Confessions of a Bad Owner:

I don’t work enough on Obedience Training.

Dog Training

Maggie exhibiting “Watch Me”.

There.  I said it.  You have no idea how guilty I’ve been feeling about this!  Don’t get me wrong, all three of my dogs are pretty good with the basics, and we do practice when we go on walks and what-not, but I know that I should be working with them multiple times a day.  I’m not going to sit here and give you all the reasons why I didn’t work with them more consistently, but I moving forward I am not going to let any excuses get in the way of our practice time.

Dog Training

Tag practicing “Stay”.

None of my dogs are food aggressive (phew!) but they lose their minds when treats are added to any scenario.  Really, they go b-a-n-a-n-a-s!  While this is great because they are all super food motivated, and therefore easier to train, it also means that I have to work with them individually so that I can keep their focus entirely on me.  Otherwise, they are far more concerned with who-got-how-many-treats and end up paying more attention to the other dogs than me.  Eventually I want to get them to the point where I can work with them as a group, but in the mean time, I need to strengthen their individual skillz.

Stay Position

Maggie showing off her best “stay”.

Each morning I have been taking the pups out, one at a time, and reviewing the basics in our front yard.  There are other dogs near us so this provides us with just enough distractions to keep things interesting, but not exciting enough to make it impossible to focus.  Thankfully we live at the back of a quiet little cup-de-sac so it is safe and easy for me to practice “stay” with them and get a good distance away without having to worry about a car coming.

Stay Command

Tag waiting oh-so patiently for me to release her.

It’s funny to see the differences in their personality from strictly an obedience standpoint.  Tag is my super rock star.  I can put her in “stay” and walk, with my back turned, to the end of the street and just stare at her for minutes on end before giving her the “come” command.  She never breaks “stay” even though I can literally see her twitching to run over.  Then there is Buddy.  This is the one aspect where he is middle of the road.  He’ll go  into “stay” but I can’t get more than a couple of yards away before he breaks it.  Usually he is just more interested in investigating his surroundings than anything else.  Then there is Maggie.  I actually think she is the smartest of the three (yay pitties!) but I can literally see her wheels spinning when I give her a command.  “Do I listen?”  “Is she serious?”  “Maybe I’ll just test her out a little.”  I can usually only get a yard or so away from her before I am in danger of her breaking “stay” before I give the command.


I can’t really say what prompted this need to confess my sins or the desire to mold my dogs into the obedient little devils angels I know they are capable of being, but take this as my solemn vow to start working more with them.  Please, help hold me accountable!

How often do you work with your dog on their obedience training?  Do you have a long repertoire of mad skillz or are you happy with just the basics like “sit” and “stay”?  Do you practice solo or around other dogs?  I’m dying to know!

p.s. If you didn’t see the link I posted on Facebook earlier, I highly recommend you check out Kiko Pup on YouTube!  She is so great at simply and efficiently breaking down the best ways to train your dog force-free (which is the only acceptable way to train them!)

11 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bad Owner:

  1. I checked out the KikoPup channel on YouTube an subscribed immediately. I’m so excited to find her. I’ve been working with Joey on easy things like “sit” or “leave it” but wanted to do more and was struggling. Her videos have me excited again. Yeah! Thanks 🙂

  2. I too lack in the obedience training time with my pups and use our walks for just that. One of my biggest issues is that no matter how much training I do I can’t get Dottie to listen on walks and walk without pulling. And, if we were to practice around other dogs there would be no practice, it would be chaos. So don’t feel bad!

  3. Don’t feel bad at all. We are all in the same situation. We use a Sporn Halter for our one dog who is part German Shepherd/Akita to use when we walk her. This works well because she has so much strength and power in her pull and the Sporn harness throw them off kilter a bit and they learn to just “walk” instead of pull. I work with our two dogs all the time on things and it is hard. The sit and beg etc stuff is easy for them, but learning how to stay on command takes more work. Hang in there! Stop by our blog when you get the chance at Love & Hugs, Nikita & Bella

  4. I guess one of the benefits of being a reactive dog mom is that training pretty much has to happen every single day, and every time we go on a walk it’s a high stakes training environment (which makes at home practice that much more important). Progress isn’t always linear, but we are always learning. Sometimes I feel like since my big guy needs it so much more, I miss learning opportunities with my whip smart Jack Russell for continued training. I’m hoping to get him signed up for agility in the coming months to take his skills to a new level and spend some quality time together without his slightly bonkers brother!

  5. Staying is ok for Donna outside when there are minimal distractions. Slowly working on the distraction level. It’s when I release her from staying, she gets so excited bounding towards me that she’ll overshoot and I get paranoid she’ll run too far away! 😀 So usually I walk back to her before I release her from stay. Kikopup is great, have learnt a lot from her videos the last few months with Donna 😉

  6. Don’t ever feel guilty…you are just doing the best that you possibly can every single day! I can not imagine how much work is needed to parent 3 dogs, let alone just 1! With Taylor, I try to make it a habit to do a 2-minute training session with her after every potty break, plus during her walks. Grouping these tasks together is the only way I am able to remember to actually get some training in each day…my long-term memory skills are not up-to-par! 😉

  7. I think the net, net is that most of us, could be doing more! I always notice that training has been lacking when my complaints on walks (about behavior) out weight my ‘wow, you’re doing great’. You’ve inspired me to work harder!!

  8. Every little thing counts. I barely have time (other than Sunday) to actually go out and train them, but during meal time, I will make them sit and stay for their food. Sometimes, they can go five minutes, and I can wash a few dishes or grab some things in my room. When we go on walks, I make them stop at each stair case and wait for my okay to go down. It’s the little things you do during the day that add up – but I am guilty of not taking enough time out of the day to train them, too. You’re not alone!


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