Remember to exercise your dog today. You decided yesterday what time you would bring your dog inside for an hour. And hopefully you set up the room and cut up the treats so you can be successful today. Before you bring him inside, give him a chance to do his business (use your cue words).
When you bring your dog inside, keep him on a leash and next to you. Have the treats you cut up near you too, but out of your dog’s reach. You don’t want him helping himself! You can go ahead and do what you would normally do for this hour, just keep your dog with you. You can sit and watch TV, work at the computer, wash the dishes, whatever needs to be done. If you need both of your hands free, you can sit on the handle of the leash to anchor it, or you can slip your belt through the leash handle to keep the dog with you.
Remember that you must be supervising your dog for this hour in order to prevent bad habits and to reward good habits. This is how he is going to learn. Your dog may pull on the leash. He may jump on you to try to get attention. He may lie down and chew on his bone. Whenever he does something that you like, say “yes” in an enthusiastic tone of voice and then drop a treat to the floor near him for him to eat. Then go back to what you were doing.
Be ready to “yes” and reward again when he does something that you like. The more you can reward behaviors that you like, the quicker he will learn how to behave in the house. If he does something that you don’t like, you can interrupt him and give him something else to do. If he is chewing something he shouldn’t, give him a bone or one of his toys instead. If he is trying to chase the cat, use the leash to move him away until he stops, then reward him for not trying to chase the cat.
This will seem like a lot of work at first. That’s why I’m only asking you to commit to an hour at first. If during that hour, you need to do something where you can’t have the dog right next to you, you can trade and have another family member take the dog for awhile, or you can put him in his crate for a moment or two. But the purpose of having him in the house with you for this hour is to have him with you, so don’t forget to take him back out of the crate when you’re finished.
If you get frustrated, take a short break and put your dog in his crate or bedtime area. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when you’re starting something new and your dog might feel overwhelmed too. Each day this will get easier and easier. Your dog will learn what behavior you expect and you will get better at rewarding him without needing to think too much about it.
Remember your dog’s chance to do his business before bringing him in for the night at bedtime. The bedtime routine should be getting a little bit smoother each night as your dog learns what to expect.