Happy New Year, Friends! I’m so glad that we now get to put 2020 behind us and hopefully move onto a much better year. With the start of any new year, some, if not most of us, are looking at starting some new habits. I’m hoping that you want to establish or improve your dog training habit since you’re reading this.
Regardless of where you are in the process, I want to share some examples from my life that I think may be useful for you and your dog.
When you are starting any habit, the very first part of that is the cue.
The cue is the thing that is going to tell your brain that it’s time to take action. If the cue to take action is hidden, then it’s tough for your brain to want to take action. Yes, you can override this with motivation but don’t count on that to be there all the time.
So what can you do?
Well, my advice is to make it really obvious to yourself that you should train. And how do you go about doing that?
Well, your dog training equipment is a great way to remind you to train with your dog. At least for me, I put my equipment along the path in my home that I’m most likely going to travel.
I like to leave equipment on top of my dog’s crate or a hook heading out the door. However you choose to do it, make it really obvious to yourself.
Making your dog training call to you in a way that gets you excited. It is yet another way for it to get better. Let me explain how this works using an example from my life. I love to drink coffee in the morning. It’s gratifying for me. I also know that I need to train with Gabby. So on certain mornings, I will follow my training session with Gabby with the cup of coffee that I love so much.
You see, when you place a new habit directly in front of one that you already love to do, the energy that comes from that will help you enjoy your dog training even more.
Dog training can be hard. Not every dog is easy to train, and sometimes they have an issue that is really challenging and frustrating to deal with. I’m sure you’ll agree that if something is too difficult to do, then once your motivation is gone, it’s doubtful that you will keep doing that difficult task. Dog training is no exception.
So what can you do about this?
Well, for God’s sake, don’t make it too difficult for yourself. And how exactly does that work?
Well, I believe that you can do almost anything for two minutes. That’s right. Two minutes of dog training might be where you need to start. You might be saying that it’s such a small amount of time and doubtful to make any meaningful change. Well, if you only do it once, then yeah, it won’t make that big of a difference.
But if you did it 3 times a day for the next 14 days, you might find yourself starting to make some headway. Then if you do those two minutes of training and then give yourself your favorite cup of coffee, I’m sure that you’re going to get better at it.
It could be really easy to turn your dog training into a chore. If you do this, then sadly, you’re going to be doomed to failure. I really don’t want that for you or your dog.
Each tip that I’ve shared is an important part of the process of forming a personal daily dog training habit, but without the step that I’m going to share next, it’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to succeed.
So what is this crucial step?
Immediately at the end of your training session with your dog, you’re going to have to reward yourself with your dog. If that means snuggling with them, do that! If that means letting them lick your face, do that. If that means just talking to them in a silly voice, do that. Whatever it might be, do it. Who cares what anyone else thinks.
By doing this, you make your training sessions with your dog something more than just that.
You make them into an awesome bonding experience; that is the reason that I think we can call our dogs “Man’s best friends.”