A couple months ago, I put out a Facebook post asking folks what their training struggles were and MANY folks put “time” as their answer. At that time, I had promised a blog post about “white boarding”. Well, I got side tracked and didn’t get back to it, so here we go.
Time gets away from all of us and it takes dedication and a little organizing to achieve our goals. Many handlers have multiple dogs and multiple sports that they are training for. This means that training needs to be efficient as we have limited time to train our dogs.
I think Hannah Branigan said it best
“With limited time to train, I want to put deposits into the most important behaviors”.
Which means make your time matter and make sure you are working toward your goals. The easiest way to do this is to write it down.
White boarding starts with a piece of paper, tablet app or computer processing software.
First write down the following:
- Identify your goals
- Break down your list of goals into single behaviors
- Choose just one or a few of those behaviors and break them down into tiny steps
For Instance, one of the things I need to retrain is Drama’s stay. He will stay in certain situations and in other situations he will not say. I have clearly not trained all the steps to build enough reinforcement history for a “stay” with duration. I will need to write down the steps to generalize his stay and then I will write down the steps to build duration.
Get a white board
- Write down 3 behaviors in the order that you want to train them (things that need to be trained from scratch).
- Write down 3 behaviors that your dog needs to improve on (behaviors on cue that maybe need sharpened up in some way – latency, duration etc.).
- Write down 3 behaviors you want to practice during the week, they are behaviors that your dog already knows.
When you have time to train, go to your white board and pick either training a new behavior, improving a behavior that is on cue, or practicing a known behavior. Go to your write up to see what steps need to be taken and when you are done, make note of where you left off. I now use a training journal which I have found to be invaluable in keeping track of the good, the bad, the ugly and celebrating the small steps forward.
I hope this post helps some of you identify and break down the behaviors needed and always help you train towards a goal.