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Dogpages encourages owners to learn the skills to train their dogs with modern non-coercive methods and not to train with pain. Posts and advice given must reflect this policy.

For serious problems, owners should always seek good professional advice.

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> How Do You Keep On Track?
Bunter1
post 6th Mar 2012, 12:53 pm
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QUOTE(mum24dog @ 6th Mar 2012, 12:18 pm) *

That's a shame. We always tell people it takes as long as it takes so they don't feel that they have to be ready for a specified date (usually when the dog is 18 months old).

Bella and I have an exam we need to pass yikes.gif

QUOTE(mum24dog @ 6th Mar 2012, 12:18 pm) *

But don't you find the realisation that you have made great progress dawns on you at some point whether you have a plan or not?

I don't see breaking things down as a plan - just part and parcel of all training.

Yes it does dawn on you, but sometimes I think it's easy to become complacent and so not put the effort in.

No it's not the be all and end all and certainly any targets need to be realistic else everyone gets demoralised err.gif I also think there is sometimes a tendency to try to move things along too quickly. Less likely I think with a plan smile.gif
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rosiemongrel
post 6th Mar 2012, 1:30 pm
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I didn't use to make plans, and still don't record keep consistently. But I think it makes perfect sense, not because I'm especially goal-oriented, but because it's kinder to the dog, and fairer.

If one did keep track of the number of repetitions of a particular behaviour, the reward used, and the dog's success rate (4/10, 2/10, 8/10), and all that kind of thing, then one would be able to see very clearly where one was going wrong, and what one would have to change to get it right, thereby reducing trainer (and dog) frustration. Jean Donaldson's Train your dog like a pro breaks record-keeping down into a very simple formula, which makes total sense. I have also seen a copy of a training diary that Susan Garrett kept for one of her dogs recently, and it made it VERY clear indeed what was working and what was not. For her, speed of results is very important, for me, it does not matter much. But I do think that when I used to just plug away at a particular behaviour for months and months, it was probably not fair on the dog sad.gif . Criteria would be inconsistent and not clearly-thought out (e.g. changing the setting too often / too quickly, placement of rewards would be different in different sessions, some days there'd be lots of distraction, like another dog in the room, or the hoover being on or whatever, and other times they were not). I have recently come to think that a more 'scientific' (for want of a better word), rather than my haphazard approach might be more ethical because it is easier for the dog to succeed, which in turn makes training more fun. It also forces you to abandon a particular approach if it hasn't brought any results after a certain number of trials, and to rethink your approach. If I think back to how frustrated Rosie used to get when I tried to teach her the Stand behaviour, I feel very sad. It was not her that was the problem, it was my technique. I have now taught Pip a Stand in probably less than 10 minutes using Susan Garrett's method. Pip has loved every one of those 10 minutes, whereas my incompetent attempts at teaching Rosie the Stand left us both underwhelmed. If I'd kept proper records, I would have been forced to see in black and white that my approach was not working, and I'd have been forced to rethink. I think that would have been kinder to Rosie, who was made utterly confused by my cackhandedness.

So I have now got a lovely little notebook specifically for record-keeping. It is personalised with some of my favourite B & P photos on the cover wub.gif , and it is nice and easy to use. I feel that it is better for me to be able to step back and evaluate the logic of what I'm doing, and fairer on the dog. It's probably better in terms of getting results, too, but I'm not too fussed about that.
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riotous_uk
post 6th Mar 2012, 2:14 pm
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Good post Rosiemongrel and I totally agree about recording success rates and reinforcements rates making it easier for the dog (and the handler), and that is what I meant by setting targets and drawing up plans. I don't set time targets as in this has to be done by such and such a date, but there are progression targets within my plans.

It is much easier to go from A to B when you have a clear roadmap of where you are going, and makes it easier to progress even if you have to take a few detours on route.
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mum24dog
post 6th Mar 2012, 2:16 pm
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I'm a compulsive list maker but I still don't do it in connection with training.

All the reasons given for doing it should be a constant process of recognising what is working, what isn't working atm but has a good chance of producing results if stuck to for longer, and what is unlikely to work however long you give it.

Question, question, question all the time. How am I going to go about this? Why did that work? Why didn't it? What did I do? What didn't I do? What was happening at the time?

And most important of all - am I asking too much of this dog?

If I worked in a more regimented way by writing everything down I would feel that the whole thing was becoming mechanical - an academic exercise rather than an interaction between two living species. But obviously not everyone approaches tasks or views them in the same way.

My "plan" with my friend's dog Dilys was a joke. My original aim was to have her ready to compete in Agility by last October but life took over and it didn't happen. But the most important factor was that she wasn't ready. She's showing slight signs of maturity now so I'm having another go. If I'd written my plan down with targets to achieve we'd probably have plugged away for longer at the time and neither of us would have been happy.
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riotous_uk
post 6th Mar 2012, 3:59 pm
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but training plans are flexible Pam, that is the whole point of them. There are not set in tablets of stone, tehy evolve and adapt to the dog the situation and a whole host of other things, but they do provide logial steps from A to B even if you then have to add in steps C-G to achieve the end goal.
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mum24dog
post 6th Mar 2012, 4:24 pm
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QUOTE(riotous_uk @ 6th Mar 2012, 3:59 pm) *

but training plans are flexible Pam, that is the whole point of them. There are not set in tablets of stone, tehy evolve and adapt to the dog the situation and a whole host of other things, but they do provide logial steps from A to B even if you then have to add in steps C-G to achieve the end goal.


I keep the logic in my head and don't feel the need to write it down. Others work differently. Neither way is right or wrong.

I have more than enough paperwork in my life as it is. My paid and voluntary work revolve around it and I'm not inclined to add to it.

I'm generally a very methodical person but writing down a training plan would be a step too far for me.
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