It feels so great when everything is going great with our animals…
We find it hard to stop!
Just one… more… minute… practicing… and it might get even better!
I used to find it hard to stop when something finally “clicked” in a training session. I always wanted to try it again to see if I could improve it, or if it was just by chance that the animal got it “right” that time. I’ve learned the importance of stopping at the right moment.
Especially when I work with young or wild animals – young horses, dogs, or wild mustangs. When an animal has made a positive change, it’s very important to just let it soak. They need time to concrete and digest what they’ve just learned. Just like human children, animal children need to have little “recesses” or breaks. I try to never make a session longer than a half hour!
What was your goal in the first place? It’s important to always have a goal in mind and then be able to recognize when you have reached it. Even if you don’t reach it, sometimes it takes you and the animal a longer time to just take one step towards that goal.
When you feel your animal take that one step in a positive direction – STOP! It took them that long to understand what you were asking, and now they need a break to think it through. It’s great to still hang out with them – lay in the sun, take a snooze, go for a walk… but stop, stop, stop what you were working on. Their minds, just like ours, can quickly go on overload. Too much information!
Try to make yourself aware of it: When you hear yourself thinking, “Just a little more – just a little longer!”
It’s time to stop. Let it soak.