Here's a lecture I wrote for my FDSA Class EL140 Mindset Training for Dog Sports, but I thought it would make a great blog post for those of trying really hard to build up new habits and behaviors for ourselves as trainers, teachers, and competitor.
You have to give yourself credit for defying the behaviors that were previously holding you back!
As dog trainers, we have lists of skills we want our dogs to learn. We keep notes on how those skills are progressing. We know which skills need more work, which skills are thriving, and which behaviors we want to see less of.
We spend time in our training adding “money to the bank” for those behaviors we want to keep sharp. We understand that dogs make mistakes; we may even still reward them when they make an error. We do this because we understand how learning and training works – sometimes known behaviors are made more difficult by things out of our control, like the environment.
See where I’m going here, yet?
Our own skills are the same. I bet many of you have lists of the technical skills you need to work on. You know which skills need more work, which skills are thriving, and which behaviors we want to see less of.
This week, you’ve been working hard to pin-point the mindset skills you have that need more work, which ones are thriving, and which behaviors we want to see less of.
However, mindset skills are a little bit different. We get credit for them (money in the bank), even when we don’t get it right.
If we are working on sticking to the plan as a mindset skill, you are putting money in your mental bank account every single time you make a plan and stick to it, even if your plan didn’t work AND even if you only stuck to the plan 5 out of 20 obstacles.
You see, we would never look at our dogs and say, “well you were only sort of in the yellow, I guess we sort of have contact criteria.” You would see that your dog isn’t where you WANT them to be in terms of meeting criteria, but you would honor where they were at and making a training plan to progress their skills.
The best news is, you all already have these skills. It’s time to generalize those skills up the leash to your own skills, and start putting that “money in the bank!”
For each new habit or skill you are trying to cultivate, you have to look for evidence of you already doing it, even if it isn’t the finished product. Look for the smallest approximation of your behavior that is a starting point, and go from there. Each time you repeat that behavior, or a more elaborate version of it, you are reinforcing your new habits.
If this short lecture sparked your interest, or if you would like to learn more about mindset training, please check out the class description & sample lecture here. Registration closes on June 15th.