New Years - long term

Lets not worry about New Years resolutions. Instead, between now and New Years, write a note to yourself about your dog. Where are your biggest struggles, in obedience and behavior? What was a recent success-new trick or time of calm when you were expecting chaos? You can only train the dog you have in front of you, but that doesn't mean you can't work for long term change. It was now two years ago when I picked up Rex. I'm his third home, and he had some good obedience, great genetics, but plenty of issues to work though! It took us almost this entire two years to have him feel comfortable training by shaping. In shaping, I'm mostly waiting for Rex to figure out what to do, then marking and rewarding when he's correct. Rex wanted much more guidance though. Getting anxious, he'd bring me a toy, trying his best to do the right thing! Now the tricks he's learned recently have given him so much more confidence in every facet of his life. While roll over wasn't an option last year, it's now one of his favorite tricks that puts him in an instant good mood.  It wasn't an issue of just training a simple trick, it was a more complex emotionally charged issue that took improvement all around.

I never would have noticed how remarkable this transformation was if I didn't have video and stories written of our previous training struggles. Progress can be at a glacial pace sometimes, with back slides and plateaus. So, take five minutes, and make a note of where you are right now. It's the best way to see your efforts pay off years away. It's as simple as sending yourself an email, jotting it in a day planner, or making a facebook post on your wall you can go find again later.