Boost your dog's happiness in just five minutes with this simple tip from an expert trainer

Woman sat on couch laughing as dog licks her face
(Image credit: Getty Images)

As much as we’d love to spend as much time as possible with our pups, sometimes it just isn’t possible. But, then, at the same time, it’s easy to get lost in social media or channel-hopping on TV when we do have some spare time.

When you have a free five minutes, why not spend the time doing something enriching with your dog instead? Often, we might assume there’s nothing you can really achieve in five minutes, but that’s truly not the case. If you’ve got one of the best dog toys to hand, or a few tasty treats, you can have some great fun or even a mini training session with your furry friend! 

Award-winning trainer Lisa Burton of Listen Dog Training has shared plenty of examples of things to try in five minutes in a recent Instagram post, so let’s dive in...

There are plenty of opportunities for training in just five minutes. You could get some practice in of cues your pup is already familiar with, or even choose a new one to start training with. You could do something fun, like teach your pup to catch treats from above, or work on ‘middle’ or ‘heel’. 

You might decide to provide some mental stimulation and enrichment. “Prepare an enrichment feeder, treat dispenser toy, or Kong,” suggests Burton. Or, “fill cardboard tubes, boxes, and safe packaging with kibble for your dog to tear and shred.” Another thing dogs often enjoy is unwrapping a tea towel to uncover treats or kibble – and you might also like to check out these ten great brain games for dogs for more inspiration. 

Or maybe you’d rather simply play! You might decide to go for a classic like tug or fetch, a mini chase game complete with a reward or treat, or even go for a game that’s tailored to their breed. For example, says Burton, “Hide your terrier’s toys under towels for them to dig at.”

If your dog is feeling relaxed, or you’d like to encourage them to be calm, you could help them settle down – there’s a lot you can do in five minutes. Give your pup a massage, or take them on a short, slow walk on which they can sniff to their heart’s content. Prepare them a licky mat or a long-lasting chew, or simply relax together. If you’re just having a quick break to catch up on your favorite show, for example, you could curl up on the sofa together! 

No matter what you decide, however, there’s plenty you can do in five minutes. So, the next time you’ve got a break, why not spend a little extra quality time with your pup?

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.