Menu toggle icon.
Menu toggle icon.

What I’ve Learned about Habits from Being a Dog Show Judge

a mixture of letters of the alphabet with the word habits


As I look out over the Caribbean on my annual beach vacation, I find myself reflecting on what I’ve learned about life and dog shows.

When I travel as a judge, my habits are different than they are when I work at home. I don’t need to get into the exact “what” and “why” of my habits, let’s just say that when I’m judging or on vacation, the habits I’ve created in my life at home carry forward to similar habits that serve my individual needs or those interests as a judge. I have created habits that help me create success regardless of my role at the time.

If you aren’t intentional about these activities, it’s likely that you will create more havoc for yourself…


Be Intentional

Whether my intention is to relax, exercise, or get a tan, it works best for me to set that intention even before I start that activity. If I want to be successful in getting a tan, I need to set a schedule for the number of hours I can and want to be in the sun.

If I want to get more exercise, then I create a habit to do so no matter where I am. In addition, it helps to attach one or more existing habits, plus a reward at the end. I didn’t invent this concept, but it works exceptionally well. One simple sequence that worked well for a Dog Show Mentor member was to train the dog for five minutes a day and reward with a five-minute social media dive!

Sometimes it takes discipline to train your dog, so why not create a sequence of habits that makes you happy? Sometimes the simplest system works the best.

When you begin as a dog person, particularly if you just got a puppy or young dog, think of it as adding new habits. You have added the habit of feeding a new puppy, walking it or letting it out, and this last part is particularly intentional. You want to housebreak your puppy, so you create a framework for that activity. On the clock, you develop the habit of feeding and letting out. If you’ve read a book on puppy training, you know that schedules are very important to dogs and the success of THEIR habits. Your habits rub off on your dog.

If you only let your dog out when you think he needs to go, then he will learn to go when HE wants to, not on your schedule. If you aren’t intentional about these activities, it’s likely that you will create more havoc for yourself, even if you believe the opposite.