Steps To Success Level One Complete!

It’s official! Both Maizey and Magnus passed level one in the new Steps to Success!

For Maizey L1 was a matter of testing behaviors she already knew. She got stuck on Sit, step 4 “dog sits by open door.” After a bit of work on that she finished her last test on January 14.

Magnus completed his last test on January 16. “Dog sits by open door” was no issue for him since he thinks it’s too cold to go outside anyways, so sitting by the door and getting paid for it was a great deal to him.

The Issue of Testing
Which brings me to one thing that has held me up in the levels before: the dreaded testing!

One time in Junior High I got a B on my report card. I don’t remember what class, I don’t remember why. What I remember is being devastated. That B may as well have been an F. I was a perfectionist about my grades, among other things, back then. All or nothing thinking seems to run deep in many of us.

Although I have shed many of my perfectionistic ways, when it comes to testing in the S2S I get hung up.

To pass the test the dog must perform the skill correctly one time on a day when you haven’t trained. Seems simple enough, but somehow the test skill never goes A+ worthy to me. This is B may as well be an F syndrome at it’s best. I can’t count how many times I probably could have passed one of the pups on a skill, but didn’t.

Once I stopped being a perfectionist about it I realized I was being cautious to the detriment of their progress. The S2S are progressive so a dog does need to have a skill solid, but they also reinforce the previous behaviors while building on them.

Make a note: progress comes from moving forward, not standing still.

For those of you who do the levels, how do you handle testing? Do you test only one step of one skill on a single day? Do you test several steps to a single skill at once?

Moving Forward
We have started L2 and are looking forward to a few months of L2 work for Magnus. For Maizey it is more a matter of testing and filming many of the skills.

Looking back I realized I started this blog as a training blog and now it’s hardly ever about training.

I guess that’s because when I started I thought I knew a little and now I realize how little I know!

One consistent lesson in my life has been the older I get the more I realize I have to learn. So it has come about that my training blog has turned into a forum for my learning from all of you, and I hope somewhere along the way perhaps you learn something from my 4legged friends.

With the completion of the new S2S book on the horizon, I hope to make some real progress in the next few months, so I will be doing more posts on the levels. This will mean more posts on getting back to the basics. I hope it wont be too basic and boring for many of you who are much more experienced than I, but maybe our progress will inspire other newbies to pick up a clicker and get learning with their 4legged friends!

A Word To My Pups
I have include a short gush of proud Crazymomlady. My favorite part of running through L1 was how much my pups love to work. Their joy is contagious, and their love of learning inspiring.

Level two here we come!