This week we would like to talk about things that aren’t obvious about training.
Making goals for your dog is the first step.
Your goals depend on your dog and what you want to do with it. For us, our main goal for our dog is related to his reactive and aggressive behavior towards other dogs. We also have other goals set for him. We like when he uses his head, so we are constantly teaching him new things, playing new games, and looking for challenges.
These goals might not fit your dog, and that is perfectly OK. Everyone has different dogs and different lives. You need to make a list of what the big picture is, and more importantly how you are going to make it there? Your goals can be as simple as walking nicely on a lead, engaging more, not barking at the door, not peeing inside the house, or as complicated as being a sports champion.
To make goals you also need to be realistic. You have to work with what you have. For example, Tomy is a 43-Kilo Anatolian Shepherd. It would be unrealistic of me to train Tomy to be an agility competitor not only because he is big and a lot slower than any of the breeds that usually compete, but talking directly about Tomy, he gets very nervous when there are loud noises or big crowds. He would never get there no matter how much I work with him. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t use agility lessons or equipment just to boost his confidence and learn something new. Just not on a competitive level.
Once you have your goals clear, be sure to start small. Your dog is no different than you and if you don’t start from the beginning it will just be confused. Imagine someone asking you to resolve a calculus exam while you are just starting to comprehend multiplication, or asking a baby to run when he just started crawling.
Everything is a process and it’s no different from your dog. Your dog will get to the goal you set, just be sure to take baby steps and set up a schedule for your own clarity as well.
The process might not be perfect and that’s OK. If it’s not working, start again and make new goals and new schedules.