Friday, February 17, 2017

Training Epiphany

Confession time: I'm an All or Nothing kind of girl. If I can't do something perfectly or all at once then I often just don't do it. Because of this, I've ditched countless diets and exercise programs after a bad cheat day or a few missed workouts. In school I got As or Fs, never Cs. I refuse to play Pokémon because "You gotta catch 'em all" -- and that's too much pressure.

Yeah, it's stupid when you say it aloud, but the struggle is real. This unreasonable perfectionism affects my dog training as well. I continually put off training because I don't have a solid block of time or something else isn't perfect. Yes, stupid. (Did I mention the negative self talk that goes along with this? Seriously, I've got issues!)

When I saw this article from Victoria Stillwell a couple things she said hit me hard. For example #6 says "Train little and often." And then there's #9 that says to "Quit while you’re ahead and the dog wants more." What?! I was so surprised by the article that I shared it with my Tuesday Training Crew. Then my trainer shared her Rule of Five:
Training sessions are no more than five minutes or five repetitions long, a maximum of five times a day.
So, I've stashed bags of training treats all over the house. When I think of it, I'll grab a small handful of treats and ask Jedi to do something sit in heel position, come to front position, puppy push-ups, whatever. When I run out of treats . . . I stop. Seriously. Just. Like. That. In a happy voice I tell Jedi "All done" give him some love and move on with my day.

Here's the kicker: I've been doing this for few weeks and Jedi is doing great. His fronts are close; his sits in heel position are straight. He's enthusiastic. I love it. His progress encourages me to train more, which improves progress. It's a win/win for everybody. Even Hubby, who has seen so many of my unfinished projects over the past 30 years -- is shocked by our progress.

I need to cut this short and head to Petsmart. We're running low on treats. The only negative aspect of our training epiphany is that we go through a lot of treats. BTW, Jedi's not complaining! Later, --K