You have a dog.
You have a behavior that you don’t like.
You have a goal for your dog.
This is where many people lose their momentum in training their pups. I’ve been there so I’m not judging you. You sit down, think “hey I should work with the dog on something”
Or you end up with a face like this…
What do you work on?
Well there is the door manners, but I don’t have anyone to knock on the door.
That counter surfing needs some work, but it’s not that bad…
10 minutes later, you are still sitting on the couch looking at the dog and nothing is getting done. You now feel overwhelmed and instead of doing something you are doing nothing, and no progress is being made.
SO what is the ONE thing that you can do to help overcome that endless cycle of thinking about it and doing nothing?
START TAKING NOTES
I started Bullet Journaling in October of last year. I saw someone talk about it in a facebook group and looked into it.
Now some of those journals are crazy. Mine does not have any colors or symbols, but it does give me a place to quickly write down things I need to remember or notes to add about clients, in a place that I can quickly refer back to as I need to. (And as much as I like to color code things, I don’t have the time for all that nonsense.) Once I figured out a way to make the journal work for my stream of consciousness, I thought perhaps it would work for my dog’s training as well.
I started adding the dogs training into my personal journal, but notes were getting convoluted, and I was having a hard time separating personal things from dog training things.
Both of my competing dogs now have a journal of their own. At the beginning of the month I take a look at what we are competing in that month, and what skills we need to work on to be successful. It gives me a short list of ideas and goals for right now, instead of all the “hopefully one day” things that I tend to add in on a whim. We don’t have an Index page, or a Future log since all their competitions are also in my journal, that’s where I need them to plan my own life. My dogs journal is just their day to day stuff.
On the Month Log, I write a general idea of what we accomplished that day so I quickly know how often we are working on each skill. I also know at a glance how often we take days off. All the days are on one page, and they say things like “conditioning” “work” or “park.” If they are competing, then it says “dock dogs” or “barn hunt” and nothing more!
In the Daily Log, I write a quick recap of the training session. What we did, how it felt, what I think we need to work on at the next session. I try to do this as soon as the session is over while it is still fresh in my mind. It also helps when, later, I remember to train my dog, I can go back and read what I thought of the last session and go from there. (It’s really helpful when I write down what I think the next session should be)
Here is a picture of Pixie’s journal. You can see it’s not terribly detailed or long, but it gives me something to go back to. I saw that on March 19 we did a few weaves around cones, which was fun. It’s a good shoulder workout so maybe we will add that into our training tomorrow. Conditioning plan done! See how easy that is!
It seems daunting and over kill for training your dog, but I promise you that having a plan will allow you to meet those goals that you have. It also helps to see how far you have come when you begin to get frustrated by your progress or lack thereof.
This also helps reduce the amount of time that you are choosing Facebook over your dog.
If you need help developing a training journal that works for you, let me know! Everyone organizes things differently in their brain, so what works for me might not be perfect for you! Together I am sure we can come up with something to get you started!