How to do Hard Things

It's the end of June, which means we are now exactly halfway through the year. Do you remember, way back in January, when you set your goals and plans for 2020? Do you even recall what you intended to accomplish? It feels like 100 years ago, doesn't it?

So, how are those goals working out for you? All met? Knocked out of the park? Or have they been thrown under the bus?

If your hopes and dreams for the year have tire treads through them, you're in good company. For the past weeks and months, many of us have had to put some or even all of our plans on ice and just focus on staying safe, staying calm, and staying healthy.

As a result, it's tempting to just write off the year and hope that 2021 will be better. But we still have a solid six months to turn things around and accomplish things we'll be proud of.

Pause for a moment and pay attention to what your brain just whispered into your ear when you read that last sentence. Did it say "Hell yes! Let's do it!" Or did it toss out something like "What's the point?" or "It's too late now!"?

Take note of how you feel when you look forward to the rest of this year. If you feel tired, heavy, sad, or scared, it's going to be hard to find the motivation to do the work it takes to train your dog and achieve your goals.

Here's why: Your thoughts create your feelings, these feelings fuel your actions, and your actions produce your results. If you aren't achieving the results you seek, work your way back up the chain to figure out the weak link.

(Spoiler alert: It's always your thoughts.)

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The Strategy for Building a Training Plan You'll ACTUALLY Stick To

(Caveat: If you're reading this post after the COVID-19 storm has passed and the world has gone back to normal, or a new normal, everything I have to say below is still relevant and useful to making your training plans a reality! So, read on…)

The COVID-19 pandemic has launched the world into crisis, leaving us all in uncharted waters. We don't know how things will unfold, or what's going to come next. And that's pretty scary.

The upside of this time of Social Distancing and self-quarantine is that many of us suddenly have time for doing things we have been meaning to get to for ages… like training our dogs! So, naturally that's what you've been doing since being stuck at home. Right?

No? Me neither. 

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The Number One Reason Teaching Duration Behaviors is Hard (And A Simple Trick to Make it Easy)

Are you one of the lucky few who find duration easy to train? Or are you like the majority of us, and struggle with getting duration on behaviours?

Because it's an abstract concept, duration can be quite a challenge to teach. Often we can get it for certain behaviours, but not others. And we have no idea why!

We end up with a dog who barks, fusses, repeats the behaviour, offers new behaviours, or just gives up and quits.

If this is you, help is here. I'm going to explain why the most common way to teach duration so often backfires, and then share the method I use that makes teaching duration a snap.

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Q&A with Helene Lawler: Beyond the Click with R+ 2.0

​For today's post we posed a few questions on the concept of R+ 2.0 to FDSA Instructor Helene Lawler. Below are our questions, along with her response! 

During your time as a trainer, how has positive training evolved?

I brought home my first puppy just shy of 30 years ago. I remember calling around for trainers and being told to wait until the puppy was six months old, or even older. Finally I found someone who said something that made sense to me: "Your puppy is 9 weeks old? You've already missed two critical weeks of training. Get over here right now!"

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