This is an area of my life that I have always struggled with... consistency. Housework, disciplining children, healthy diet/exercise, etc. With most things, the consequences are not serious, people overlook dust bunnies and toothpaste splatters on the mirror. They will forgive lapses into frozen foods and convenience meals. But with dog training, as with child discipline, consistency is essential. My specific problem is with staying consistent in the time between when a new behavior is introduced and when the dog has really caught it. Like loose-leash walking. If I stop and "be a tree" every time Brody pulls the leash tight, it will take us half an hour to walk around the block. He is a young dog who needs to burn energy. How can I get him the exercise he needs at this rate? If I never let him pull me over to bark at the dog on the other side of the fence, we can't get into the park (the dog's house is right at the entrance to the school ground where we play fetch). When teaching him fetch, he chases the ball, but does not bring it all the way, or even sometimes part way back to me. I am spending as much time retrieving as he is chasing. Every time he doesn't bring the ball back to me, he is being reinforced for not doing it, but if I don't do it, the game ends and he hasn't gotten his exercise. When he barks in the house at outside noises, and we ignore him, he keeps on barking. And barking. And barking. When someone finally gets fed up, because it's 11:30 pm and we're all in bed, and they tell him to be quiet, he is getting attention for barking. When in a training session and I give him a command that I know he knows, and he doesn't obey it, do I wait until he does? Do I treat him? Do I lure him into a sit even though he knows darn well what I mean? Do I say it over and over in different tones, using different inflections, just in case I said it wrong the first few times? And if he won't sit for me when I have a clicker in my hand and a baggie full of hotdogs and cheese, how can I expect him to come away from the barking dog at the fence when I call him. I'm starting to feel like every interaction I have with Brody (other than cuddling on the sofa) is a training session, and everything I do and say has to be just right or I will be setting back his learning, or worse, reinforcing an unwanted behavior. Can I give myself permission to relax the rules, or am I in for a much longer period of training these behaviors if I do?