Riverina K9


Embarking on the journey of training your dog marks the beginning of a rewarding and yet sometimes challenging adventure. From teaching basic commands to addressing behavioural issues, every step requires patience, dedication, and, most importantly, consistency. Consistency serves as the bedrock upon which successful training is built, providing the structure and clarity necessary for your dog to understand and learn. In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of consistency in dog training and explore practical strategies to incorporate vital principles within a consistent approach into your own training. Professional and accredited support can be of so much benefit when we speak about consistency to keep both you and your dog on track and progressing with efficiency.


Realistic Goal Setting & Expectations

Before diving into training sessions, it’s essential to establish clear and achievable goals. Setting goals, by definition, means we commit to making changes in our own behaviour as part the goal pursuit process by the incentives we identify (Berkman, 2018). Whatever your goals may be, defining specific objectives helps guide your training efforts dramatically which leads onto the next planning and prioritising phases. Realistic goals ensure that you and your dog progress steadily lowering the risks associated with overwhelm or demotivation (Höpfner & Keith, 2021). For example, rather than expecting instant results in a week, aim for gradual progress over time which allows a much more motivating path for initial learning, refinement and then expansion for both you and your dog. Celebrate small victories along the way together, reinforcing positive behaviours which sets the stage for further success. Did you know just by writing your goals down, this gives you a significant edge in achieving them? A qualified dog trainer can support your goal setting phase and help you with realistic feedback that will solidify a great path with everyone’s needs and abilities in mind.


Prioritising and Strategic Planning

Consistency thrives on structure and just the right level of planning and organisation. A strategic plan is a roadmap to successfully achieving desired outcomes (Garcia EV, 2016). Prioritising, on the other hand, allows you to align the areas that require immediate attention based on your dog’s needs, your current abilities and time all as influential factors within strategic planning. Create a training schedule that fits sustainably into your daily routine, allocating dedicated time for sessions and working on your ever evolving training criteria during each session can be a great mechanism towards continued success. By planning ahead, you can ensure that focused training remains a priority and avoid inconsistency due to competing commitments or lack of time. Remember to keep sessions short and engaging to maintain your dog’s focus and enthusiasm – as well as your own! A dog trainer can also assist you prioritising and strategically planning a structured approach towards your goals. A practitioner with experience can be of huge benefit in helping you work out the steps involved and how best to go about getting started and meeting your short to long term objectives. With many of my students they have access to planning and tracking workbooks that provide them a great foundation to work with in these initial stages. In my opinion this makes all the difference in getting into good habits and getting a great start.


Clear Communication

Clear communication is vital within the training process for your dog. Employing consistent markers, cues, and consequences to articulate your expectations is essential. Avoid ambiguity by ensuring clarity in your communication system and consistent methods of training for your dog. By adopting this approach, you empower your dog to readily grasp what is expected, expediting the learning process and enhancing the retention of desirable or preferred behaviours. Such clarity fosters an environment conducive to positive growth and development. This strengthens the bond between you and your pet naturally. A qualified dog trainer can provide you the means of developing and nurturing clear communication channels with your dog as an imperative foundation that all skills and desirable training outcomes are based on.


Tracking Your Progress

Monitoring progress is essential for gauging the effectiveness of your training efforts. There is no point focusing your energy in on something if that avenue is just not delivering. Keep a journal or take daily notes to track your dog’s achievements, setbacks, and overall behaviour patterns. Documenting milestones and identifying areas for improvement provides valuable insights into your training approach wherein you can reflect and make any changes required. Tracking progress allows you to adjust strategies as needed, ensuring that you stay on course towards your goals. Celebrate successes, no matter how small, and use setbacks as learning opportunities to refine your training techniques. Regular sessions with a qualified trainer can be an amazing way to track your progress and provide support and feedback as you progress over time towards your skill or behaviour goals with your dog.


Develop Methods of Accountability

Consistency is reinforced by accountability, both for you and your dog. Enlist the support of a professional trainer to hold you accountable to your training goals and support you along the way. Share progress updates and seek feedback to stay motivated and on track. Additionally, hold your dog accountable for their actions by maintaining consistent yet fair expectations and appropriate outcomes for behavioural decisions. Your rewards hierarchy can take shape here and more freedoms may be allowed as success is achieved and more trust is built between yourself and your dog. Methods of accountability when training your dog may also include scheduling regular progress evaluations with trainer, enlisting the help of other observers to provide feedback or film your training, engaging with online communities for mutual encouragement and advice, and establishing a system of rewards and incentives for you and your dog to reinforce your consistency and motivation.


Patience and Perseverance

Finally, perhaps the most important aspect of consistency in dog training is patience and perseverance. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a well-trained or rehabilitated dog. Understand that progress takes time and setbacks are an absolutely imperative part of the learning process. Approach training with a positive mindset, embracing each opportunity to learn and grow alongside your dog. Remember, patience and consistency go hand in hand – stay committed to your goals, even when faced with challenges, and the results will follow.


The umbrella of consistency serves as a foundational element of successful dog training, encompassing various elements that shape behaviours and fortify the bond between Guardian and dog. If we really sit back and look at things our consistency is always directly within our control whether we like to admit it or not. I’m very confident stating that a high rate of consistency lies at the heart of all successful training endeavours. By defining realistic goals, accurately prioritising and planning training sessions, developing clear communication channels, attentively tracking progress, upholding accountability, and embodying patience and perseverance, anyone can establish a robust foundation for genuine and long-lasting achievement with their dog. Embrace the training journey, commemorate accomplishments, and enjoy the gratifying process that represents the ultimate rewards of consistent and dedicated training.



Berkman ET (2018) The Neuroscience of Goals and Behavior Change. Consult Psychol J. 2018 Mar;70(1):28-44. doi: 10.1037/cpb0000094. PMID: 29551879; PMCID: PMC5854216.


Garcia EV (2016). Strategic planning: a tool for personal and career growth. Heart Asia. 2016 Mar 3;8(1):36-9. doi: 10.1136/heartasia-2015-010684. PMID: 27326229; PMCID: PMC4898637.


Höpfner J, Keith N. (2021) Goal Missed, Self Hit: Goal-Setting, Goal-Failure, and Their Affective, Motivational, and Behavioral Consequences. Front Psychol. 2021 Sep 21;12:704790. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.704790. PMID: 34621213; PMCID: PMC8490751.


Racheal Romeo is the Owner and Head Trainer of Riverina K9 Services

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