is probably the most overlooked tool in the average trainer's toolbox.
It's also probably one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal
-- perhaps even more powerful than the clicker! Records are objective.
Keeping a record of your training will help you know exactly what you've
trained and exactly how your dog is performing.
for training records include:
- Session start
and end times (or duration of session).
criterion for the session.
- Number of
responses/Number of errors.
have to be a time-intensive process. Although taking the time to record
your data between sessions does take away from your training time, using
the information to evaluate your last session and plan your next, enables
you to make your training incredibly efficient. Ultimately, you will
progress faster because you won't waste time doing too many reps at
one level or backing up because you progressed when you shouldn't have.
The record sheet
I use looks essentially like this table:
The specific aspect you're training in this session. For example,
½ second of eye contact. The criterion determines when you click.
is simple: You click when you achieve the criteria. If your criterion
is ½ second of eye contact, you click after ½ second of eye contact.
If the criterion is 5 seconds of eye contact, you click after 5
In addition to the session criterion, I, personally, make notes
in the criterion field. I might note an unexpected distraction,
the session duration, or my observations about the rate of emitted
Number of repetitions/Number of errors.
repetitions and errors? Comparing the ratio of repetitions to errors
gives you an objective way to determine the reliability of a behavior.
When training a behavior, strive for 80% reliability at a criterion
before making it harder.
If you work
in sets of either 5 or 10 reps, it's easy to tell when you've reached
80% reliability. Use the following guide:
- In a
5 rep session, 4 out of 5 correct equals 80%. If you make 2 or
more errors, stay at the same criterion.
- In a
10 rep session, 8 out of 10 correct equals 80%. If you make 3
or more errors, stay at the same criterion.
If you'd like
to use the record sheet I use, I saved one in rich-text format here.
Save it to your hard drive and make copies.
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Owner: Melissa Alexander, mca @ clickersolutions.com