Are you wondering how you can train your dog when you have don’t have the time? There are many dog training techniques and it’s easy to say “I don’t have time to train my dog”. And I get it, you have to go to work, take care of the kids, clean the house, go grocery shopping, drive the kids to soccer, basketball, karate… this list can go on an on and on!

But do you have time to feed your dog, take your dog for a walk, watch your favorite TV show after the kids go to bed? If you answered yes to any of these, then you do have time to train your dog.

All you need is 3-5 minutes each day to train your dog. Yes, I said 3-5 minutes. Dog training doesn’t need to take 30 minutes each day. In fact, you will see better results training in short spurts vs. long training sessions. Taking your everyday activities and turn them into learning experiences for your dog, that’s training.

Here are 5 quick dog training techniques and ideas to start training your dog today:

Turn Meal Time into Dog Training

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1. Turn Meal Time into a Training Moment

Most people feed their dogs twice a day. So this gives you two opportunities to train your dog every day, no excuses!

Level 1: Start by asking your dog to SIT before you serve him his food.

Level 2: Put your dog in a PLACE command, and make her stay in the PLACE for a few minutes while you prepare his food bowl.

Level 3: Feed your dogs entire meal in a training session. Practice basic commands, including SIT, STAY and COME by using your dog’s kibble. Take it a step further and add different trick commands. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to feed your dog one kibble at a time! After each successful command, give her a handful of food. This session should only last a few minutes.

2. Walking Your Dog Equals Training

Hopefully, you take your dog for a walk every day; if you don’t then please take a few minutes to read the Top 5 Reasons to Take Your Dog for a Walk. Even if you have only time to walk your dog around the block, take that 10 minutes to sprinkle in some training. Always walk your dog using a 6-foot leash, never a retractable leash.

Level 1: When you are preparing to go for a walk with your dog, make him SIT before you put on his leash. And when you open the front door, tell him to WAIT. You walk out the door first, then release your dog to come with you.

Level 2: When you come to the corner or crosswalk, stop, command your dog to SIT before moving forward. Eventually, your dog will learn the automatic sit, which means when you stop, your dog will auto sit without you having to tell him to.

Level 3: If your dog is a puller, instead of walking around the block, occasionally turn around and go in the opposite direction. Do this sporadically so your dog does not expect it. This will help your dog keep his attention on you and will slowly teach him pulling is not going to get him anywhere.

How to train your dog during commercial breaks

3. Don’t Waste Time Watching TV Commercials, Train Your Dog Instead

I don’t watch commercials anymore. Either I have the show recorded and will fast forward OR better yet, I will take that 3 minutes to train my dog! Three minutes is a perfect length of time for training. Keep a bag of training treats on your coffee table so it’s even quicker to get a few commands in. Our favorite treats are Fruitable Dog Treats because they are small and have very limited ingredients.

Level 1: Use commercial breaks to practice your basic commands, SIT and DOWN or even the PLACE command. See if your dog can stay in PLACE throughout the entire commercial break. Read Why You Need to Teach the PLACE Command to Your Dog.

Level 2: After you have practiced the PLACE command during commercial breaks, try switching the PLACE command during the live show.

Level 3: Put a leash on your dog and walk around the living room, working on the HEEL command. Your dog should learn how to walk next to you, on your left side. If he pulls, then turn and walk the opposite direction. Another way to stop pulling is to walk and turn into the front of your dog, you will need to keep him on a short but loose leash.

4. Play Time is a Perfect Time to Add a Few Training Commands

You don’t need any fancy dog training techniques… Does your dog like to play fetch or tug? If your dog is toy motivated, use it to your advantage with these ideas:

Level 1: During the times you are playing with your dog, ask him to SIT or DOWN before you throw the ball.

Level 2: Have your dog SIT and STAY while you walk a few feet or yards and then throw the ball to him to catch it.

Level 3: Playing brain games with your dog can strengthen your bond with her. Check out these indoor games that you can play anytime, even though they are fun, they are training your dog at the same time!

How to train your dog in 3 minutes a day

5. Anytime You Are with Your Dog, It Is Training Time

You may not realize it, but anytime you are with your dog, at home or outside, you are training your dog. Anytime you pet your dog, you are training him. Training what you ask? When you pet your dog, you are giving him affection, most dogs love and seek out affection. So if your dog jumps on you to say hello when coming home from work, and you pet him, you are training him to jump on you. If you pet your dog when he jumps up on the couch, you are training your dog to jump on the couch. Make sense? Your action results in your dog’s reaction.

Level 1: Make your dog work for your affection. Don’t give your dog a belly rub or any affection without asking for something in return. For example, your dog walks up to you wanting to be pet, simply ask him to SIT or DOWN before petting him. If he gets up, stop the petting

Level 2: Pick one thing your dog does that you DON’T want him to do. Be aware of how you react to this behavior and change it. Do not give him any attention, good or bad, for the bad behavior.

Level 3: Take your dog for a ride in the car. If you have quick errands to run, such as picking the kids up at school or dropping off the dry cleaning, take your dog with you. Getting your dog use to short car rides can create an overall calmer car experience for your dog. If the only time your dog gets to go for a car ride is to the vet or the dog park, then the car is going to be associated with those things.

Be Consistent Every Day!

This is overall the most important tip ever. Be consistent with everything you do for your dog. If you let him get away with not listening to your commands when you are “too busy”, then all the training is out the window.

Think of it this way… as a kid your mom tells you to clean your room, most of the time you listen to her, but one day you don’t feel like it so you decide to ignore her request. Your mom has two choices: one is to let you get away with it and then next time you “don’t feel like it” you probably won’t clean your room again. OR your mom can punish you for not cleaning up your room by taking away your cell phone. Next time, are you going to clean up your room?

So you see, you don’t need to block out an entire hour to train your dog. Simply take a few minutes several times a day to play and train your dog and you will be amazed on what you can accomplish.

P.S. If you are looking for a more comprehensive dog training program, Spirit Dog Training offers a wide variety of online training classes for very specific goals.

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About the Author

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

  1. Thank you so much. I’ve rescue a number of dogs in my adulthood but never come across one so overwhelming scared. This is only our 2nd full day at home, though, so she still needs plenty of time to work out that she’s okay.

  2. I appreciate the advice about walking the dog and having the dog sit when you come to a crosswalk. My wife and I are getting a Golden Retriever puppy and I’m wanting to train our new puppy to be the best dog. We’ll have to look into a professional dog trainer to get the best results for an obedient dog.

  3. Thanking you will be less because I can take better care of my dog ​​after your article so my dog ​​is very happy. I know ​training the dogs is equally beneficial to the pet and the owner.

  4. I like that you mentioned that anytime with your dog reinforces training or other behaviors. My friend’s dog begs for food, but she is not consistent in discouraging the behavior. She often unknowingly rewards her dog for begging even though she doesn’t want him to. It’s important to keep in mind that dogs learn through their everyday routine and not just through training sessions.

  5. Great post! I definitely liked how you emphasized consistency and broke the training down into multiple steps; as you said, every moment with your furry friend should be a moment of training- this is incredibly important when fostering a nurturing and positive relationship with your new dog.

  6. I wanted to thank you for this advice for training your dog every day. You mentioned that you can use play time to train a dog, like asking them to sit before you throw the ball. This seems useful especially if that repetition while they play can help them remember the command much better.

  7. I definitely liked how you emphasized consistency and broke the training down into multiple steps; as you said, every moment with your furry friend should be a moment of training- this is incredibly important when fostering a nurturing and positive relationship with your new dog. Great post!

  8. Awesome content rescue dogs 101, I adopted a puppy when he was 2 months old and I tried a lot to train him for the next 2 months but could only get little results. But I didn’t give up and kept investing atleast 10 to 15 minutes per day to teach him basic ‘sit’ and ‘catch’ commands and now he is around 7 months old and he follows all my basics commands and now I will look to train him for agility training. So guys I would just tell you that just like human beings , dogs also takes time to learn new skills and activities , but you as a tutor need to be consistent and patient.

  9. JUST GOT NEWLY ADOPTED RESCUE BEAGLE. HE’S I YEAR OLDAND HAVING TROUBLE HOUSEBREAKING HIM; BECAUSE THE FOSTER PERSON KEPT HIM IN A CRATE ALL DAY, NEVER A WALK, JUST FEED HIM AND PUT HIM IN THE BACKYARD ALL DAY. AM STARTING A DOG TRAINING COURSE AT PETCO NEXT WEEK. TAKE HIM FOR A WALK WHEN I FIRST GET UP.DOESN’T GO TO THE BATHROOM. FEED HIM AND TAKE HIM OUT A FEW HOURS LATER…..STILL DOESN’T GO. SAME ROUTINEINTHE EVENING; BUT HE’LL GO AS SOON AS I BRING HIM BACK FROM HIS WALK. HE PEES ON AN OLD CARPET N THE SCREENED PORCH AND POOPS IN THE UNFINISHED BASEMENT. I’VE ONLY HAD HIM FOR 3 DAYS AND ALL HE’S EVER KNOWN IS A CAGE IN A MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB AND A CRATE. I RE-FUSE TO CAGE HIM AGAIN AND AM WILLING TO SPEND THE TIME AND CLEANUP TILL HE IS HOUSEBROKEN.

    1. So it’s going to take some patience, but he will figure it out. Since you’ve only had him for 3 days, it’s still early. Keep him on a routine, and since you don’t want to use a crate for training, then keep him on a leash. Keeping him near you will allow you to observe him and as soon as he looks like he’s going to go, swoop him up and bring him outside. If you haven’t ready my post about potty training, check it out: How to Potty Train a Puppy Fast & Easy. Good luck and remember just to be patient!

  10. Those are some good ideas! will make sure to try some of them, especially the one that you train your dog why the commercial is on because i normally just sit there and wait but why not do something for those 3 minute commercials

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