Have you ever worked really hard to learn something new? But later forgot much of what you learned because you didn’t practice? Well, that could happen to me, if my mom and I didn’t practice my tasks regularly.
I probably won’t forget how to do things. But without practice, I would get sloppy. And slower to respond. Because I would have to think harder, I would be less confident.
Some tasks I do every day because they are the ones my mom needs the most help with. Like tugging open and closing the drawers, cupboards, and doors. Picking up things she drops. Throwing away the trash. And flushing the toilet.
Throwing away some trash for my mom!
But some tasks I don’t have to do as often. So these tasks my mom has me practice. Otherwise, I might forget what to do when she needs the actual help. Or be slow and sloppy with my performance.
And there are also new tasks that I am learning. Which takes extra training time. And lots of practice so I become proficient and fluent.
That would be a lot of things to work on every day. So instead, my mom makes a training plan. And chooses a few for each day. But some days are hard. And my mom doesn’t have enough energy. Or extra time to fit in training sessions.
There might be long appointments that are exhausting. Or the need to endure the side effects of antibiotics. Or maybe just a sleepless night that makes for a long day ahead.
So what do we do these days? Sometimes just my regular tasks. And no extra training. Which is okay. There is always the next day.
But some days my mom has the energy to do a little bit of training. But not the full training schedule she had planned. So she finds ways to do quick little training sessions throughout the day.
This might be practicing a skill while the water for her tea heats in the microwave. Like not touching a dog biscuit that she drops on the floor, while I’m laying by her chair.
Or maybe she has me do a task while she is waiting for the toaster oven. This could be retrieving a coin or a credit card, which I don’t get to do very often on a regular day.
Picking up a credit card for my mom!
And delivering it to her by putting my paws up on the edge of the counter. Which is a good way for me to practice the task of doing a transaction with a sales clerk at a store.
My mom even has me practice some of my obedience skills during these short little sessions. Like doing a sit-stay while she brushes her teeth. Or practicing my position changes while she drinks her coffee.
So, as you can see, my mom and I can do quite a few training sessions throughout the day. Ones that might just be two or three minutes at a time. But enough time to engage and learn!
Even on days when we can work on the more involved training plans my mom made, we do short sessions scattered throughout the day. Usually five or ten minutes at a time. Although I NEVER want to stop! But she tells me that it is important to take breaks. And even play in between!
Do you remember that my mom and Buffy used to train for dog sports? And go to competitions? My mom loves training and competing. And is working with me so that one day she and I can compete at dog shows.
Practicing a sit on my platform!
Since my mom loves training so much and learning new things, she does lots of reading. And takes awesome online dog training classes at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy.
Sometimes my mom needs to rest during the day. But I’m not sure how much she is really resting. Because during these times, she is reading dog training books. Or watching dog training videos. She even wakes up in the night thinking about ways she can do better with my training!
The extra training we do for dog sports has the added bonus of helping to make my service dog work more precise. And strengthens the working relationship my mom and I share.
I get plenty of playtime, too!
Each and every day we do some training. It might be short sessions or longer ones. Sometimes working on service dog tasks or sports dog skills. Or doing a few tricks.
Sometimes we stay at home. And other times we go out to appointments for my mom. Or to do errands. Or go to lunch with friends. All the while looking for training opportunities!
But no matter what we are doing throughout the day, we are happy! Because we are together!