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3 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Training

Today, I want to share with you three simple strategies that can optimize your approach to training. Look, I know we're all wishing for a magic wand to create more truly is our most finite resource. While I don't quite have that figured out (yet...), I do have three strategies to help you make the most of your training. By thinking like a scientist, acting like a monk, and planning like a winner, you'll be able to optimize what little time you do have carved out for dog training.

1. Think Like a Scientist

When it comes to dog training, thinking like a scientist means adopting a curious and analytical mindset. Just as scientists conduct experiments, gather data, and draw conclusions, you should approach training with the same mindset.

a) Observe and Analyze: Pay close attention to your dog's behavior, body language, and responses to training sessions. Take notes and identify patterns to understand what works and what doesn't work for your dog. Variables such as time of day, location, environment and the reinforcers used are aspects that will influence our dog's success.

b) Set Hypotheses: Formulate hypotheses about what techniques, rewards, cues, or set-ups might work best for your dog. In simple terms, we call this "having a plan". Don't show up to your training sessions without one! It's simply the biggest waste of your time and you're less likely to get anything meaningful done. I personally like to write my plan down, here's a FREE template to get you started.

c) Test and Adjust: Implement these variables into your training sessions and observe the results! Be open to adjusting your training plan based on your dog's responses. Remember, every dog is unique, so your training plan might not look like anyone else's.

d) Record Progress: Keep a training journal to track your dog's progress. Document successes, setbacks, and any adjustments made. This will help you refine your training plan over time.

2. Act Like a Monk:

To act like a monk in dog training means cultivating patience, consistency, and mindfulness. Monks dedicate themselves to a disciplined and focused lifestyle, and you can apply these principles to your training sessions:

a) Patience: Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a well-trained dog. Embrace the journey and understand that training takes time. Avoid rushing or becoming frustrated; instead, celebrate small victories and maintain a calm mindset.

b) Consistency: Dogs thrive on routine and clear expectations. Establish consistent structure and communication to create consistency. This helps your dog learn faster! One day we'll dive into the world of Canine Cognition and explore how our dogs learn, but that's a blog for another day.

c) Mindfulness: Be present and fully engaged during training sessions. Dogs are incredibly perceptive and can sense when you're distracted or disinterested. Or worse, having a $%&* day. My dogs are super sensitive to my mood and emotions so after 20+ years of doing stupid things like training my dog after I had a bad day at work, I've finally learned to chalk it up to a dog walk day and move on.

If you know me, you know I don't exactly have a monk-like mindset in the base case. This takes work and I personally know how frustrating it can be to juggle it all, feel behind in my training and not see as much progress as I hoped I would. To keep my sanity, I've been using a protocol called Non-Sleep Deep Rest. Basically, non-meditation for those of us in a hurry! You can check out my favorite 10min protocol and feel more calm, grounded and focused after just one session.

3. Plan Like a Winner:

Planning like a winner involves setting clear goals, creating a roadmap, and staying motivated throughout the training process.

a) Define Goals: Determine what specific behaviors or skills you want your dog to learn. Break down these goals into smaller, achievable milestones. This clarity will guide your training sessions and keep you on track.

b) Create a Training Plan: Develop a training plan that outlines the steps and resources required to achieve your goals. Here's a FREE training plan template to get you started.

c) Stay Motivated: Dog training can be challenging, but maintaining motivation is crucial. Showing up to do the training takes motivation and as we know, this ebbs and flows in many aspects of our lives. Aim for progress over perfection, set weekly training goals, and celebrate what you've accomplished. If you really want to get nerdy and embrace the power of habits to cultivate motivation, I highly recommend reading "Atomic Habits" by James Clear. I LOVE this book and have personally implemented many strategies that have helped my own motivation.

By thinking like a scientist, acting like a monk, and planning like a winner, you'll transform your dog training approach into an effective process. Embrace curiosity, patience, consistency, and goal-oriented planning to unlock your dog's potential.

Life is better when you bring your dog! Reach out to us if you need support making that happen, we've got you!

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