I spend most of my time with humans who are conventionally successful (well off, happily settled down, physically fit and intelligent). The phrase is borrowed from one them (‘but whence his name and lineage long, it suits me not to say’).
I’m not particularly entrepreneurial (and notoriously unhappy with my own performance) but without mentally repeating this phrase I’d do very little. I’d just spend my life correcting anything I have produced ad infinitum.
My idea of a perfect dog is, well, my dog. Which is good as it doesn’t hinder the progress of my training. I don’t have overly ambitious expectations so I focus on the bare minimum. I ‘hack’ dog training. Focusing on commands that are vital for passing for a responsible dog owner. So ‘come’, ‘sit’ as a default is pretty much all I want. ‘I’m not a trainer‘ I tell myself, ‘Everyone knows I just try to rehabilitate the abused ones‘.
Surprisingly, this laid back attitude results in my dogs somehow training themselves by accident. They simply learn to pay attention to me first. Then, I teach them to come when called. Always. Around squirrels, too. When they see a friendly looking dog on the other side of the road and would rather say ‘hello’. Always. When it’s dark, when it’s loud, when they are frightened, when they are playful. Always.
The ‘always’ part is the hardest, so we spend a bit of time practising every day. But, we get bored so we accidentally practise tricks as well.
And because they learn to look at me and ‘read me’, they accidentally learn to ‘guess’ what I want. Barking at people makes my face look sad. They don’t really want that. So they somehow decide not to bark at people (or, in Lily’s case bark quickly and kiss me even quicker). Biting the cat’s ear makes me frown and take the cat away (the cat in question finds it quite amusing, but he’s a dog-lover, not all cats in the world are). So, it’s better to leave Charlie’s ears alone…
So, work a bit with your dog. Try to make it work just once, do it properly but don’t expect perfection. Don’t procrastinate, don’t worry you might not get the best results. ‘Done’ really is better than perfect, because it actually happens.