in Sit Means Sit’s training classes.
  3. Contact exercises
    • Goal: Get your dog comfortable with being handled.
    • How To:
      • In our puppy classes, we stress the need to handle all parts of our dog. Belly, paws, mouth … this will keep your dog comfortable being handled. You’ll want this, especially at the groomer or the veterinarian.
      • Even though this is a puppy class exercise, it has merit for dogs of all ages.
    • Side Bonus: Petting a dog will lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate, a must for those of us struggling with uncertainty and anxiety.
  4. Meal Time Foraging
    • Goal: Make food time fun.
    • How to:
      • Ditch your bowl and scatter your dog’s kibble around their feeding dish area.
    • Advanced: Use your back yard for a larger sniffing area. Just take the kibble and throw it around the yard. Let your dog use their superior sense of smell for hunting down their food.
    • Fun! Make a snuffle mat and use it for treats or dinner time.
  5. Walks With Purpose
    • Goal: Mental and physical exercise.
    • How to:
      • Don’t forget about daily walks. But take time to do more than march through your normal route.
      • Rather than the goal being a potty break, let your dog sniff that rock, mailbox, or tree they’ve desperately wanted to investigate.
    • Advanced: Practice sit and down while on your walk.
    • Side bonus: Stop and take a few deep breaths yourself.
  6. Follow Your Nose (Search command)
    • Goal: Mental stimulation, a tired dog, and a new command
    • How to:
      • Place a piece of kibble or cheese in front of them and tell them to “search.”
      • Slowly increase the distance between them and the food. Move the food around a corner.
      • Once they are searching for the piece of food, place it somewhere they have to work a little harder to find it.
      • They will begin to understand the command “search” while looking for the item.
  7. Build an Obstacle Course
    • Goal: Fun and entertainment for all
    • How to:
      • Utilize what you have at home to make an improvised (and safe) agility course. Use broomsticks and chairs to make over/under obstacles. Or use those same chairs to weave in and out of.
    • Advanced: Pull some plastic storage tubs from your garage. Use them to create a “pause table” in your obstacle course. The goal on a pause table is to have the dog stop and stay, until cued to continue the course.

Why You Should Continue Training Your Dog During #StayHome

“Training can be part of your everyday life with your dog.” says HP. “You can easily incorporate these things into your routine, to help keep your dog physically and mentally engaged.”

“A general rule of thumb is that if you don’t direct your dog’s behavior, they will make their own choices, some of which you may not be happy about,” he continued.

HP also emphasizes that it’s just as important to provide your dog with mental stimulation as it is their physical exercise. The American Kennel Club agrees, saying “A mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog.”

HP adds that you may also want to incorporate “going to work” as part of your work from home day during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. Make sure your dog has some time away from you, perhaps by working in another room. Otherwise you could deal with dog separation anxiety when you return to working in an office.

Local Dog Training Services in Houston & Katy

While group dog training classes are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sit Means Sit – Katy and Houston offers one on one training classes, as well as a free phone consultation.

Pet care is an essential service, and allowed during the Stay Home quarantine. A 6′ distance is maintained. Plus they sanitize between clients using veterinary care products and standards.

Sit Means Sit – Katy and Houston is located at 4506 Yale Street, Houston Texas. You can reach them by phone at 281-912-3647.

This is a sponsored post. We are grateful to Sit Means Sit for supporting the Houston Dog Mom blog! We’ve been following his Facebook page ever since he introduced Covu the Sugar Land Skeeters bat boy!

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HoustonDogMom Rebecca G. is a Houston-based dog lover and shelter volunteer.