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If you’re a professional baseball player, you don’t start swinging the bat the day you make it to the world series. You don’t throw your very first shot put the day of the Olympics. You don’t sit down at the piano for the first time the day of a huge recital in front of thousands of people.

Of course all these examples are silly and no one would ever consider doing them. But as crazy as these examples are, this is exactly what I see many dog owners actually do. And its one of the biggest failures in attempting to train or rehab their dog.

It’s fascinating that something we so naturally understand in the human world (that being, the need of using baby steps and constant preparation in order to achieve a bigger goal or accomplishment) a lot of times escapes us and undermines us when it comes to training our dogs.

We somehow believe the dog with the maniac reaction to the door, or even worse, an aggression issue, will automatically respond to our frantic attempts to “keep him in place” the one day someone shows up at the door instead of practicing, preparing and conditioning him to respond appropriately to listen with respect and to defer to you and your leadership.

Or we let our dogs wander on the walk , smelling here and there and all over, pulling us to and fro, inadvertently teaching them consistently that they need not respect or listen to us. Then our dog sees that little obnoxious dog from down the street and decides not only to bark, growl and spin in circles, but lunges at you with a nip on the pant leg.

In the dog world, these are all World Series moments.

To think you can simply go out on Game Day and knock the ball out of the park, without having spent the necessary time to practice, prepare and build your skill, is simply foolish. If you’re looking to train or rehab any serious behavior problem, be sure you practice, prepare and condition both you and your dog repeatedly with small, slow challenges long Before Game Day.

Much of our success with severe behavior issues comes from utilizing this simple formula. Remember, if you’re going to rock it on Game Day, you gotta work through T-Ball, Little League, High School, College Ball, and finally, if you’ve worked your butt off, then you graduate to the Big Leagues. If you approach your dog training with the same type of mindset, you can accomplish something amazing with your dogs.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at anytime. I would love to hear from you!