NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS - How to succeed with your year’s goals
It’s January, and this can only mean one thing! Time to run a marathon by March! Time to become champion salsa dancer of South America! Time to learn 7 languages by the time Auld Lang Syne has finished AND have told everyone in the room about how you lived in Paris for 4 months and just canNOT stomach patisserie from anywhere else!
We love the enthusiasm, we do, and at K9 Anytime we certainly love to dream big. But have you ever got so lost in and fixated on an end goal that it only ever remains a distant wish, something that you’d love to get to, but it’s probably too much. You’d never be able to really do it. It’s just something nice to imagine.
Sometimes we sabotage our goals by being unrealistic with our expectations and time frames. We want to go from pulling full force on the lead with no engagement to a Crufts show ring trot in a day. This needs to be broken down into stages, and worked on each time you head out together, building up duration, tackling distractions and applying the new skill across a range of environments. Once you master it at home, this does not mean you have mastered it out and about where the world is there to distract and tempt. Heel work boils down to walking nicely at your side, but is actually made up of eye contact, impulse control, auto engagement, distraction resistance, environmental reward, and luring. These smaller exercises need to be worked on individually to culminate in the perfect heel work. Going out and working on “HEEL” is a mammoth task. Going out and working on each chapter of Heelwork at a time, marrying each new skill together with the last as you progress will help you to reach your goal more successfully, more reliably and more quickly than trying to reach the top of the mountain with just one step.
As with anything we set out to achieve, consistency is the real key to success. Working on the elements of your heelwork one day, and letting them pull you about the park the next is entirely counterproductive. If you want your dog to stop pulling on the lead, then you have to stop letting pulling on the lead working for your dog, ie. When they pull, they don’t get to where they want to go, they don’t get to greet who they want to greet or sniff what they want to sniff. If the rules appear differently to them every time, your dog will not understand what’s being asked of them, and will display similarly inconsistent results in their behaviour.
Ask for Help
We’re better together, and sometimes a helping hand, an outside perspective or, most importantly, expert advice is exactly what’s needed to get to where we need to be. Head Trainer at K9 Anytime Claire Corley offers a wide variety of options to help your dog meet their goals whatever their circumstance (& even during a pandemic…!) From group classes, private tuition during daycare filmed on HeadCam for you to watch at home for You need to be equipped with the right tools, foundations and knowledge in order to progress, and if you haven’t been seeing the results you were hoping for, it is very often down to the parents’ mistakes, not the dog’s. Speak to Claire here today!
It’s never Too Late
Just because your dog doesn’t do something you’d like them to now, doesn’t mean they never will. If your dog has been a lead puller all their life, it doesn’t mean they are stuck that way and will never change. Granted, ingrained habits are trickier to undo than a fresh behaviour is to learn (it takes numerous repetitions to begin to reset the neural pathways to a new habit). But retrainable they absolutely are. Again, this boils down to human, not dog! It is your work, your patience, consistency and dedication which will set your dog up for success in whatever they undertake. Too often we focus on "dog" training, but really it's all on us.
So go forth! Do your stretches, buy those salsa shoes and a dictionary while you’re at it, and conquer the world! Anything is possible, and every masterpiece starts with just one stroke.