Can you believe another decade has come to an end? I can’t. Yet here it is. (P.S. This post was originally written at the beginning of 2020.)
Onwards. Upwards. Don’t get too tangled up in expectations but set yourself and your training sessions up for success. Here are a few points to ponder as we wish this decade goodbye! These tips apply to both dog training and horse training. Because you know how much I love both 😉
Tips for productive dog or horse training sessions
1. To make the very most of the decade to come spend time with your dog/ horse doing the things you both (all?) appreciate!
A nice walk, a good scratch, playing with toys, sharing a treat? You know what’s fun for you both and doing whatever it is will make you both enjoy time together more which results in better training and learning.
Remember that you’re a team and if one of you is unhappy, you’re not going to have a productive training session or ride.
2. Foundations and manners matter. So invest in them when you can. They’ll help you at home and at events like shows/competitions. Working on them consistently will make life, in general, more pleasant and easier too.
Can you think of one basic thing that you have been neglecting? (trimming Dora’s nails spring to my mind here!)
3. Figure out fitness – for you, and for your equine/canine partner.
Getting fit can be fun and it’s so very good for you both! If you are both fit enough for your goals – that’s super. Pat yourselves on the back. Around here the horses and I will both be working on it! The dogs are fitter – lucky critters!
Related: Is Your Dog Fit Enough For Agility?
4. Keep learning – who can help you add to your knowledge base? Work with someone new – read a book, attend a class, seminar or webinar with someone you haven’t had a chance to work with before.
How can you expand your learning opportunities this year? Auditing is a totally legitimate way to see if you want to do more with someone.
5. Develop your skills. Your posture, and handling, position matter.
How simple and clear can you make things for your dog or horse? Consider your rewards – timing and placement matter too so polish those skills while you are at it! Be as accountable to your animal partner as you expect them to be for you.
6. Watch the experts in your field and visualize yourself out there.
Study them, think about what you’ve seen, experiment with what you learn. Imagine being them … channel Hannah‘s timing, Denise‘s curiosity, Charlotte‘s quest for perfection, you get the drift I am sure…
7. Mindset matters. Are you positive and grateful for what you are learning, accomplishing and doing?
If it’s a rough day revisit your plan and make sure you are in the right place to work together. If it’s a no-good, really bad day do something fun or put work on hold for a little while.
If this is hard for you consider signing up for a daily email reminder I’ll send you … $20 gets you a year’s worth of emails that have been carefully crafted to help you remember how important mindset can be.
Actively working on keeping your mindset positive will impact your life in amazing ways.
8. Play with as many dogs and horses as you can. Different animals respond differently and you will learn from each one you get to work with.
If someone more experienced than you offers to ride your horse or train your dog with you watching, grab that opportunity. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn from observation!
9. Have goals and make plans for your team. Providing yourself with a purpose informs and moves training forwards. They can be complex and multilayered (to achieve a year-end recognition for example) or very simple … add duration to an already known behaviour.
Both are valid and either will you improve your training!
10. Take care of yourself. Take care of your canine and equine. Be kind to you both when something doesn’t go according to plan but have expectations to meet (they help with motivation).
Find a like-minded support group and help them as they help you. Enjoy this journey to betterment. It’s so very worth it!
P.S. You can join my Facebook group for dog and horse trainers HERE.
Whatever you do, remember that these sports we play, these critters we work with – it’s for fun, enrichment and pleasure. Set yourself up now to have a great year. No New Year’s resolutions needed.
Check out my page https://andreaharrison.ca/ to see all the ways I can help you achieve your goals – task cards, webinars and classes, private coaching, and so much more – this is the heart of what I specialize in. Helping you be the best partner to your animal possible!
Through a BIG picture look at what’s blocking you. Good luck with those goals!
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