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Dog training happens in steps

Are you stuck in a rut with dog training? Do you feel like you and your dog don’t connect? Have you been too busy for your dog? Do you believe you have reached the point where your dog can’t learn anymore? Are you out of ideas?

Not true.

You can always do something. Not necessarily all at once, but with little steps. You can’t be a perfect dog owner, but you can still have an almost perfect dog or at least a happy dog. Dogs love doing and learning new things.


Here are 50 things you can do with your dog on any given day …

1. Work on long stays while you are watching TV

2. Reward your dog for doing something right without you asking

3. Get up 10 minutes earlier and walk a half-mile further

4. Drop the leash and let your dog chase you

5. Swim with your dog

6. Carry treats in your pocket for a day and reward everything your dog does right

7. Remember not to leave your clothes within reach (eaten pockets)

8. Teach your dog to give a high five

9. Write out the first steps towards solving your biggest dog training challenge

10. Stop and let your dog smell the grass

11. Buy a stuffed animal at a garage sale (or three)

12. Buy some raw bones

13. Start a dog blog (it’s easy!)

14. Organize your dog photos

15. Sign up for an agility class

16. Read a book by Jon Katz

17. Read a Paul Owens book on positive reinforcement training

18. Buy a clicker

19. Leave work early on Friday and take your dog to a park

20. Bring your dog to a local treat or pet supplies store

21. Take a video of your dog

22. Hire a professional pet photographer

23. Brush your dog

24. Make eye contact with your dog

25. Run with your dog

26. Tell your dog to “sit” in every room of the house

27. Hide from your dog and then call her

28. Chase your dog around the couch

29. Get down on all fours and play in the mud

30. Turn an old towel or sock into a toy

31. Look up or meet potential foster dogs

32. Teach your dog to speak

33. Hide a treat and tell your dog to “find it”

34. Buy a training collar

35. Practice sit and stay in a new location

36. Give your dog a massage

37. Call up your best dog-owning friend and go on a dog date

38. Give your dog treats every time she makes eye contact

39. Teach your dog to roll over

40. Go a full day without training collars – use treats for motivation

41. Leave work 10 minutes early and walk your dog 10 minutes longer

42. Rollerblade with your dog

43. Don’t scold your dog for a whole week – redirect his attention instead

44. Teach your dog to crawl

45. Plan a camping trip or day trip with your dog

46. Buy a dog backpack

47. Bring your dog to tonight’s softball or soccer game

48. Read Cesar Millan’s “pack-training” book

49. List out your idea of a “perfect dog” and how you could get to that point

50. Appreciate your dog’s “quirks” – you’ll miss them when she’s gone

What did you and your dog do today?

(Pictured is my favorite golden retriever, Elsie)

Lindsay Stordahl

Saturday 23rd of May 2009

I'm the same way. Sometimes I'm way too serious and I have to remind myself that Ace is a dog and how much can I really expect?

Amanda Steiner

Saturday 23rd of May 2009

I really appreciated the last thing on the list. I adopted my pointer mix about 9 months ago, so we are still doing lots of training, and I know sometimes I'm just too serious about it all. So it's a great reminder that he can always make me laugh, and to allow myself to enjoy the silly things because I will definately miss that when he's gone!

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 22nd of May 2009

Yes, a belly rub should be added to the list!

Three Dog Blogger

Friday 22nd of May 2009

I think it would be more like twenty stuffed animals and a new house if ever got back in to toys in the house!

Lots of great things to do with your Dogs though. It is so easy to forget that anything a bit different that you do is just the best thing in the world as far as they are concerned.

Oh, and if it ends in a belly rub then it's the end of a perfect Doggie day for them.

Kirsten Laulainen

Thursday 21st of May 2009

Cesar's awesome! It's awesome what he can do. A good addition to his ideas might be a high-quality harness or muzzle. A great place to find these is Dean 'N Tyler. They offer top-quality harnesses and muzzles for many dog sizes, including large.