I’m a pretty big fan of videotaping a portion of your training sessions so that you can use those tapes to help improve your training.

Here’s the first half of a training session for Brito; it’s about six minutes long:

First 1:05 I’m happy with his directed jumping – he appears comfortable with a send out of about 15 feet and he takes his directions consistently.

1:06 – He confuses my request for a glove retrieve with a foot target.  We work through it lightly but I need to revisit that issue.

2:10 Worked on a new type of leather articles and he makes no errors.

3:10 retrieve over high jump – returns around the jump when the dumbbell lands off center.

4:20 – a one minute stretch of formal heeling. He’s forging on left turns and some halts; also forging on the inside corner of the figure eight.

Obviously I could have stopped work and addressed the issues as they came up, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do for this session.  I just wanted to work on a variety of exercises and have some relaxed fun. “Flow” training.  See what we have.

After watching the tape, I see that I need to make a plan to address the three issues that emerged in the above session: 1. retrieve vs. target 2.  return around the high jump and 3. forging in heeling.

My next blog will address one of the issues.

In real life, I rarely sit down and “make a plan.” I’ve been training long enough that I normally have a good idea of how to approach a challenge with any given dog.  But if you are a more novice trainer, you might want to get in the habit of ignoring problems when they happen and just move on.  Evaluate your options later on when you have a little time to think it through.

If you have an opinion about which issue I discuss from the above three options, let me know in the comments!  I’ll pick one for my next training blog, based on your responses.