So it is really important when undertaking any kind of training with your dog that we set achievable goals and targets. There is little point trying to achieve something that is unrealistic or quite unachievable without breaking down all elements needed to complete the task. Sometimes what is simple to us may not be simple to the dog in front of you which will lead in frustration, confusion and sometimes failure as we can be lead to believe “it is just too hard for him, he can’t do it” and we just give up and wrongly accept it is “just how he is”.
There is a saying that goes “nothing in life is simple” but it can be if only we break it down into managable chunks.
I like to use a system called SMART when goal setting.
SMART is all about breaking the goal down into little pieces and looking at all the elements needed to complete that goal. I have put a couple of useful links below all about SMART goal setting to give you a clear idea of what I mean.
I have talked a lot in previous blogs about distractions playing a part in any training, but alongside this we also need to consider if we are asking too much of our dogs too soon or too quickly.
For those who know me, know my dog Milo :
The above pictures have a story to tell, and believe me getting those wins was not a easy task for me or Milo! Let me explain ;
Milo is a dog who has always shown fantastic potential in agility training. He has taken to agility like a duck to water and the equipment he finds easy! For Milo it was other factors that were a issue, he had a scare at a show so we had a setback with his confidence in a show environment and when that was sorted we had a issue with the weaves – only in a a competition environment. We have also had to work on his arousal levels as the agility equipment was just too exciting for him! Then there was the issue of him being a scent hound who loves nothing more than following a rabbit scent and the fact the show rings aren’t netted!
To solve these issues I had to look at Milo as a whole and work out in small stages how to get the success I wanted.
We often get blinded by the end result and what we want that we can forget to break things down. Like driving a car, we all learnt that step by step – we didn’t get in on our 1st lesson and expect to drive like we have been driving years, we had to learn all the bits that then slotted together, indicators, wipers etc to make the final bit – driving!
A lot of my clients come to me with a specific training issue that they want to fix and we always break it down into little bits which enable the handler and owner to have lots of ‘easy wins’. It is so important not to rush things with dog training as it often means the dogs disengage or finish up displeased or disinterested. This will have a knock on effect for their confidence and their willingness to repeat the exercise.
When you look at what you want to achieve with your dog training, whether that be a certain element in dog sports, or a behaviour such a loose lead walking – break the task down into easy manageable bits then when the time is right, slot the bits together to make the finished product.
In our one to one training sessions we go through a 3 week training plan which is taylor made for your dog and has simple elements to get you to your end goal.
If you are struggling with something in your dog training now, ask yourself if your making it too hard for your dog? Does your dog really know what you are asking of them? Please contact us if you are struggling with your dogs behavior and we will help you turn those struggles into strengths! We run a number of informative workshops on lots of the common dog training struggles, check out the workshop section of our website. For more information on any of our classes, workshops, training or events just get in touch using the contact page.
Play….. Train….. Enjoy….. Succeed!