I love the beginning of the year. For me, it is a chance to reflect on the previous year and think about all the dogs and owners I met. I’ve loved, learned, and grown from each interaction I have with an owner and their dog.
Some dogs and owners make me feel like I am brilliant with simple solutions and ideas regarding their concerns. Others humble me and have me trying every out of the box idea I can think of and collaborating with other trainers to help find them a solution.
The beginning of the year is a chance to start off on a new foot. Create some goals (not resolutions) but small simple lifestyle changes to have a happier and healthier state of mind.
Getting healthy is my goal for 2023. Eating less, sleeping more, and making sure I am taking time for myself. I am going to try something new this year and take a day off each week. We are starting with one day a week (I can’t be going crazy now). On that day, I don’t plan to teach or schedule appointments. I will still work with the training and boarding dogs but not having to wait on clients or rush to classes or lessons will give me a chance to relax and reflect at least one day a week. And it is one day that I can play catch up on communication and enjoy taking my dogs to fun places.
I will be the first to admit that communication is the one area I really struggled with this year; Especially maintaining communication with group class and private lesson clients. I did pretty good with the board and train clients but my goal in 2023 is to do better. I spent so much time with the boarding dogs and teaching that I didn’t allow enough time to follow up. I am planning to schedule time each week to ensure that I follow up with everyone.
I’m sharing this with you to help hold me accountable. Please follow up with a text, message or call if I don’t get back to you within 48 hours.
Everyone complains about not having enough time, but we all have the same number of hours in each day. We prioritize what is important to us and what we enjoy. Sometimes the little moments of laziness are needed but sometimes you just need a kick in the butt to get back on track.
A wonderful trainer said you just need 5 minutes. You can practice 10 recalls in 5 minutes. You can work on loose leash walking, stay, leave it, fetch, place, crate games, sit on the dog, etc for 5 minutes. Over time those 5 minutes become habit for you and your dog. That habit becomes a lifestyle.
My goal is to help each owner find a way to incorporate training into their lifestyle, so it is not a chore but something fun to do together. I shared a few ways owners can work with their dogs at home to earn trick dog titles and virtual manners certificates. My challenge to you is to do something fun with your dog each week. Set small goals that you can work towards each week. Keep a record so you can look back and see what you accomplished through the year. Let’s start 2023 off on the right foot and the right paw!