Striving for "Less Sh*tty"
This is a phrase I have commonly said to people facing challenges with their dogs. Instead of shooting for perfect, instead of wanting to get to the final step of a skill or worrying about what the end will look like, I always say, "Let's strive for less shitty" first!
If you can work on it in the moment and have it be "less shitty" than normal, then you have hit the first goal! If your dog jumps less, barks less, reacts less - even slightly less than usual, then you are doing the thing.
Behavior change takes time. Learning new skills takes time. So if we expect a world of change in one training session or we have an unrealistic goal in our minds from the start, we will usually be left disappointed and our dogs may never quite meet our self-inflicted high expectations. I have these moments myself. None of us are immune.
Next time you know your dog may do something that normally stresses you out, recognize the moment, take a deep breath, get prepared to work on it, and give yourself and your dog some grace by making the goal be "let's shoot for less shitty" - AKA anything even slightly better than usual.
This can help you not only reach these smaller, more attainable goals, but you'll likely find that things are improving way more than "less shitty" and it's actually starting to look pretty good!
Remember, we are all doing our best to manage and navigate our days, our dogs included. I hope your next moments (both with and without your dog) are a little better than normal. <3
Have you taken a moment to be proud of yourself today?
Take care and took soon, fam.