Keep a record of your training sessions

Right at the time we got Loki, I signed up for the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Professional Dog Training program; it was a six month program with four weekend workshops.  I signed up and naively wondered why it would take six months to learn how to train dogs!  Well it is five years later and learning about dogs, learning to train dogs and learning to teach people how to train their dogs has become a lifelong obsession.

During the KPA training, they constantly emphasized the importance of keeping a training log.  I tried different methods during the class but didn’t stick with any of them.  I signed up for Susan Garrett’s Recallers program.  She has a simple way to track your training.  I liked noting what went well and what needed work but I was still inconsistent in journaling my training sessions.

The biggest hurdle to consistent training was that I didn’t do any pre-planning prior to a training session.  6:00pm would come along (the time I generally set aside for training) and I found myself looking at my dogs thinking what should I train??  I usually ended up doing a spontaneous session working on whatever came to mind and not always making much progress.

Just recently, I came across a video by Hannah Brannigan reviewing the method she uses to track her training.  I downloaded her e-book because components of her method were similar to what I was experimenting with and so far so good!

What I have found really helpful is spending time at least one night a week completing the session sheets.  I fill out 5 – 10 of the sheets thinking about what I would like to train over the next one to two weeks.  Now when I want to train, I go to my first available sheet and there is my plan for the session all laid out. It has made fitting training sessions into my day much easier.

Once I have completed a training session, I make a few notes (including what went well and what may needed work), record what was trained in the monthly overview and I am done.

My next post will give you the first glimpse into one of my training sessions with my dogs.

Thanks for reading and happy training.

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