One of my New Year’s goals is to train the dogs more than I did last year. So far I’m on track and making progress. Last April I decided to write my training notes on index cards. Now I’ve progressed to notebook paper which holds not only training notes but training books to read, equipment to build, goals for the next day, etc. At the end of the month I can see if I’m progressing on each exercise. For instance, I decided in early January that month would cover Novice and Open exercises. Next month I’ll work on Novice and Utility exercises. When I finish training each day I update my notes, read a proofing book, watch videos if possible, and do some problem solving while sipping my cold coffee.
This is a clipping from an article in Front and Finish, www.frontandfinish.com, that I have kept for years. It is so true. My obedience teacher doesn’t have a magic wand to wave over my dog. It’s ultimately up to me to do the work, analyze what is working or not working for each of my dogs, ask questions in class and do the legwork and mental work that successful dog training requires. That brings up two secrets that are never given at seminars or classes. You need to give your dog ENERGY and TIME. There’s just no getting around it that the more you give to your dog the more you will get back. Train more, learn more, read more and take classes, if possible, from successful handlers. It goes without saying that success in dog training does not happen overnight though. Have patience. I have to remind myself that even highly successful dog trainers have bad days. The ones who succeed don’t give up. They problem solve, watch their dogs, question their peers and keep on training.