Behavior change happens in increments over a period of time, and requires consistency and a clear goal for each step of the process. It can be hard not to feel overwhelmed at the long list of triggers to work through, or the sheer amount of time and effort it takes to create the change you want to see. This is why it is so important to celebrate each small victory!
I get lots of reminders to celebrate the small stuff working with my high anxiety, high arousal boy, Kylo. He has been fearful and reactive towards strangers since the day I ended up bring him home at around 10 weeks old. He is predisposed to be fearful and it was compounded by some bad experiences early on, which is why he ended up with me.
Yesterday he was able to walk through a small park with kids playing in the distance, a couple strolling around the pond, a jogger, and a woman with a dog, all with zero reactions. I have been working on reinforcing him checking in with me when he feels uncertain, and he did just that. When he saw each new person he would glance back at me for reassurance (and some reinforcement), and then continued walking by. This has been a work in progress for over a year, and though it doesn’t sound like much, we celebrated!
Keep making those small steps towards your behavior or training goal, and celebrate the little things!
Woofs and Wags!