Back in July, I signed off on my blog mentioning that another exciting adventure was headed our way in the Ellin family! Well, I’m back to share with you that Ruby Ellin, our 5 month old mini Golden Doodle has not only been the love of our lives over the past two months, but she continues to teach both my husband, Marty and I more than we could ever imagine. The bottom line is this…she is waiting to be trained and wanting to take direction from us if we would just give it to her! Our trainer stated it pretty directly to us early on – “If this dog doesn’t wind up being trained correctly, it won’t be the dog’s fault!”
What is clearer than ever in both training Ruby how to behave as she matures from a puppy into an adult dog and teaching humans how to change their existing behavior – being consistent on a regular basis and creating routines, whether old or new, is the key to long term success. For Ruby, it’s making sure that she goes in and out the same door every day to “relieve” herself. It means using the same words over and over again for each command to ensure she gets it and associates with it. “Leave it” and “drop it” are two very different things to her which I didn’t get in the beginning and was using both of those intermittently for the same action. I learned quickly enough that when you want her to not touch something, it’s “leave it” and when you want her to let go of something that she already has, it’s “drop it.” What did I know…there is a reason why I do what I do and Cesar Milan does what he does! And… boy is he good!
So here are some quick tips we can all learn from no matter how many legs we have…
- Try to create routines, stick to them every day and when they are eventually linked with “feeling right,” you have developed a new, positive habit.
- Be intentional and consistent in the actions that you take to maintain any new system you set up for yourself to change your existing behavior.
- Don’t punish yourself if you don’t get it right every single time – after all, change takes time, and the easier you can be on yourself, the more likely you are to keep going. Don’t let discouragement turn you back in the direction you just came from.
And finally, the most important gift that Ruby, Routines and Reinforcing good habits all have in common is… THE REWARD! I know that what is not only rewarding for us but also for Ruby is… we are all one little happy, well-adjusted, disciplined, “chill” family right out of the gate! We are putting the time in now to have the next 15 years with a well-behaved dog who only wants to please and love us unconditionally.
Now just think about how much better your life will be once you have ditched those old habits for new, simple, productive ones – that is truly a reward in itself. And if you are really up for a more challenging one… go get yourself a puppy!