Sep 28

Noticing the Small Wins

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If you’ve ever attended one of my group sessions you’ll know that I like to start each class sharing wins. Something that has gone well since we last saw each other. 

It could be a great choice your dog has made or as a handler you may have improved your mechanics, getting a better result from your dog. 

When people have young puppies or are new to training with me, there’s usually a time of fast changes. And it’s easy for them to pick a win to share with the class.

However once they have all the basics in place, or that pain point behaviour they first came to me about is resolved, it’s much harder for them to think of a win. It’s because it’s so easy to just go about your life, not thinking anything of it. When your day-to-day life with your dog is effortless. When they just fit in seamlessly to your day.

But for that to happen I guarantee your dog is making some amazing choices.
It was as we were sharing wins at the beginning of my Life Skills class earlier this month that I realised I had done the same with Mango earlier that day.

It was while we were still experiencing some lovely weather and I was hanging the washing up outside. I took out the laundry basket, put it on the ground, hung everything up and went back inside without much thought. 

Now, what you may not know about Mango is that she is a MASTER sock thief who is also rather partial to a wooden peg. And that while I was hanging up the washing she was outside with me and had access to both socks and pegs.

But she didn’t try to steal either. In fact she just had a bit of a mooch around and then went back inside without me. 

There are SO many things she could have done, and would have done previously. She could have taken a sock from the basket, she might have tried to steal a wooden peg, she may have taken the opportunity to prune some of the garden plants or she could have barked back at one of my neighbour’s dogs. Yet she didn’t.
It may seem like a small thing to just go and hang out your washing, but looking back on it I am so proud of the choices that Mango made.

So, here's my challenge to you:
start noticing those small wins, those moments when life with your dog is effortlessly smooth, so you can give them the credit and recognition they deserve.

If you're one to dwell on occasional setbacks and forget the good, create a jar of wins. Jot them down on little pieces of paper and pop them in your jar. When the going gets tough or your dog has an off day, reach for that jar and remind yourself of how far you've come.

Join me in celebrating those often-overlooked victories – because every small win is a reflection of the incredible journey you and your dog are on.
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