Being that it's the new year everyone has wiped the slate clean. Most have begun 2018 with a refreshed sense of ferocity and determination. Naturally, I suppose, since it's easy to attack our goals when we feel motivated to do so. The problem is that motivation can be highly inconsistent. It tapers as we grow tired, or busy, or bored of doing the monotonous tasks required to achieve a certain result. A few examples being owners feeling like they don't have the time to train their dogs. Many start the training process but stop if it becomes too tedious for them. Many fail to understand how seemingly minor or benign things matter and how they relate to other, deeper issues (won't wait for food, bolts from the crate, etc.).
The solution to said problem, then, comes in the form of finding ways to stay dedicated to the completion of these tasks when motivation is lacking. This is done through the creation and continued cultivation of healthy habits. Think the whole, "1 day off=1 off day" cliché. Feeling up to working with your dog early Friday morning feels easier when you've been doing it every morning since last Monday. This is because it becomes less of an infringement on your normal schedule, and more a part of it. If we're honest with ourselves then most of us will admit that we really do have the time each day to work with our dogs. Afterall, it doesn't take but 30-90 minutes each day with much of that being long-duration place commands or down-stays which leave you free to do other things. Saying that we don't train the dog for fear of doing something wrong is another that doesn't quite measure up to reality. After all, I think that for someone who seriously had the desire to work their dogs and was committed to learning to do so, there is an ocean of information out there for us. The person who truly is devoted and willing to look into what works best and why would have a harder time messing things up than they may think.
This is not meant as an attack on anyone who is currently struggling with their dogs. Simply an affirmation that you are not the only ones, but changing this will require consistent action. The willingness to invest into finding the right trainer, trusting in their teachings and advice, devoting the time and energy into working with your dog, and learning to put yourself in a position to succeed by taking the time to perform the proactive habits that may feel monotonous and unpleasant in that moment but will ultimately lead you where you want to go. Tiny habits compound into life decisions and the rewards or consequences that may lie therein. So if you're reading this then I hope you have a Happy New Year! More importantly, though, I hope you can work on developing the habits and skills necessary to have a very productive, inspiring, and goal-achieving year.