Observation Without Direction
Spending time with your dog is one thing. Watching for behaviors that can be incorporated into training is another. While free time is free for the dog, its work for the handler/trainer, requiring focus and attention to detail. Experienced trainers and competitors will notice things that novices wont, but even if a handler is not actively training a dog, or the dog is best described as a house pet, free time can be an effective tool for better understanding the dogs interests, temperament, and personality.