Since our more serious training have been put on hold the last few months, and we just walked in the forest and played around for fun, we had to get our shit together – and we’re now back on track with our training again. It’s so much fun, and I’m really enjoing my fantastic working dogs. We’ve a new set of goals; Härja has a BH-test in a few weeks and Ninya is entering the Swedish tracking program, and of course we continue to compete FCI obedience.
With our new goals and since we’ve signed up for some competitions, we have no longer the time to play catch and play around – we have to plan, get structure and make sure to evolve our skills! I love having a goal, create a plan and be able to measure and see our development. I’ve always been one of those who thinks that it’s hard to plan our training, where do you begin and what’s important to include to make it an effective tool to make us move forward and get better? After many years as a dogtrainer I’ve found a few tricks and ways of doing it that I find to be good – but I can always be better and most of all more consistent, to always plan our training and never let a session go to waste, without a purpose (“have fun” can be a purpose, it’s not dead serious, ok?). But I think that it’s important to have an overview so we’re not stuck in the trap of rewarding the same things, that our dog already know, and never work on our weaknesses or move forward.
When I’m writing a plan from scratch I’m usually takes the dog out and go through the class we’re supposed to compete next time we’re competing, whenever that is. After this session I’m making a list of the good parts, and the things that we need to work on. Every part of the program. This list of things that we need to work on makes a lil’ buffet to choose from when you’re planning your next session. Pick parts from the list, and work on you weaknesses. When you’re done with a training session, always make a list of the things you have to work more at, according to the session you just had. When you’re doing this, you’re always basing your next session on the one you just had, and your plans keep following your development. Occasionally I’ll go out and go though the whole program again, evaluates the session, compare the list to the one from last time we did the whole program – and makes a new list of things to work on.
This way to structure my training has been very clear and easy for me. I’m always up to date with our weaknesses and we’re keeping track of new things that might appear. And every once in a while, we’ll check how our work is going by going through the whole program. With two dogs, three sports and a bit of a confused brain it’s easy for me to forget new thoughts, problems or soulutions if I’m not writing it down and actually includes it in my next session. And who has the time for a novel every time you’ve been training your dogs? A list of things to think of, work on and take with us is the perfect middle ground.
We’re currently trying to train 5 days a week, at least 3 tracks a week (one of our goals for 2017 is to track 100 tracks!) and keep our development going. I’m also going to put some extra time on training with others, and in new environments – preferably with a lot of dogs, to secure their ability to work whenever and make them strong in every situation.
It’s time to become our best possible shape, this year is filled with competitions and adventures – we’re pumped!!