On a rainy weekend morning, when I should have been walking the dog but wasn’t in the mood to go out in the downpour, I decided instead to do a bit of housework in hopes that the weather would change.
Betsy, however, was antsy for action, so I decided to involve her in the chores. Her job: Hold a position (down, sit) while I did a bit of work. This ended up being great in a number of ways:
1. It actually tired her out (work is exhausting, as anyone with a job will confirm)
2. It made doing chores more fun for me 🙂
3. We got to practice a bit of obedience! Multitasking! Getting chores AND dog training done at the same time!
So here is my highly recommended, “doing the chores with your dog,” routine.
In order for this to work, your dog already needs a solid stay. As long as you have that, you’re golden.
The formula is this: Ask your dog for a sit or a down, and do one chore while they hold it. Dog sits, you wipe down the counters. If they hold it nicely, you give them a treat, then ask them for a down. Dog holds a down, you empty the dishwasher. Try to choose sits for shorter chores, downs for longer ones, since holding a sit for more than a minute or two isn’t super comfortable for the dog.
After one sit and one down, you take a short break and get them to do a quick set of sit-release-down-release, do a trick, give a couple of treats. This is so they don’t get too sick of doing boring work.
Then you start again. Dog holds a sit, you sweep the floor… etc etc. Breaks can also involve a quick game of tug, anything to keep things fun.
If your dog starts to flag and breaks their stay, it’s probably a sign that you’re asking for too much and they’re getting bored. At that point, release them and just finish up your chores without ‘em. Figure out how much they can handle, and slowly work up from there whenever you do chores.
I’m really digging this new routine, for the reasons I already listed. I think it’s a nice way for anyone who feels like they don’t have time to train their dog to fit a bit more training in to a busy schedule 😊