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.”

Sound familiar?

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.

Makes sense!

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.

Easy peasy!

Wanting to find out more?

Schedule a free Discovery Call with me!



Published by houndbiz

Katherine Porter is a force free, reward based dog behavior advisor and consultant serving clients and their companion dogs worldwide. Her calm and gentle approach in coaching clients in effectively communicating what they want to their dog blends her MSW background into her dog training and behavior practice. Katherine was a behavior consultant for Heeling Hounds after graduation. She opened Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC when the military relocated her family to Fort Sill, OK in 2015. During this time, she volunteered with Rainbow Bridge Can Wait where she provided post adoption consultations to new pet parents. She also developed and implemented tailored behavior modification plans for highly reactive dogs residing at the shelter. She also provided educational programs to military children through interactive workshops at the Fort Sill School Age Center. In 2017, Katherine relocated Four Paws and You Dog Training LLC to Germany. She served the Armed Forces communities in Bavaria. She continued coaching and advising her clients in addressing their companion dog’s fearful and reactive behavioral issues. Katherine takes a Do No Harm approach first and foremost in providing behavioral plans. She is committed in serving clients with gentle and modern science approaches in modifying behavioral concerns such as reactivity, aggression, separation anxiety and fear based responses. Katherine is a member of the Pet Professional Guild. She is focused on integrating a holistic and modern approach in addressing her client’s pet companion reactive behavior issues.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: