Many dogs love their ball. Some love them a little too much. Here I wrote about what employers should do and what you should pay attention to.
Roughly speaking, employment should enable the dog to live out its natural needs. A dog needs to be allowed to be a dog. And as often as possible.
Based on this perspective, I have selected employment ideas here in categories that are primarily based on the need they are intended to satisfy:
- Sensory Load
Dogs need to be given the opportunity to experience the world around them. Above all, this includes the opportunity to sniff and look in peace and quiet and at your own pace.
- Social interaction
Dogs are usually not loners, they enjoy company, need to be spoken to, and have social contact. This includes cuddling, body care, and everything that strengthens the mutual bond.
- Movement and action
If you rest, you rust. Exercise keeps dogs slim and fit, but it shouldn’t just consist of excessive action and entertainment. It’s all about opportunities to live in natural behaviors.
- Foraging and variety in the bowl
In the wild, a full bowl is rarely placed in front of a predator. Dogs don’t see our free food offer as wealth and luxury and are often happier if they have to work a little for their food.
- Brain teasers and problem-solving behavior
Some dogs are highly intelligent and mentally impoverished if this talent is not challenged a little from time to time. Mindfulness can be wonderfully combined with useful training.
What makes good employment is the appeal of the new. The cutest toys and the most breathtaking walks become boring if you see them every day.
So keep changing the destinations a bit, buy something new, upgrade everyday life with small changes, or change the games you play with your dog.
Always remember that employment should not negatively stress the dog. The dog decides what he enjoys and whether he wants to play or not.
Dogs probably wonder about our behavior just as often as the other way around.
They don’t understand why we stare into monitors for hours every night consuming our favorite media. Nor do we understand how you can sniff the same blade of grass for 10 minutes.
We experience our environment mainly through our eyes and ears. The sense of smell is secondary to us, but it is probably the most important sense with which our dogs perceive their environment .
In a 2018 study of shelter dogs, it was found that offering cloths prepared with scents (ginger, coconut, vanilla, valerian) resulted in dogs barking less and moving less in their kennels.
This was interpreted by the researchers to mean that olfactory stimulation could contribute to relaxation
So it’s only fair that we allow our dogs regular “dog time” in which they can freely decide at what speed they want to examine what in their environment without being influenced by us.
1. Try a new walk route: Maybe you will find a new favorite route where there are new things for the dog (and you) to discover.
Just being outside is one of the best things dogs can do!
2. Sniffari: let the dog decide where the walk goes (within reason). This is particularly interesting for dogs on a leash, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to follow their nose in a self-determined manner.
The best way to lead the dog here is with a harness, in which it can breathe freely. Also have a look at my post about the different types of harnesses for dogs .
3. Doing an activity with a dog: Chilled dogs sometimes find it exciting to come along to the animal park, the hardware store or the ice cream parlor on a quiet day.
4. Driving to the water: Even dogs that don’t swim often experience real adventures through the other animal and plant world when you walk along bodies of water.
And you can also treat them to mud and sand baths if you can get them halfway clean on the spot, right?
5. Taking the dog on visits: Sniffing out everything in a strange garden and a strange apartment is a quiet but very exciting activity for dogs.
6. Hidden Objects: This includes all games in which the dog should find something with its nose.
- Tracking work
- Man trailing
- K9 coursework
- Object search
- Search lost
- Hide toys
- Hide cookies
7. Offer new smells: Admittedly, most dogs don’t elicit a great reaction when you buy special scented balls.
But even the simplest everyday objects offer the dog a rich sniffing program. So let the dog sniff your trouser legs when you come in from outside.
Please note: if you can smell it, it is more than enough for the dog! Scented oils are complete overkill for the dog’s nose and can be harmful to health. Only offer things that are not too sharp for a dog’s nose!
8. Even dogs with joint problems want to go out into nature: There’s nothing like a fresh breeze in your nose.
In the article about dogs with arthrosis, I wrote about aids such as dog buggies and harnesses to give even restricted dogs a bit of mobility back.
9. Trying new flavors: Dogs that are fed raw usually already have a lot of variety in their bowl.
But dry food in particular quickly becomes boring. Here you can let off steam (provided your dog has no food allergies) and upgrade your dog’s food with new flavors, e.g. a raw egg, a tablespoon of granulated cream cheese, a dash of oil or a glass of baby food.
And a piece of sour lemon is often played with curiosity for a long time.
10. Giving other cookies and chews: Has your dog been given the same snacks and training cookies for years? Then try out what else he likes.
Maybe a different type of cheese as a training treat or a chew that your dog isn’t familiar with. Baking yourself is of course also an option and, thanks to the baking mat recipes, it is no longer so much of an exaggerated effort!
11. New toys are especially exciting: Here you can easily rotate the toys that are available. We all have things at the bottom of the toy box that we don’t even know we have.
I am aware that toys are not freely available in every household. I, too, have experience with incorrigible destroyers, toy eaters and resource defenders. However, the principle is also applicable to the training toys used for individual dogs.
Even simpler: each of us likes to buy new toys for our four-legged friend (otherwise the toy box wouldn’t be so full). Win win I would say!
12. Allow for water features: Some dogs absolutely love water. Give them a chance to let off steam. It doesn’t always have to be a trip to the bathing lake. A paddling pool or fishing biscuits out of a water bowl can also satisfy this need to a certain extent.
In the cities (here it is sometimes difficult to find a bathing resort with dogs and not everyone has a garden) dog days are sometimes offered for socially acceptable dogs in public swimming pools.
And otherwise, dog swimming is currently in vogue and there are more and more offers for dog swimming and also therapeutically supervised swimming with dog physiotherapists.
13. Squeaky toys, crackles, chimes: It is well known that dogs do not like loud noises, the majority of all dogs are even afraid of them.
Toys with squeakers are very popular with dogs, but almost unbearable for our ears.
As an alternative, there are also squeakers, which make a dull grunting noise. This is still annoying in continuous use, but it doesn’t hurt the ears as much as a high-frequency squeak.
In addition, most dogs find rustling and crackling exciting because… mouse alarm!
A simple crackle toy can be made by stuffing a small plastic bottle into an old sock. There is also a wide range of toys that rustle or crackle.
Tip: Blind dogs usually quickly learn to use certain sounds for orientation (chimes show the way to the garden, bells in toys, etc.). You can take advantage of this and make everyday life easier for the dog.
14. Music can have a calming effect on dogs: Music has long been used in some shelters to help dogs relax.
A study published in 2015 found that classical music has a calming effect on dogs in kennels. However, this effect was lost after a few days of getting used to playing the same playlist over and over again
Building on this, a second study was conducted that tested whether adding multiple genres to dog music could enhance the effect. The dogs in this study were played songs from the soft rock, motown, pop, reggae, and classical genres.
Regardless of the genre of music, the dogs spent more time lying down during music playback. And in fact, there was no habituation effect within the study period.
Of course, our dogs don’t live in kennels, but they also have to be left alone sometimes or sleep in folding boxes after illness.
Music can help calm an agitated or lonely dog. We don’t need to create our own playlist for our dog now. Others have already done that for us. I found several playlists with calming music for dogs lasting several hours on this YouTube channel: Relax My Dog – relaxing music for dogs
The musician Terry Woodford has developed a collection especially for animal shelters and deposited well-known English-language lullabies with a human heartbeat. Canine Lullabies by Terry Woodford, found on Amazon.
15. Try TV Made for Dogs: Dogs see a different color spectrum than humans. They’re not completely color blind, but they see a narrower range of colors than we do and are better able to focus on moving objects than on still ones.
The American provider DogTV has therefore developed its own program for dogs. The German offshoot is currently no longer offered, but the English version seems to be still available online.
Whether dogs need it or like it, everyone has to decide for themselves.
16. Turn the garden into an adventure park: Depending on what the dog likes, you can set up different structural areas, for example a sand corner for digging or an elevated vantage point.
And in your own escape-proof garden you can think about installing a dog flap so that the good dog has free access to his favorite places.
17. Undergrounds and Climbing Practices: Dogs should be given regular opportunities to walk on dirt and grass. Just walking on hard asphalt is not ideal for our body either.
Small additional tasks can train the dog’s motor skills and its ability to perceive its own body (proprioception). We can do small exercises with the dog on a walk and let it jump, balance or climb on objects.
18. Dog Gymnastics: You can also do a few gymnastics here and there at home. In almost every puppy run there is a wobble board, these skills can also be refreshed with the adult dog from time to time.
Of course everything in peace and without risk of injury for the dog. If you have a dog that always wants to go full throttle and tends to overdo it, you should get tips and instructions.
Society and a stable social environment contribute to the quality of life just as much as species-appropriate food and a sheltered home.
Not every dog likes contact with other dogs, and that’s perfectly fine. But human attention also has a positive effect on dogs.
A study looking at the effect of human contact (presence, petting, or playing) on kennel dogs concluded, among other things, that the mere presence of a human was enough to minimize behaviors such as barking and panting.
19. Playing with Other Dogs: In the game, moves are practiced that the dog could later use in real life. Adult dogs no longer play as much and as boisterously as puppies (it’s no different with humans).
Not every dog likes dog contact and playing with other dogs. It’s even more natural for an adult dog to want to keep their distance and see other dogs as competitors at first.
So you should never force your dog into dog contact, give it time to thaw out and let it be if your own dog just doesn’t like other dogs.
If the dog likes to play with other dogs, meeting up with appropriate, well-known playmates is always a lot more enjoyable for everyone involved than wild group chases at the dog park. Similar to puppy playgroups, such playgrounds are only fun for bullies and bullies.
20. got a visitor. Your dog will certainly have a favorite person in your circle of acquaintances that he is particularly happy about. And there are many other dogs that enjoy attention.
Of course, you don’t invite guests to your home now just so that the dog can be petted by someone else. But when it does, it counts as activity and makes the dog happy.
21. Playing with you. When was the last time you played wild with your dog using just your hands and body?
Many people shy away from playing with their dog because the dog gets too rough and there are so many myths surrounding dog play.
It’s not about having to demonstrate your leadership role in the game. With this mindset you take a lot of joy out of life for yourself and your dog.
Indeed, with a dog that needs special management (aggression, resource defence), physical interaction and play with objects should only take place under safe conditions.
But a well-disposed dog can so often win and end up with the spoilsleave as you wish. He won’t develop any fantasies of omnipotence, I promise. It’s about keeping the game going and having fun together.
Try it out: If you play with the dog (with or without a toy) and suddenly stop and run backwards, does your dog follow you, maybe even press the toy to you and want more? Then you are doing everything right!
I also think it’s important to have a ritual after the game that signals the dog “done”. You don’t want to leave the dog whipped up, or give it the feeling that it did something wrong and is to blame for the end of the game. I actually say “Okay, that’s enough” and scatter a few biscuits on the floor to calm my dogs down again.
22. Stroke and Snuggle: Of course, this is probably the most obvious way of social interaction between dog and owner.
Here depends on the dog what he likes. Many dogs like contact lying. Others like to be pushed from top to bottom or roll onto their backs because they want their tummy rubbed.
23. Body Care: If the dog likes it, regular massages, brushing, and even nail trimming can be a relaxing activity spent together. Surprisingly
, dogs find it abusive when you force them down to remove a tick from behind their ear, or when you hold them against their will to brush them or take them to the bath. With the right training and some say, you can radically improve your dog’s attitude towards most grooming procedures. In the future, at least non-invasive activities such as brushing will be better endured or maybe even enjoyed at some point.
24. Training: Yes, training not only improves parenting, it strengthens bonding. At least if you use modern training methods!
Training should not only take place in long-planned units sometime on the weekend. Good, effective training can be incorporated into everyday life for just 5 minutes here and there. And above all: Training should be fun and improve mutual communication!
Training should never be boring. A border collie that is only supposed to do “sit” and “give paw” will feel just as underchallenged as a gifted child in frontal teaching.
If it has to be quick, you can test and improve your audio and visual signals in new situations and places instead of just asking about well-known behavior. Can your dog still complete his tasks when you present a biscuit in the palm of your hand or sit cross-legged on the ground?
Of course, you can also simply teach the dog something completely new or something “useless”. The path is the goal: Not every training session has to result in a brand new behavior under signal control. Or you can try out new approaches, for example if you don’t yet know
25. Take time with each dog individually . This is of course aimed at the multi-dog owners here. There are sometimes dogs that don’t demand much attention on their own and so lead a bit of an existence in the shadow of the more demanding dogs.
You should sometimes give these frugal, often older dogs your undivided attention and invite them individually to small excursions or to play.
26. Talking to the dog: Yes, that’s simple. Of course, dogs don’t understand every word. And it is precisely the baby talk that we all talk to our darlings that people who don’t understand dogs often turn up their noses at.
In 2018, a study was published in which British researchers examined how this rhythmic high-pitched babble is perceived by dogs.
Dogs actually spent more time around people who had a tape of dog-friendly baby talk playing near them. However, it was also shown that dogs seem to like baby talk especially when they are familiar with the spoken words.
So: There’s nothing wrong with telling your dog in a squeaky tone every now and then that he’s the best of them all! He actually likes that.
27. Integrate the dog into everyday life . We often don’t have time for our dog’s needs. We send him to his dog bed because he’s in the way. We are annoyed by intrusive game requests or simply have so much to do that there is no special time left for the dog.
If this happens more often, you should try to better integrate the dog into everyday life. Everyone knew beforehand that a dog is work and that keeping a dog is a time-consuming hobby.
For example, teach your dog to make himself useful. With exercises based on service dog work, your dog can learn to lift objects off the floor or close doors. Give him chores like this every now and then to make him feel needed.
Movement and Action
Most people who inquire about dog hobbies do so with the intention of burning off excess energy with their lively dog.
I deliberately avoided “frustration games”, i.e. unsolvable tasks. Of course, chasing the laser pointer and “running eggs” (balls so big that the dog cannot put them in its mouth) can quickly tire the dog. But here it is only exploited that some dogs simply cannot help but impulsively follow every movement stimulus. This is more nerve-racking than fun for many of these dogs.
Here I have listed a few other options that can encourage your dog to play merrily, but go far beyond stupid ball tossing.
28. Interactive Toys: Toys such as wind-up mice, which move around the home in unpredictable patterns, make noises or spit out biscuits, can encourage particularly lazy dogs to move around a bit.
This is of course nothing for dogs who tend to overreact anyway (especially since the fun then usually only lasts a few seconds before it goes into the bin).
A note: A vacuum robot has almost the same effect as far as the animation program is concerned (which in our case consists of getting up and lying down in exasperation). With the subtle difference that I have deliberately trained here that the dog should not interact with the robot.
29: Use trash as dog toys . Many dogs love old cardboard boxes that they are allowed to tear apart. Old pieces of tubing or plastic bottles make great dog toys. Old textiles with a few knots in the middle make great tug toys.
Of course, destructive dogs should always play with this under observation, so that no individual parts are swallowed.
So before you dispose of larger objects, always ask yourself: Can my dog play with them again?
30. A ball pit for the dog . Many dogs still know something like this as a test of courage from their puppy days. You can buy something like that in every children’s store, it’s quick to set up and with a few biscuits it’s a wonderful outdoor sniffing game.
31. Provide a digging corner . If you drive your dog to the sea, that is often one of the first things that enchant the dog. Sand for digging is often one of the first things.
So you can look out for a walk to see if there is a suitable spot for digging the ground for the dog somewhere.
Because letting the dog dig in meadows and third-party property is not very fair to other walkers and animals (risk of injury from twisting your ankle in holes) and makes the owner of the area an enemy of the dog if mechanical care and mowing are made more difficult by all the lunar craters.
You can also set up a sand corner for the dog in your garden at home, where it can dig to your heart’s content. If the dog has learned to just rummage in its own sandbox, it may even increase its willingness to compromise on leaving the flower beds alone.
32. Dog Sports: Dog sport is not only a lot of fun and is demanding for a dog and its owner. Some of us benefit from a guide we can work our way along that motivates us to exercise regularly.
There are many ways to employ the dog in the (modern) dog club or privately: tournament dog sport, “utility dog sport”, agility, obedience, rally obedience, object search, and drive the ball, …
33. Sports and hobbies with the dog: If you have an active dog, you should also be fit. Of course, you can’t take your dog to the gym. But there are many things you can do with your dog: hiking, cycling, jogging, geocaching,…
34. fetch games: This doesn’t mean throwing a blunt ball (that’s so simple and careless that even machines can now do it for you, eg this ball slingshot for a steep price ♥ ).
You can also design fetch games intelligently and, for example, get involved in dummy work or have toys hidden, searched for, and brought. Or lay out several toys and practice directions. Or train impulse control. Can you retrieve the dog from chasing the ball? Does it stay put when you throw a ball?
35. Trigger Rod: With this, you can not only exercise the dog in a small area, but you can also train impulse control because you have full control over the moving object.
36. Train Dog Hobbies: This is a growing leisure area and hobbies such as canicross, bikejoring or skijoring are becoming increasingly popular. There are dog scooters, dog cycling equipment, harnesses, straps, and much more for sale.
Of course, this is not suitable for every dog. But with the right dog, it can be incredibly fun.
37. Tug of War games: Lots of dogs love to “Zergel”. Done well, this isn’t about who ends up with the loot, it’s about keeping the game alive.
So it must not be about winning, demonstrations of power, or world domination for either the dog or the owner. If the dog takes the game too seriously, you shouldn’t create an artificial conflict with tug-of-war and look for another hobby instead.
38. Swimming: Swimming is a great way for your dog to get consistent exercise. And even older dogs can move more freely than on land thanks to the buoyancy in the water, perhaps supported by a carrying harness.
Foraging and variety in the bowl
Foraging is one of the most important needs of our dogs, along with sleeping.
A full belly is nice, but secretly many dogs enjoy it when they have to work a little for their food.
It is important to find the right level of difficulty for your dog.
As the owner, you often buy a foraging game or fill a snack ball according to all the rules of the art and then present it to your dog expectantly. But he only sniffs it for a moment and leaves the new object because he doesn’t know what to do.
So, always start lightly and arouse interest first.
39. Scattering cookies and snuffle mats: Instead of simply passing dry food in the bowl, you can make it an exciting but simple experience for the dog by simply scattering his food on the floor.
In households with only one dog, you can even go so far as to spread the portion over the whole apartment.
And if you have a garden, you can simply throw the biscuits on the grass. Snuffle mats are a perfect replacement for the dog bowl indoors because they actually simulate nothing more than biscuits in the grass.
40. Slow Feeder/ Anti-sling Bowl: Here, too, you can upgrade the dog’s everyday life with a simple change. Instead of a normal bowl, the feed can now be offered in a bowl with a structured surface.
This is feasible for all forms of feeding and the patterns of most bowls can be cleaned quickly if leftovers get stuck.
41. Fodder Balls: A food ball that has to be rolled around in a certain way so that the treats fall out does not get boring so quickly due to the movement aspect. In addition, balls with different degrees of difficulty are offered here, so that the game can be made more difficult for the dog.
There is an incredibly wide range of snack toys. Here you can find my dog’s favorite food toys.
42. Fillable Food Toys: Sure, there are KONGS in practically every dog household. But there are now an incredible number of toys that can be filled with dry or wet food.
This is not only interesting as a snack for dogs, but you can also lengthen the normal portions if the dog has to slowly nibble them out of a toy like this instead of out of a bowl.
Extra tip: try out whether your dog likes apples. Then you can also fill hollowed-out whole apples with wet food and offer them.
43. Licking Toys: This is the simplest variant of food toys. The dog has direct access to the food but has to lick for a long time in order to get its tongue into every crevice. Purchasable lollipop mats
are suitable, but depending on the size of the dog, upside-down trivets or ice cube molds made of food-safe silicone are also suitable.
44. Frozen Treats: In principle, all toys that can be filled with wet food can also be frozen. Too much ice-cold food hits the stomach for some dogs, so start slowly and see how well it is tolerated.
In summer, you can also freeze a few slices of biscuits in frozen broth, wet food, or yogurt (depending on the dog’s size, for example in a dog frisbee or an old muffin tin) for outdoor fun. These food discs slide back and forth when playing and are therefore interesting for the dog.
45. Sucking on yogurt cups: Dogs love to scoop out cups full of leftover plain yogurt, granulated cream cheese, or peanut butter (unsweetened). This is fun that you can treat them to.
46. Cardboard Games: Old cardboard boxes make wonderful food toys. Old rolls of household paper and toilet paper can be filled with biscuits and then simply fold the ends in to seal.
And old cardboard boxes and tissue boxes can be filled with old dog towels or toys, for example, and then thrown in a few biscuits.
47. Chews: There is something here for every four-legged friend. Sticks or dried omasum or tripe or “puppy sticks” are sufficient for old and small dogs. For larger dogs and extreme chewers, there are cases of hardship such as cattle scalp or pizzle.
Please be careful with bones. Cooked bones splinter quickly and can be dangerous. And Raw bones are about as healthy for dogs as milk is for cats or cheese is for mice: not at all.
Small bones are swallowed whole, and large bones are heavy in the stomach and lead to painful “bony feces”. Even raw-fed dogs should only be given bones under the supervision and in moderation. Here, too, it is all about the dental care effect.
It is best to serve bones with a lot of meat on them. This way the dog can gnaw the remains of meat off the bone and you can then dispose of the piece of bone yourself before it is eaten.
48. Up the lining: Dry food is boring in the long run. There are a lot of extras that can be used to add variety to normal dog food.
You can, for example, offer oils, milk products in moderation, baby jars with fruit and vegetables, an egg (raw or boiled), or even a few leftovers from the table (yes, dogs shouldn’t be fed pizza crusts, but as an extra here and there that’s enough in order).
I particularly enjoyed this article on relaxed flexible dog feeding: The ABAM Concept: A Revolutionary Feeding Method for Dogs.
Practice brain teasers and problem-solving strategies
This includes everything that presents the dog with problems and thereby stimulates him to think. Usually, this means nothing more than making him work for his rewards (food, toys, opportunities to do things) aka dog training.
Listing all training ideas here would be redundant. It’s not about what you teach your dog, it’s about showing him something new on a regular basis.
But puzzles and practically all of the above-mentioned foraging games also pose challenges for the dog.
In this way, the dog can use its cognitive abilities and not become dumb with the same tasks over and over again. These exercises also improve concentration and listening skills.
49. Teaching new tricks. When was the last time you taught your dog something new?
Just practicing new signals stimulates the dog’s thinking: Dogs are obviously able to learn signals and learn to distinguish them from other signals. New words are just as interesting as new objects and stimulate the thinking apparatus.
You don’t always have to invent a whole new dog trick. For example, you can teach your dog to distinguish between two of its toys.
50. Practice familiar words: In a new context. “Proofing” is about making your signals suitable for everyday use. A pitfall that many beginner trainers stumble over is, for example, the “unconscious aids”.
The point is that dogs perceive a lot more than we think we show. For example, we mean to teach our dog the new command “sit”. In truth, however, we also raise our fingers in the air, bend forward, and look at our dog with a concentrated face.
Sometimes the dog cannot distinguish which of these signals means that it should sit. The finger? Our gestures or facial expressions?
Instead of wiping out all the helps on yourself, it’s much more effective and fun to just change everything except the character you want. For example, we can sit down, cross our arms and say “Sit”. Or we can balance on one leg, arms out wide, not face the dog, and whisper “Sit.”
Is he easy? Fine. Can’t he? Then don’t scold him, but help him.
With this exclusion method, the dog has to observe and think carefully until the “Eureka” effect kicks in.
51. Puzzles and Intelligence Toys: I only mention this here because it is so obvious. In reality, I find many of these toys overpriced for the fact that the dog quickly solves them and then finds them boring. Or they are too difficult for your own dog and are stored directly.
But every now and then I get these toys out of the moth box. It is best to rotate these toys with canine acquaintances. Then every dog sees something new, but you don’t have to buy everything yourself.
52. Shaping: Switching to positive training methods has nothing but benefits. Not only that methods from the hierarchy theory are completely outdated, often much too harsh and unfair for the dog.
Training is also simply more fun and still remains effective if it doesn’t always have to be about the (ranking) degradation of the dog.
Anyone who has dealt with marker training knows shaping: the dog can try it out and, like hitting a pot, you give him feedback on whether he is on the right path to the desired behavior.
There is hardly a better way to keep a dog mentally occupied. Be sure to try it!
53. Cavaletti: Cavaletti originally comes from equestrian sport. Orderly running over ground obstacles should train the dog’s surefootedness and concentration.
Here’s a link to the groundwork on the blog Shaping-Dog.
54. Find objects: If the dog can fetch, you can start to vary the game and make it more difficult. You can let the toy look for it in the grass, hide it under leaves or hang it on a branch fork at a height of 50 cm.
And you can teach the dog to complete small exercises before it is allowed to look for a toy that has been thrown, which increases memory.
55. Hand Feeding Games. This is a variant of dog training that is particularly suitable for everyday use. Behavior thrives on rewards. We often expect a lot from our dogs but want to give little in return. And we’ve all had times when we can’t find time for everyday exercise.
Set yourself a training goal. This can be a known behavior that needs to be tweaked (e.g. retrieval, focus on you). Or a new behavior that makes your everyday life easier (e.g. the dog should go to bed on signal).
Now take a large freezer bag or bowl and pack it full of cookies and put it (out of reach of the dog) in the hallway or any other place you like. Every time you see the biscuits and feel like it, you count 10 pieces, call your dog, do 10 repetitions of the chosen exercise, and at the end sprinkle a few biscuits on the ground (quasi-a bonus for good cooperation), and done.
This makes you train regularly for 2 minutes in between. And when the bowl is empty, your dog has learned something new without feeling like a hassle or a hassle.