I’m in the process of packing up to move house (yes, it looks like it may be happening at long last!) and found a diary I had kept a few years ago, it wasn’t about me though, it was about Amos, my dog. Amos used to have a few ‘struggles’, which we have worked hard to overcome over the years. He is a much happier version the dog he was, but because things are going so well I tend to forget the ‘dark days’. The diary I found reminded me just how far we have come.
One of the things I advise clients to do is keep a little diary, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a simple notebook will do. Jotting down things that have gone well during training, (or maybe not so well) allow us to look back and see improvements. As a behaviourist I see the positive changes that have taken place between visits, but, when we live with our dogs day in and day out we sometimes don’t, a diary helps us remember.
There may be other benefits as well, I was talking with a client a few days ago who I had tasked with writing a diary, not only did he see the changes in his dogs behaviour, but he was also able to see how much more time he was spending with, and enjoying his dog’s company. Not only was the training helping, but the time spent together was helping strengthen their bond.
These things tend to come in 3’s which is what prompted this post, I also got an email yesterday from another client who I had worked with on reactivity, there have been huge changes in their dogs behaviour, (thanks to her owners and her hard work), but he reminded me of the first time we had met, and how she couldn’t cope with a dog spotted in the distance (she now quite happily trots by while focusing on her owner).
Diaries don’t have to be just for behaviour ‘problems’, tracking things such as loose lead walking progress or recall ‘wins’ is just as important.
Have a go and see what changes you can identify, there are lots of dog training journals available on amazon or just grab a little book, write down what you would like to achieve and keep a little tracker you will be amazed at how quickly you see changes.