In How to Build Health Habits by Tara Parker-Pope in the special edition of the New York Times Magazine, title Self Care: https://www.magazine.store/the-new-york-times-self-care/ habits are not about willpower.
“Good habits happen when we set ourselves up for success.”
While this article speaks to the reader about creating health habits, as a dog trainer, I see creating habits in concert with our dogs.
Adding or changing habits require deliberate practice and consistency.
When clients call for help with their dog’s behavioral issues, I share with them about all the pieces needed to accomplish their behavior change goal.
The thing that often stops clients in their tracks is creating a routine with consistent and frequent practice.
Change doesn’t have to be a challenge!
I often share, practice can easily fit into your already established routine. According to this article, habits is best accomplished by building them into an already established routine.
Your dogs need you to help them.
Here are some quick and simple activities you can build into your routine which doesn’t require huge commitments, but does need your interest and participation for it to work!
1. Add some training and enrichment into meal times. Get rid of the food bowl and you become the meal dispenser!
Make a burrito towel. As for a sit/wait (builds your dog’s concentration) and fold a towel lengthwise once. Roll one side once. Sprinkle some food where the roll meets the flat part of the towel. Roll again. Repeat!
Say the release word (Ok for example) and watch your dog unravel the towel (enrichment).
2. When taking your dog outside in your yard for a pee break, take high value rewards with you. Praise and reward when your dog eliminates. Also, say your dog’s name and when your dog turns his head to look at you, praise and reward. Now you’re working on strengthening name recognition. Also, when your dog starts trotting over to you, now you’re working on recall.
This also helps your dog stay connected with you instead of being hugely distracted by all the goings on outside of that fence 😉.
3. Help your dog love when you leave. Or, maintain this love with regular practice. This is when you know your dog made it a habit!
Practice playing Find It. Once your dog understands the cue then when you’re leaving ask your dog for sit/wait. Go and sprinkle some rewards around your home. Come back to your dog and release your dog with the Find It cue. Then you can head out the door when your dog goes on a search!
Your dog will be rewarded every time he finds a little piece of goodness.
Wanting to find out more?
Schedule a free Discovery Call with me!