Easy Dog Training: 5 ways to incorporate training into your daily life

Dog training doesn’t have to take extra time out of your day. In fact, your puppy can learn the obedience basics of “sit, stay, come, leave it” right at home as part of your daily routine. It still is always good  to supplement basic dog training with additional time – we recommend at least 25 minutes of dedicated training per day. The routine on this post is not enough to fully train a dog so finding a professional dog trainer near your is still important. The ideas below are good for the extra busy days where there aren’t 25 minutes to spare. On those days, there are numerous ways you can make even simple dog training more complicated right at home.  Here are some ways to make basic commands even more challenging for your dog:

two cream retrievers wearing flower collars

golden retriever puppy wearing a flower collar

1. Train Your Dog to Wait Before Meals

Training your dog to wait before eating is one way to develop impulse control from the day you bring your puppy home. Training wait can be done at every meal so the “wait” command does not need to take any additional time from your busy day. Over time, teach your dog to wait longer before allowing them start eating.


  • Before your dog starts eating their meal, tell them to “wait.” Do not let them start their meal until you say “ok.” If your dog immediately tries to eat from the bowl, cover it with your hands. Wait a few seconds, then uncover the bowl and say “ok”
  • Have your dog “wait” before taking a treat so they do not grab the treat from your hand

Make It More Challenging:

  • Have your dog “wait” for 30 seconds before eating
  • Have your dog “wait” for 2 minutes before eating
  • Call your dog to come to you, requiring them to walk past their bowl and not eat their food yet.
  • Instead of saying “ok” as the first word, trick your dog by saying words such as “cat,” “dog,” “anything” to make sure that your dog knows that they can only eat when they hear “OK” not when they hear other words.  You cant your dog to be able to verbally discriminate the word “ok” from the other words so that they don’t begin eating as soon as they hear a human voice.

golden retriever puppy wearing a dr seuss bandana

retriever dogs wearing matching bandanas

2. Train Your Dog to Wait at Doorways, Gates, and Entryways

Teaching your dog to wait at doorways, gates, entryways, ect can start at home and then be applied to many situations. This is an important skill to learn for impulse control but also for safety.  If your dog waits at doors, it won’t bolt outside (and potentially into the street).  The same applies for having your dog wait before jumping out of the car.


  • Start at a closed door. Open the door, but make sure your dog doesn’t walk through (you may have to use your leg to keep him back). Once you step through ahead of your dog, turn around and release him with “ok.”
  • Always use a release word for your dog such as “ok,” “free,” or “release”

Make It More Challenging:

  • Tell your dog to wait and walk through an entry way (no door).
  • Tell your dog to wait before jumping out of the car
  • Add distance by walking further away before turning around and releasing your dog
  • Tell your dog to wait and walk through the doorway with your back to the dog instead of keeping your eyes on him the entire time

3. Train Your Dog to Leave Things Around the House

Teaching your dog to “leave it” is another potentially life saving skill that you can teach right at home. It is still imperative that you train “leave it” in different contexts outside but indoors is a good start.  There are plenty of ways to make “leave it” challenging indoors.


  • If your dog is new to the “leave it” command you can hold him on a leash to make sure that your dog doesn’t get to the item you are teaching “leave it” with.
  • Start with a low value item like a boring toy or kibble.  Drop the item next to your dog and say “leave it.” Do NOT let your dog get the item even after they have successfully left it.  Your dog has to learn that “leave it” means they don’t ever get the item. See here for the difference between “wait” and “leave it.”
  • Your dog will likely spend time looking at the item even after you say “leave it.” As soon as your dog looks back towards you, reward them with a treat and praise. Repeat the process and treat your dog each time they look back to you after the “leave it” command.

Make It More Challenging:

  • Train your dog to “leave it” without a leash attached
  • Train your dog to “leave it” with high value food thrown towards them
  • Add distance by telling your dog to leave it while they are stranding further away from you
  • Spread treats out around your floor. Recall your dog from across the room but have them “leave it” by avoiding the treats.  Do not let your dog get the treats after they get to you (pick them up and use them later)
  • Tell your dog to “leave it” with a plate of human food on the floor
  • Walk around the room with your dog while walking by treats on the floor. Do not let your dog get the treats
  • Throw around your dog’s favorite toy and tell them to “leave it.” Do not play with it after they leave it (put it away for later)

labrador retriever wearing a pink gingham bandana

puppy wearing a pink bowtie

4. Train Your Dog to Hold Longer Stays While You Eat Dinner or Watch TV


  • Command your dog to “stay” on a mat or towel about 5 feet from where you are eating. Tether them to a leash if they can’t hold their stay for an entire meal
  • Always use a release word for your dog such as “ok,” “free,” or “release”

Make It More Challenging:

  • Train your dog to stay on their bed for the entirety of your human meal including cleanup and washing dishes
  • Train your dog to stay during a meal without a bed or mat
  • Train your dog to stay on their bed while you brush your teeth
  • Train your dog to stay on their bed while you cook dinner
  • Train your dog to stay and then walk out of the room for a few minutes

5. Practice Calling Your Dog From Other Rooms

Recalling your dog is always more difficult outdoors with distractions so recall while at home is not enough to develop good recall in your dog. However, mastering recall at home is a good start. Recalling your dog while at home and then rewarding him with lots of treats and attention is also a great way to strengthen your bond. See the “how to teach your dog to come when called” post for more information on recall training.


  • Recall your dog with “come and make sure to reward with lots of treats and love when it gets to you

Make It More Challenging:

  • Call your dog from another room or another part of your home. Give them a lot of attention and treats when your dog comes to you
  • Call your dog over while they are busy chewing on a delicious chew or bone

Keep on Training,
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