oh my auggie

Training Journal

Since joining Recallers 3.0, I’ve tried to get into the habit of record keeping my training sessions.
I am terrible at it. I have failed pretty gloriously at record keeping. I was GREAT for about the first week of Recallers. Then that was the end of that… whoops.

I do have training notebooks, several of them, all over the place. Inside of these notebooks are notes I take when I’ve watched training DVDs or webinars or whatever. I jot down lists of tricks I would like to train, make notes on what we need to work on, figure out game plans for training large tasks like jumping skills. I think it’s pretty clear how bad my record keeping skills are just based on the fact that I have multiple training notebooks instead of actually having everything just collected in one notebook.
I mentioned my training notebook on a dog forum I belong to and another poster asked what my training notebook was like. “Not very well organized” was part of my answer. I thought the thread might spawn more people giving input on what they have for record keeping and what all they write down, but nobody else piped up about their training notebook. Maybe it’s a rare quality – maybe very few people record keep. I suppose I’m not alone in my disorganization, but realistically, it’s a GOOD thing to do. Why don’t more people record keep?

Regardless, a group of us who have access to Recallers through the end of March (or some who have access for even longer) have decided to work our way back through the course lessons from the beginning. The Re-Doers, we are so dubbed! So I have decided to re-do my attempt at record keeping.

It’s currently the beginning of week two (not counting the first week of re-working what is called Critical Core and are more just games that become part of your everyday life; most of these are in fact games I already played as part of our everyday life anyway.) I didn’t actually write down my training notes for Monday yesterday. I remembered to grab my journal and brought it to work with me to put notes in this morning. NOT ideal… I’m sure there are things that I thought about writing down last night while working with the dogs that I have forgotten by this point.
However, in the interest of accountability, and in the interest of showing a little bit more of what I have in my training notebook, I decided to post what I wrote down from yesterday’s training sessions.

2/6 –
Crate Games – Progress with Payton sitting faster. Still need to play the games more to help him out. Closed the door on Payton breaking sit and he didn’t lock down again.

RZ – Tried this with chicken. Auggie tried to bite my fingers off. IYC fail. Payton seems to get it at first, then I realize it’s just a fluke. Need to do more!!

Hand touches – Also tried with chicken. Chicken was too messy and shredded to work well. Getting solid repeated touches from Payton. Criteria is for two hard nose touches in a row. Shredded chicken remnants were apparently teaching Auggie I want him to lick my hand… not what I want. Put the chicken away.

Not exactly the most organized of note taking, but this is the format I’ve decided on. Essentially, I’m just journaling. The name of the game we played, what worked, what didn’t work, what I need to do to fix it. This is what works for me. Other people might use a different format, far more structured – I do sometimes take structured notes if our activity calls for it (I have a whole page where I charted behaviours out for latency) but being far more relaxed about it by jotting down these notes is how I will take most of my notes. The other major problem I see with my journals is how frequently I focus on “what went wrong” and how rarely I focus on “what went right.” I’m trying to write with a far more positive perspective these days. It’s a hard habit to break since I tend to look at things as a problem solver… this didn’t work, so how can I fix it? The problem solving IS an important part of training, but when I read my notes back, it just sounds really negative. And I believe that the language we use with our dogs and when thinking of our dogs and their training affects our thinking and affects our relationship with them.
Therefore, time to be more positive.

I made some shredded chicken last week because poor Payton was having serious poop problems and fasted him, then put him on antibiotics and a chicken and rice mixture. I haven’t done treats with him – he only got back on full dog food Sunday – and am hesitant to do anything that might aggravate his poor belly again. We didn’t do much training last week because I couldn’t use treats, and what I wanted to work on I didn’t feel could be done with a toy reward as well, but I have extra chicken leftover and wanted to use it to train with. But the chicken just wasn’t working well for the hand touches, so I think I will have to get back to the dog treats. He finishes his antibiotics Wednesday, so hopefully his stomach is back and in balance again anyway. If not… I guess I’m about to find out!
Also, Auggie really needs to learn better self-control, especially when he’s super excited during training (read: just about any time food is present during training.) He is good about being gentle for a few rewards, and then CHOMP! Bites my fingers again. Sigh. It’s a work in progress, as always. Chicken is FAR too high value to be giving him right now if I expect to keep my fingers. We need to work up to him not getting really excited and biting my fingers off for plain old treats before I try chicken…

…see? Negative. I just keep doing it!

Leave a Reply