How To Get a “Good” Dog – Part 3

How to get a good dog - part 3

We will now consider the importance of motivation and accountability when goal setting.  You can take time to write your mega goals and your mini goals and schedule out when you will train, but how do you begin? When do you expect to finish? Is it a matter of when it’s done, it’s done? No timeline? This is a dangerous mindset. If no timeline is present, what is wrong with procrastinating? Why start today, when next Monday is an option. Here are some ideas on how to achieve your goals by adding in motivation and accountability.

Set a time limit. 

Setting a time limit helps you stay on task and make progress. This is true about any goal you have with training or with life. Open ended goals can be pushed back repeatably.  WHEN do you want this skill to be completed?

Dog Minimal Workout Tracker Planner - Time Limit

You need to set a date. This is definitely something I am doing for my pups, Spy, Elsbeth, and Avi. I have some skills in mind I want to teach the “Three Amigos.” I don’t need to teach them this skill, but it would be nice. I need to sit, with my coffee in the morning (that is when I do my best thinking) and forecast my end game for each goal. I will write down the date I expect to be finished and then do my best to reach this goal.

It is fun to imagine, what if I reach it? How cool would it be if my pups could do THIS! This dream, this vision, will become reality! Not to mention, it is my hope, the students in my class get a kick out of seeing what my dogs can do. It will hopefully not only impress but motivate my students.  If my dogs can do it, their dog can do it too! If you want to know what skill I will be teaching the Three Amigos, you will have to listen to the podcast to find out. You can find the link at the end of this article.

Plan an event

Planning an event can help you set a completion date in case you have trouble doing that on your own. Maybe set your sights on a dog show. You can participate in AKC or UKC Rally Obedience. One dog at a time enters the ring and follows the signs and performs each of the tasks outlined on the sign. There are great skills like stay, loose leash walking and others that are just good skills for any dog to have. If you haven’t heard of this, a quick search on YouTube will bring up many examples of Rally. You may even earn a ribbon if that motivates you. It does me, as does, having someone I don’t know judge and rate what I have done with my dog. Planning an event like this really keeps my training on track and it may you too.

Take a class

Classes serve as an appointment and added accountability. They can be like a social event and with that comes pressure. If the class is progressing, it’s not fun to be the one who didn’t practice and your dog is the “worst” out of the group. Classes, if done right, can help you stay accountable.

I hired a personal fitness trainer just so I would have an appointment to go to and I would not push off lifting weights. I own a whole weight set. I even used to teach fitness. Wouldn’t you know it, I need to hire someone to meet me at the gym. Turns out, it was such a great idea! I didn’t have to think about what I was going to do when I got there and I had someone waiting for me. I paid money for this! I made it to all the appointments, and I felt fantastic. It was a huge win. Of course, people would wonder why I hired a guy to help me as I used to be a fitness trainer in my past life. Knowing how to do it was not my problem. I needed an appointment! Dog training classes can be that appointment for you too.

Take a dog training class for accountability

Make it “family time” 

Ask members of your family if they want to be involved in the training. Make it pizza and training night! Perhaps each person identifies one thing to teach the dog and that person will take that on as their responsibility. You are all invested in your dog’s success this way. Family time plus dog training is a great way to bond together, share an experience and stay accountable. The next week, gather again and show off your progress. Set a family appointment and enjoy this time. Train together, laugh together and cheer each other on!

Dream a little dream

Some people dream of hiking off leash with their dogs. Others wish their dog would lay next to them while they sit at a brewery and enjoy chips and salsa.  What do you dream you could do with your dog? Make this dream a goal? It. Is. Possible. It is also measurable. Once you know your dream, you can decide on what behaviors you want your dog doing. For example, for an off-leash dog, a reliable recall is a must. That is one mega goal for your training journal right there. If you want your dog to join you for chips and salsa, maybe a solid down stay would be helpful. Dream a little dream and work on making it a reality.

It’s not infinite!  

When I was staining the rungs that would surround the deck of my hydrotherapy pool, I wanted to cry and I did. It felt like an endless pile of rungs to stain.  I would never finish! Then, I got to thinking. . . this is not infinite.

Endless Railing - thought Stephanie would never finish staining

There were so many rungs. Every rung I got done, the closer I was to being finished.  I would be completely done staining if I just kept going. Just imagining the end made me take a deep breath. It made the hard work doable. I set a goal of staining ten rungs each day. All the rungs needed two coats of stain. Every time I finished the second coat, I knew I would not have to touch that rung again until we were screwing it onto the deck. Done and DONE! I had to keep reminding myself of this daily. I was so tired and all I wanted was this huge project to be finished. Building out the hydrotherapy space was the biggest project I have ever done. So cry if you must but just keep telling yourself, this is NOT INFINITE and KEEP GOING!

Get your free downloadable here of your “Time Limit Log” and start setting some dates.  You will write in the name of the first “Mega Goal” and then the date. Mark this date in your phone or on your calendar so not to forget and to keep your eye on the prize.

If you want more details and want to know what I am teaching the Three Amigos, here is the link to the podcast.

If you have questions about socializing or training your dog let me know. I'm happy to help!

Please email at  

Happy Training!

~ Stephanie

Protect your dog you love


Sign up for lessons, treats, and resources!

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Train Your Dog

Scroll to Top