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Keeping Training Records

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Excerpted from Click for Joy: Questions and Answers from Clicker Trainers and their Dogs by Melissa Alexander, an unparalleled guide to the concepts of clicker training. Melissa is also the moderator of ClickerSolutions, an online discussion forum.

Q: Should I keep records of my training sessions?

note pad

A: Keeping a record of your training will help you know exactly what you've trained and exactly how your dog is performing. Keeping records can only help you. If something isn't working, a record lets you go back and figure out why. It helps you see, objectively, what's happening.

Suggested fields for training records include:

  • behavior being trained
  • date
  • session start and end times
  • specific criteria for the session
  • number of responses/number of errors
  • notes

Although recording your data between sessions does take time, using that information to evaluate your last session and plan your next one enables you to make your training more efficient. In particular it helps prevent you from spending either too much or too little time on any one criterion as you work with your dog to perfect a behavior.

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