Learning something new is never a straight line progression. Let’s repeat together: Learning something new is never a straight line progression. There are dips that come from lack of understanding, lack of time spent & lack of motivation.
We all want the end result of a perfect beach body but are we willing to do what we have to get it? If the motivation is there to do the work, it will come. Maybe you will fall off the wagon a few (or many) times…have lulls in your motivation of exercising, enjoy the taste of pizza a little too much (guilty) but if you work at it, the benefits of a healthier lifestyle will emerge. Maybe not in the form of a rail thin model, but feeling better & having more energy is its own reward.
It took me at least 10 attempts to quit smoking until I actually stopped for good. The habit was 15 years hard and…I enjoyed it. But for my own health, I needed to stop. I have been 18 years smoke-free. I don’t even think about smoking anymore…the idea of it is so foreign and gross. The idea of staying off social media, however, gives me a slight panic attack. ‘Fear of missing out’ wastes so much time, but that knowledge won’t stop me from picking up my phone & checking the newsfeed. It’s like quitting smoking all over again and I am not alone.
Dog training fails because it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Teaching complex behaviors or modifying behavior takes time, skill building & the patience to work through all the dips and valleys. Dog training (like all learning) is NEVER a straight line progression.
Visualize the picture of behavior you want, evaluate the environment & your teaching skills. Learn how you can set the best stage for success. If you are struggling, then call a pro to help you. If you are committing to a training class or program, then commit to the homework and lifestyle change that goes with it. If you want to teach your dog to come when called, but you are letting him off the leash 50% of the time and your dog finds the air, trees and other dogs are more interesting than you, then you are setting the dog up to fail. Dogs are pretty darn good at being the honest, wild creatures they are born to be and won't self loath after rolling in poop or chasing a squirrel.
Our job is training dogs and teaching people. Which you think is harder? We love what we do; being educators and advocates for the animals we chose to spend our life with. We continue to learn all the time, and no, we aren’t perfect. No dog trainer is perfect. The flawed human side is always there. And dogs love us despite it.