Being a dog trainer is pretty cool. Whenever I tell people what we do they always say “You are so lucky”, “I want to do that” or “I’m so jealous you get to play with dogs all day”. In which I always try to refrain from what I really want to say and politely smile and follow it by an awkward silence. The truth is I believe people use the word “luck” in reference toward other people to let themselves off the hook for not following their own passions or lack of work ethic. Perspective is a funny thing because from the outside in it may look like we play with dogs most days and usually the people that say they want to work with dogs and play with them are the same ones that say I don’t have the “time to train my dog”. The most frequent question we receive is “what is the hardest breed to train?” Our answer: “human.” The dogs are the easy part, training the human is much harder so let us share with you 10 WAYS TO TRAIN YOUR DOG IN 10 MINUTES. We all have 10 minutes in a day to devote fully to our best friend, right?

If you are reading this and don’t have a lot of time then this is for you. We as humans are always telling ourselves (and others) stories of time. We just “don’t have the time” anymore. At some point we decided it was cool to be busy. We see each other and ask “Hey so-and-so how is it going? So-and-so responds: “Oh Im just slammed with work, family and life”. I get it, we are all surrounded with things we should or feel like we must get done everyday. The world is constantly evolving and technology is progressing us forward and making it easier to feel the pressures of a to do list burning a hole in your pocket.


With a limited supply of time not only do our friends and family become affected but our four-legged companions as well. So if you struggle to find time to train your dog here are 10 WAYS TO TRAIN YOUR DOG IN 10 MINUTES. Lets get real. If you don’t have 10 minutes then 1 – you shouldn’t own a dog in the first place and 2 – you don’t have a life . We all can find 10 minutes somewhere throughout the day for our dog. Sometimes I think we should take a lesson from them and not live in the past or future and just be here now. So here are some tips and tricks I have learned on days I feel busy or rushed myself and have personally worked on my own dogs. If anyone knows Bullet, our Coopers Australian Shepherd and truly knows Carmella, our Seasons Gold Golden Retriever, and it worked on them then it can work on your dog.

Here are THREE steps I recommend before we get started:

1. Put your phone on silent. Just be in the moment and give your dog all the attention in the world. If you give your dog your undivided attention, I promise they will give it back to you easily and the fun begins. Plus it feels good to unplug sometimes.
2. Pour yourself a drink. Remember this is a time to bond with your best friend. Relax together, plus you will show your goofy side more likely with your dog. They tend to enjoy that child side more than the serious-overworked-life is hard you. If you prefer to hydrate with water that is great as well for an active training session.
3. Motion creates emotion! Run around with your dog throughout your training sessions, get active. Dogs are not meant to be couch potatoes and neither are you. Dogs never mature over the capability of a human 2 year-old, have you ever hung out with a 2 year-old? They like to move. So does your dog. HAVE FUN!

Now that you are prepped and ready to go here are


1. Tricks. Learning something new will mentally fatigue your dog quickly, plus who doesn’t like an adorably smart pup? At your next get together we are certain your dog will be the center of your social circle with his arsenal of party tricks. Learn the KeenDog hug trick.
2. Place work. A place is anything with boundaries that will help focus your dog into what is happening on that specific area and you. Dogs will associate place as a great thing as they will get rewarded for being on it, as well as build confidence by being on a variety of objects. Dogs, like children, love to climb and explore – jungle gyms are just as beneficial and fun for your dog’s development as they are for your children. Find a variety of places in your home, neighborhood and anywhere you visit with your dog!
3. Heel turns. Dogs do not have a great sense of their backend so it is beneficial to train them how to pivot and back their rear end. Train your dog a heel turn.
4. Mental games. Providing your dog a puzzle toy such as a kong wobbler, or playing hide-a-seek with some of their kibble throughout your house are great ways to mentally work your dog!
5. Agility. As before mentioned dogs like to jump over things, not only is it fun, but it builds confidence in your dog. You can purchase agility jumps online or if you have two chairs and a broom make your own makeshift jump and have your dog jump over varying heights.
6. Retrieving things around the house. Many popular breeds were meant to retrieve (think Goldens and Labs), yet now we view more dogs as companions then a working animal. When a dog who has been breed for decades is not being trained how to properly use their natural instincts it can result in them offering up undesirable mouthy behaviors such as grabbing onto your shoes, purse, tissues, hands…the list can go on and on. It is also usual when you train your dog to retrieve things for you such as the remote across the room, their leash to go for a walk or a beverage from the fridge.
7. Recall games. Having your dog to come when called is the most important command for safety, yet most dog owners struggle with this command. So practice this daily by having fun with the recall. Play hide and seek with huge rewards of your pup finding you when you call them. If another person is present then work on calling your dog back in forth with games of tug, chin scratches and chase used as rewards.
8. Teach your dog how to run by your bike. This not only will physically work your dog, but will mentally as well. Plus it is exercise for you too. Win-win. Just make sure not to go too far, too fast or on a hot day!
9. Obedience mixed with a play session. Do you have a chuck-it crazed pup and you endlessly play fetch? Or a frisbee dog that would do anything to catch that 6 foot air grab? Add in obedience such as sit to down, down to sit, recall, recall to heel, tricks, send to place, walking downs, heeling, etc…throughout your play sessions to mentally and physically work your dog.
10. HIIDT: High intensity interval (dog) training. Try doing as many of these in 10 minutes as possible. Switch it up, continue to push your dog’s skills, be a goofball, run around and come back for another 10 minutes the next day. The bond you will achieve with your dog and the daily improvements you will experience are what the KeenDog lifestyle is all about.

IMG_9877We hear it all the time: “my dog is never tired they have all this energy” or “they are only tired after a training session with KeenDog trainer”. If this is true then ask yourself why? Why is it that we can get your dog tired and knocked out for the rest of the night in a single training session? Think about it. It goes back to step 1. We are giving all of our attention to the dog. We as humans like to brag about multitasking but the truth of the matter is we hardly give anything 100% of our attention. Just start with 10 minutes. I promise you will see a difference in not only making your dog tired but the excitement and happiness your dog will shine. The mentally fatiguing part will be a bi-product of strengthening the bond and trust with your dog, Now ready, set, train!


Phillip Kensington, Owner KeenDog