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If you found a magic lamp, what would you wish for? Wealth? Love? A well-behaved dog?
As the old saying goes, if I had a nickel for every time I heard, "I wish my dog would listen like yours,"
I'd be on a beach somewhere, retired. There are 100's of ways to train a dog. Methods that are very powerful, quick and fun and yield great results in a hurry and other methods that take time and patience to help the dog understand. Ask any dog trainer - the only thing 2 dog trainers will agree on is what a third dog trainer is doing wrong! Methods span all ideologies and most have an iota of capabilities, but one thing is for certain - wishing it to be so is NOT a method that will EVER grant you success.
Think about the things that you do well with and the processes that granted you success. How about the accomplishments you have that hold most dear - that you are most proud of. Did you earn a University degree? Did you raise a couple of great kids who grew into fine adults? Did you survive the inevitable bumps in the road and triumph over them? What about that promotion at work? Did any of these wonderful accomplishments come from wishes? I think I may have made my point.
Wishing WON'T make it so - ever! So, stop wishing. Fantasize all you want about the end product that you're hoping for. The dog who comes beautifully on the first command. The dog who stares adoringly at you in the face of distraction. The dog who walks politely by another dog, wild or under control. Yes, fantasy is a wonderful thing. Fantasize as much as you can! It will help you to cement your goals and keep them pushing you towards success, but drop the wishes. It's not wishes, but work that will make your fantasies reality.
The 4 P's for Success in Dog Training are:
This is important and often skipped. A little planning goes a long way when training. Attending classes at least once a week will help greatly with planning. Another key ingredient here is journaling. Make sure you note your progress after every training session. Quick notes about where, when and how your dog did will help you plan your next session and maximize results.
Dog training is extremely fluid. On any given day, you may be thrilled that things are going so well or you may be disappointed, wondering why, "he did it yesterday" or "he does it at home". A different day may mean a different battle. Don't let it get you down. Smile and move forward. It will all come together if you persevere.
There's nothing else in the world that is more important. If you don't put in the time, you'll never get the dog you want. Imagine where we'd be if we didn't practise the things we were good at? Few people in the world could sit down at a piano and play beautifully without practise. The same is true of dog training. If you want a dog who walks nicely, you have to practise the skill. If you want a dog who comes when called, it'll be time well spent to practise teaching them how. Practise is truly key.
Both you and your dog will tire quickly if it's all about work. The best thing you can do for both yourself and your 4-legger is make work like play. That means having fun while you teach them the skills you want. A great training session is a little bit of work and a whole lot of play! Make it fun and your dog will love learning.
If we lived the Disney model of life, a wish would become reality with the flick of a magic wand, but in real life, it's rare that wishes get us anywhere near our dreams. Spend some time working towards your goals and they will become a reality.
As always, Happy Training!
Hi! I'm Shannon and I joined the McCann team in 1999 while training Quincey, my wonderful and spirited Rottweiler, to have good listening skills. I'm the Director of Online Training and Content for McCann Professional Dog Trainers and I enjoy writing about dogs and dog training for the McCann blog. I currently share my life with 2 Tollers (Reggie & Ned) and I love helping people develop the best possible relationship with their 4-legged family members.