I used to post to my blog two or three times per week. This past week (February 2011) I got tied up with other things and didn't post as often as I “should have.” Which got me thinking. . .
Each week when I see my clients, whether in group classes or private training, the first thing I usually ask is:”What did you work on this past week, and how did it go?” The one thing I probably hear from my clients more than anything else is: “I didn't spend as much time training this past week as I should have.”
We often feel we should spend more time doing certain things, one of which is training our dogs. Some of us don't give it much thought, others beat ourselves up about it. Then we move on to other things – like beating ourselves up about other things.
If you haven't spent as much time doing what you “should have”, forget about it and move on. Even better, take those few minutes you would have spent telling someone about what you should have done, and – do it! If I took those few minutes I would have spent telling someone that I should have spent more time training my dog and actually trained my dog, I would feel a lot better! Ok, maybe some of you actually feel better complaining about what you should have done rather than doing it, but for the rest of you. . . in the words of the Nike campaign that was so popular, “Just do it.”
There is no magic answer to how much time you should spend doing things, just make sure you set aside some time. It's better to spend a few minutes every day training your dog than it is to do nothing. Sometimes we think it's not worth doing if we only have a few minutes. Not true! It is worth spending a few minutes here and there. You actually can make a lot of progress even for just a few minutes here and there.
In fact, you don't even need to bother setting aside time if you don't want to. Just grab the opportunity when you have a few minutes here and there. Waiting for your leftovers to heat up in the microwave? Take that minute or two to do a bit of training. Waiting for your favorite show to come back from commercial? Take those few minutes to do some training with your dog.
Stop worrying about what you should have done in the past and focus on what you can do now! Happy training!