Training is the easy part. Hell, finding the motivation to train is easy too. It's the daily grind and bills and the headaches, you name it. All those things get in the way when it comes to training your dog, or your clients' dogs.
As fun as dog training is, you have to admit, it can get pretty boring at times. It can lose its touch after a few weeks, a few months, or if you're that insane, after a few years. But no one tells you this when you embark on this journey we call dog training.
Gradually we desensitize ourselves to this awesome lifestyle and it's why a lot of people move on. As a dog training instructor I see this first hand with graduates from our program. I'd say about half of them if not less will keep training dogs after a year or so. Some will start training part time and eventually not train at all. If that's what they choose is best for their lives, hey that's awesome! You should find something that pulls you, not something you have to push yourself to do. For a lot of people dog training is just a chapter in their lives and I'm happy with that as long as they're happy with that themselves.
But assuming you're still interested in this field, I know you will have those days in which you don't quite feel like training that dog. Or days in which you'll ask yourself if you can get by with less training than the day before. You'll find ways to shortcut here and there. You might even ask yourself if you made the right choice.
Here's what you NEED to do!
1)Remember why you're doing this!
There was a time you looked at this in awe, am I right? Yeah, you thought to yourself, "Man, that'd be awesome to have a job like that where you just work with dogs all day." There was a time you were not happy with the "JOB" you had. It was stale and there was no growth, there was no newer skill that would make you a better person. There was no connection, no passion and you felt stuck.
One of the best ways to rekindle the passion is simply to remember what life was like before you had what you now take for granted. That will give you a nice sense of gratitude that can be very refreshing.
2)Find a hobby!
That's right! find something that momentarily takes you away from dog training. You really need it and chances are you don't realize how much you need it. I don't care how much you love apple pies, if I feed you apple pies three times a day, seven days a week, you will get sick and tired of eating apple pies! Have you ever done that when you were a kid? Isn't there a dish that you ate too much of that once you loved and at one point the thought of it made you sick because you ate it too much? I know we've all overplayed that one song we loved to the point we didn't want to hear it again.
It's the same thing with dog training. It's great! it's awesome! But you have to take a break! You have to stop and smell the roses from time to time. Doing so will give you something to look forward to, which in return will make you look forward to training dogs again.
The hobbies can be as simple as giving yourself a few hours every day where you do something that is not related to dog training at all! Or at least a few hours a week. You could start a workout regimen, start doing martial arts, painting, taking an improv. class once a week or go hiking on weekends. Or at the very least doing something exclusively for you once a month.
Trust me, you need to do this. You may not feel like you do at this moment, but you need it. If you don't, what will happen is you'll begin to dread this life-style and soon it will become the very lifestyle you once dreaded. Your quality will go down, which will make your clients or boss unhappy, which will then affect you even more, which will make you dread dog training even more. There's no winning for anyone.
Here's another thing that has helped me:
I will actually challenge myself to teach my dog to do something difficult even if it takes me several months to accomplish. This gives me a purpose and a reason to approach every training session with enthusiasm. If you work with clients you can do something similar. Make it a point to learn something new with every client. Give yourself a deadline where you tell yourself: "In two months, I expect to be this type of trainer....., or gain this type of skill....., or have gone to this seminar...., or to have read this many books...."
Having a constant goal in mind will make you look forward to training sessions instead of dreading them.
In closing I beg you to take a moment to assess your situation and take the appropriate steps to ensure you're the most passionate dog trainer you can be. The world needs dog trainers who are eager and hungry to learn and progress.