Right here, right now

Right here, right now

I tend to label my dog, even if I try not to. My dog is “fast”, she is “fun” she “can’t be still”, she “follows well”. 

What’s the problem with that? Well…these are not things she IS, but things she DOES. Run fast and move fast. Does fun things (she has humor…). Moves when I ask her to stay. Follows my side when I walk. Behaviors. Withheld by reinforcement. And that means that they are always changing!

She may be “fast” today, but that’s no guarantee she will always run fast when I call. Today she has problems with standing still, but if I keep training well, she will (eventually) understand what gives the treat. And here comes the interesting part: if I ONLY train “be still” because I know that “she is fast”, there is a risk she won’t be very fast anymore! If she gets loads of reinforcement for being still and none for moving fast – why should she move?

As I know this about myself, and I now that my training needs to change as she alters her behavior, I do status analysis now and then. To make sure that I train my dog as she is today, not as she was last year.

I use two tools: SWOT analysis and Level ten dog training.

They help me think about both “the big picture” and the details. This is a level ten based on the exercises in obedience class 1 as we compete in a few weeks, but I can put anything there.

From the results, I make a priority list. What do we need to train right now, what is “if we have extra time” and what can wait? That list changes! Because my dog changes šŸ™‚

I do this status analysis as often as I need to. When we start something new, or when I feel like we’re not getting anywhere. It’s a really good way to see progress over time!

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