Every morning I crawl out of bed around 6 am.
I walk to the living room and let the dogs out.
We say our good mornings, and then I brew a pot of coffee as they take care of business in the front yard.
When they come in, it’s training time.
Each dog gets about 5 minutes.
That’s all it takes.
But those 5 minutes, spent over coffee, are some of the most important in their day.
My name is Meagan Karnes, and I am a pajama dog trainer.
Listen, when I had my first dog before I knew anything about dogs except that I loved them, the idea of training felt overwhelming.
My dog was reactive, so I always had to psych myself up to take him out.
And truth be told, I was always expecting the worst when I did finally stick that leash on and we headed out the front door.
I always felt like training was something I had to dedicate a chunk of time to.
That I’d have to go to that hour-long training session each week…
That would be frustrating, long and overwhelming to say the least.
And in between sessions, I’d model my daily training after those weekly sessions I had with my trainer…
They’d be long and overwhelming too…
And inevitably, we’d hit roadblocks and we’d get frustrated.
And I’d always feel defeated at the end of it all.
Fast forward a few years, when I got my first working dog.
Same rules applied.
Long club training days…
And a frustrated dog and handler…a handler who had to psych herself up to train because secretly, she didn’t want to.
But those days are long gone.
These days, I’m excited to train, sessions are more effective, and my dogs are motivated.
And it was one simple shift that set us on the path to success.
I became a pajama dog trainer.
Check it out.
Logging quick reps every day over coffee will give your dog a more profound learning experience, than drawing things out for way too long will.
Not to mention, if you want behaviors to stick in everyday life, whether you are training a family pet or prepping for competition, you’ve got to actually practice those behaviors in everyday life.
That means over coffee, in your PJs, or after lunch. Or as dinner is cooking.
To be effective, you’ve got to be a pajama trainer too!
Here are the top reasons you should become a pajama trainer:
- It’s less daunting: The idea of a 5-minute training session is far less daunting than an hour that may or may not go to plan. It can be hard to carve out an hour or more in your schedule each week, but I guarantee, if you cut the facebook time by a fraction, you CAN carve out 5 minutes to train your dog. And you’ll be more likely to follow through because 5 minutes feels less overwhelming.
- It’s more comfortable: Who doesn’t want to do things in their pajamas? I work from home and there are entire days where I don’t put on grown-up clothes. I mean really, pajamas (and a good pair of slippers) are the most comfortable thing around.
- There’s less chance for frustration: Practicing something for 5 minutes is easy. Practicing for an hour can be downright frustrating. Pushing a dog to learn, and absorb for an extended period of time can lead to higher stress and a higher chance at failure. But those short sessions tend to leave both dog and owner wanting more.
- Your lessons will be more effective: Retention is more profound if you practice often. And it’s easier to stay consistent if you create training habits you can keep. Short daily sessions (in super comfy clothes) are easier for both dog and owner to commit to, greatly increasing your chance at staying consistent.
So raise your hand if you’re a pajama trainer…
And if you’re not, I’ll challenge you…
If you’re not training daily…
In your pajamas…
To hop on the pajama training bus.
And carve out 5 minutes each day to train your dog.
And let me know how it goes.
Oh, and one more thing.
(Because I’m here to make your life with your dog better and easier, I promise)
Overtraining our dogs is real (I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming post so stay tuned).
And it’s a serious problem (especially for those of you who compete in dog sports…you know who you are).
So give yourself and your dog a couple of days off each week.
Where you do NO training.
And instead, just be together.
Perhaps go for a hike, or curl up on the couch and watch a movie.
Because those little breaks will do wonders for keeping your dog motivated to train.