#AtoZ Challenge: L is for Laundry

#AtoZ Challenge: L is for Laundry

Laundry is one of those consistent chores that demands time.  Most times I let the laundry pile up for the week and spend hours cycling through each load, fluffing and folding. Sometimes I wash loads of laundry during the week so I don't have the huge weekend time suck.

However you prefer to manage your laundry, it's easy to integrate a little dog obedience training into your routine. I don't train during all stages of laundry every week, but I usually will train during at least one phase.

Prepping the laundry

I like knowing my bigger picture for laundry before I begin. I pre-treat, hand-wash, and sort my piles. While I'm in the laundry room figuring out how many loads of dirty clothes and towels I've got, I have one dog in there with me.

Generally, I prefer working with one dog at a time, so I do have the other dog on place in the living room. I give them a chew toy to keep them busy, so they know they're just hanging out.

When Lizzie was still a young puppy, I would use laundry time to practice her name with her. I'd keep a container of treats with me. As I sorted laundry, I would wait for her to play with a toy and once she was distracted I would call her name. When she snapped her head to look at me, she received her reward and the "Yes!" marker.

Even now that the pups are a bit older, I'll still practice an engagement session with them every once in a while while I'm sorting.

Switching loads of laundry

I use this time to put both dogs into sit-stays or down-stays

When I started this technique, I would leave Bernie in the living room in a stay, and walk away from him into the laundry room. Lizzie usually followed me, so I put her in a stay in the laundry room so she could still see me. 

Now that her stay is stronger, I'll put both of them into stays in the living room or a bedroom, walk away, switch loads of laundry, and then return to them and release them.

Sure, switching laundry only takes a minute or two, but it just about kills the pups that they're not allowed to follow me. I like practicing stay consistently while we're out and when we're at home because it's one of those safety cues that could make a difference in an emergency.

Folding laundry

As I'm folding, Bernie and Lizzie are both on place. I don't want them interfering with my piles, so place keeps them out of trouble. It only takes a few minutes for me to fold one load of laundry, so they're not on place for long, which has the benefit of keeping their perception of place positive.

During any given week, I try to vary up the duration for them being on place. We've worked up to 45 minutes and I think they could stay longer without any missteps off their cot or bed, but I like using laundry folding time to show them that sometimes place is just for a few minutes.

If I let several loads of clean laundry pile up for folding, I'll practice the Behavioral Down protocol with one dog. I'll find something to watch on TV, leash up the designated dog, step on the leash, and then fold away. If you're going to try folding laundry while also practicing the Behavioral Down, I would suggest that you make sure you have enough space around you for all of your piles. Once you start this protocol, you can't move positions.

#AtoZChallenge - L is for Laundry- Practical Dog Training Tips for Busy People on McSquare Doodles

Do you ever train your dog while you're doing laundry?
Please share your process in the comments.