This is where we teach you to think like a dog trainer!
I live with 5 dogs and run a business. 3 of those dogs are young and need to be doing things. If I am not on top of working on the things they need to be successful, they come up with things that I enjoy a little less. So how do I keep all these dogs straight and maintain my sanity?
Plans are written down.
I think about the things I need to work on in advance of the “oh you’re barking again” episode. Tower is working on loose leash skills, stationing and door manners and weave pole exercises for agility. All those things are written down on a white board. When I know I have to get on a zoom call or write 782 emails by the end of the day, I make sure we work on those things BEFORE I sit down to try to do those things. Since my brain is being pulled in many different directions, I can figure out the plan before I need the plan. Then when I have 10 minutes before I sit down I look at the board, grab the snacks (that are already in the container ready to go) and work the dog.
Schedule the training session
I live by my calendar. Since I have to schedule most of my life, I schedule my training sessions also. When I am planning, I look at when a training session would be most beneficial for my day. If I have a block of morning appointments followed by a break. I will plan to train the dogs in the break. For me that is usually lunch time. In 5 to 10 minutes, their needs are met and they are less likely to sing the song of their people while I am on a call.
I think this is part of the planning. I write down what we worked on in each session and how it went. That way when I am ready to plan for next week, I can cross some things off the list or make them harder by adding distractions or taking the skill on the road. If Tower is doing well with his leash practice in the yard, I may move it to the front yard, or go for a short walk to the corner and back and see how that goes. Can I add the door bell to his door skills?
By keeping track of what we are working on and what progress we have made, I don’t have to make decisions in the moment when I am busy doing other things. This also helps keep my dogs happy and quiet when I need them to be. Even just 5 minutes or a few reps of an exercise helps get me closer to my goal.