Monthly Review: February 2021

The very thought of writing a monthly review held me accountable during the entire month of January.

What Went Well?

Training Max

In my last review, I mentioned that the retrieving wasn’t great. So the entire month of February I focussed on teaching Max to bring the item back to the hand. Max can now bring any non-reinforcing object to my hand.

Training Laika

I originally planned to desensitise Laika to the sound of crackers and bus honks. But I deviated from the plan and focussed on improving Laika’s tugging and retrieval.


Laika, begin an independent dog, sees little to no value in me me when I don’t have food rewards. I want to build value for engaging with me.

Also, Laika whines when she finds puppies in sight during our walks. This is because she is too excited. This has to be counter conditioned.

Goals For March 2021

Training Max

  • I want to improve the hold with Max. I should add both duration and distraction.

Training Laika

  • I want to Laika to tug in five unfamiliar locations in and around the house.
  • I want to desensitise Laika around puppies.

Monthly Review: January 2021

Every year when January hits, the new year gets us all jazzed up. Most people ideate about how the new year should be but only a few turn it into reality. Unfortunately I have been letting all these years slip away. Starting this year I wanted to be more mindful.

Why A Monthly Review?

I’ve been training dogs for more than two years. Whoo hoo! All these time I was too focussed on my dog’s micro behaviours — teaching my dog to SIT, DOWN, BARK, etc.

Only recently I understood the magnificence of building a working relationship with my dogs. I also realized that without a plan, I’m heading no where in my training. This was an aha moment in my dog training journey.

Starting this January I shall be setting a goal or two for each of my dogs and shall be reviewing our progress at the end of the month.

The Focus For January

Max: Teaching Max to retrieve.
Laika: Unfortunately I couldn’t focus on Laika much.

What Went Well?

The retrieving behaviour in its entirety isn’t great yet. However I was able to identify where we are slipping.

The retrieve behaviour consists of three micro behaviours — creating interest in an object, holding the object and retrieving the object. I was trying to tackle all at once which didn’t take us anywhere.

Recording, re-watching our training sessions and being part of a great community helped us to split the behaviour in to the following

  • tug — build the tug drive
  • hold — duration / distraction
  • bring to hand

Now that I figured the pieces of the puzzle, I shall be working on these one at a time.

Goals for February

With Max, I want to build the drive for tugging and work on bringing objects to hand.

With Laika, I want to desensitize her to the sound of crackers and bus honks.

Today, I’m grateful because training my dogs paved way for me to meet wonderful people around the world.