Most of my clients talk about the challenges of their schedules and sometimes apologize to me for not training their dogs as much as they would have liked since our last appointment. I don't think my job is to make my clients feel bad for not training their dog. I am positive that if most people had the choice of going to their jobs or staying home all day and training their dog or running him in the park they would choose the dog activities every time.
Everyone is busy. We all have incredibly busy jam-packed lives. My goal is to post to my blog a minimum of 3 times per week and it has been 6 days since I last posted. Ugh. My challenge is that my private dog training business is extra busy during the summer and each new client that hires me requires a lot of upfront time in scheduling, training plans and the time it takes for the appointments themselves. I am grateful for all of my wonderful clients and I get extreme satisfaction in doing a job that not only pays my bills but also provides me with the joy and satisfaction of helping dogs and people enjoy each other more. I love my job.
However, my blog posts are incredibly important to me as well. My blogs have the potential to help dogs all over the world, and not just in my finite travel area in Chicago. My days often last from 7am - midnight or later and are often filled with tasks that are more pressing than writing blog posts. One item on my list that can't get pushed to another day is fulfilling the needs of my dogs. It is my responsibility to give them what they need. Every day I usually give them three long walks including at least one romp in the park. I also train them at least a few minutes each day.
I never doubt the good intentions of my clients or their understanding of how important it is to spend quality training time with their dogs. Everyone understands that dogs are happier and will learn more if more time is spent teaching them.
One logical, often overlooked strategy is to put a specific training appointment on your calendar for dog training. We are a society obsessed with schedules. Why not schedule training time for your dog? Most people do some form of training with their dogs, whether it is a group class, private training or my dog training videos. After the classes are done, you should keep to a schedule and stick to it.
Is your dog worth 15 minutes a day? Of course she is. What if you made a training appointment at least 3 times per week on your calendar for 30 minutes? What if you fed at least one of your dog's meals each day during a training session? Instead of just going for a 15-minute walk, do a 15-minute training session while walking. There has got to be time in there for your dog. Ideally, you train your dog at least 15 minutes per day every day including a couple minutes before you go for a walk or during a walk, before meals, while you are playing fetch (ask for sits, downs, and stays before you throw the ball). But, why not schedule longer sessions at least a couple times a week?