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.

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