Friday, April 11, 2014

J is for Journaling

J is for JOURNALING. One of the hardest things for me to do! It's well known that logging performance is one of the keys to continual growth and progress, whether it's a fitness program or dog training :). Journals serve as motivators, record books, training guides, organizational tools, and reminders of why you are involved in training for when the going gets tough.

Get the journal out

I am actually horrible about journaling my dog's training. I am striving to be more consistent and have started using it daily (even when I don't train!) in order to get into the habit. Once it becomes a habit it will be much easier :). Here are a few steps I took to start incorporating a training journal:

  1. Create your journal or pick up a notebook and designate it as your training journal. It doesn't have to be a hardcopy notebook, it can be an Excel spreadsheet, but it should be easily accessible and comfortable for you to use.
    This is a notebook I picked up
    for my journaling!
  2. Decide what information you are going to record. The basics should include the date, what you did, where you were at, and how long you spent on it. I also like to include the type of rewards, what distractions were present, and any additional thoughts or observations I might have add. I'm always thinking of something and trying to get myself to remember it for later - that never works :) but now I write it down!
  3. Keep your journal where you see it :). Seriously, this does help. Having something right in front of your face is a great reminder that it should get done.
  4. Make it a habit. Don't skip a day, because you'll forget about important details and no matter how much you promise to yourself that you will make it up, you won't. The farther behind you get, the harder it is to get started again. It can be a chore but the benefits are huge :).

It's journal time

In the beginning your journal will be like a guidebook to help you remember what you did last session and help provide structure to your training sessions. As you progress, it'll become a motivating source when things don't go as planned - you can go back to the beginning and see how far you've come. Rereading history helps put current challenges into perspective :). It's much easier to see how far you've come when it's on paper in front of you! So go get started :).

No matter your training goal, a journal will help you achieve your training goals. So create and get into the habit of recording (and then don't get out!).


  1. I started a jounal a few years ago, but wrote very little in it. What you say makes sense, capture the moments and your thoughts in a proper format. It's really a good way to monitor and improve your writing abilities. Thank you for sharing this. AtoZer @

    1. I've found a journal to be super helpful in seeing how far you've come since the beginning and also for fine tuning ideas. Nothing becomes more clear than seeing it all down on paper!

  2. I used to journal all the time (about myself). Today, it's my blog and what I love about blogging. I have loads of journals and I use those for blogging notes and plans. It's very helpful. Thanks to this post, I'll pull a new one out and use it for Rodrigo's training. We're going to start working on desensitization soon.

    1. Ah, yes a journal for desensitization will be very helpful! And since you are already used to journaling, it should be fairly easy for you to keep up the habit :).