What a crazy time that we are in, and it seems to be that everyone is being affected…. In the UK, we are waiting for guidance on what the next steps are, but we have been told by our Governing body, that there will be no shows, trials and competition until till June of this year!
I absolutely understand everyones frustration over this, but our primary concern is to be safe, stay safe and keep each other safe!
My own plans over the forthcoming week have been drastically altered, as I was meant to be making a trip to the USA and Canada, but given the circumstances, the decision was made to cancel this trip…. I can’t lie, and say I wasn’t disappointed and frustrated but these are challenging times and uncertain, so we are all taking each day as it comes. I think many are in the same position.
When you read the sea of media post, it is easy to feel anxious, concern and worry about what is to come. We are faced with the unknown, and it’s easy to feel a level of fear and apprehension.
So, as with everything in my life, I want to find a positive slant on it his situation!! And parallel this experience to how I would deal with a dog that had anxiety and concern, and how I choose to train my dogs.
Here are some simples tips, and ‘silver lining’ sentiments to keep you positive!
- Reinforcement based dog training is about find ways to use positive reinforcement, but this also extends to the way in which you live your life and engaged with your dogs and each other. Being positive is beyond using ‘positive’ methods, it’s also about your mindset and the way in which you behave and treat others. In a time when we are all under stress, be kind to each other.
- Focus on what I can control! There are always factors beyond my control, that I have to accept may happen, but by taking preparatory steps to put the odds in my favour, is not only smart but effective training. Taking ‘precautions’ isn’t about being ‘anxious’, its about being smart!
- Use your time wisely. THINK, PLAN, DO is a mantra that all training should be guided by. Be prepared for time when you may be at home. Be creative. I primarily train all behaviours with my dogs ‘in short hand’ initial’ and breaking behaviour down into tiny pieces makes this easy. I can train so many behaviours for dog sports in a tiny space. Each room in your home is a different environment, and you can generalise behaviour in and around the home. You can control more of what happens, and strategically add challenges and distractions. Fitness work can be done in small spaces, strength and conditioning, balance work and proprioception work can be done in small spaces.
- Kongs, snuffles mats, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, milk cartons, yoghurt pots, ice cube trays, netted bags… all these can be used to create interesting ways to feed and enrich your dogs life if you are housebound. It is so much fun to see them engage and interact with these items, have your phone on standby, as you may get some cool vids fort TikTok!
- This is the time to work on skills, proofing games, weird and wonderful set ups, out of context behaviours and cues… Look at your environment as a smorgasbord of training gems!
- Be mindful of the contend of YOUR social media… you are in control of your social media content, and you can Police what you want to see. Being inundated with posts filled with fear and apprehension will only further enhance that within you. Follow uplifting groups, share positive post and see your newsfeed change! Uplift yourself and uplift others!
- shape a random trick, like nose target the kitchen cupboard door handle, or put a foot on the steps, but do it whilst sitting in a chair and not ‘moving’. This is a great way to home your timing and observational skills!
- Download some podcast, by your favourite dog trainers, or watch some webinars… or even sign up for some online classes… this is the perfect time to up skill your training, without having to be somewhere o do something… check out http://www.kamalfernandezonlinetraining.com for some great online training!
- Create a private Facebook group with friends, where you can share videos, and training… even have your own competition! This is a great way to stay motivated and focused!
- Above all, whilst it be not be your ‘choice’, you may HAVE to stay at home with your dogs… and that is definitely a silver lining in my book! Any time with them, is quality time.. it helps keep my mind healthy and my soul at peace….
I have some exciting news coming over the next few weeks, with the first ‘BIG NEWS’ on Saturday, 21st March 2020… Keep an eye on your email and my Facebook page for that!!!!
And trust me, its going to be something’ HOT’ 😉
For now, stay safe, stay healthy and stay positive!