Even when you’re a dog trainer, it helps to have a plan and a second pair of eyes to check it over.
This Sunday Clare and I swapped some brain time to help each other out, and used the 12 Week Year model to design training plans for our own dogs.
In case I haven’t already raved at you about this model, in brief here’s how it works:
Principles of the 12 Week Year as adapted for Behaviour Modification/Training
Look at the big picture, what’s your vision for the future? Why does it matter, anchor that vision in a positive emotion. This might be a long term aspirational vision
Now get specific – what will this look like in three years?
And break it down further – what would be a stretch but doable goal within 12 weeks?
- Specific, measurable
- Positive statement
- Realistic but still requires effort
- Set accountability and measure your actions
What are the “tactics” that will get you to achieve this goal? These will become the actions we put into a plan. Some will be one-off activities, others will be repeating. For behaviour change we’re often looking at frequent repeated sessions.
Build these into the 12 week plan – what needs to happen every week, how often, when, where etc. Deadlines and due dates. This isn’t about measuring success so much as tracking implementation!
Discuss what actions are likely to be most challenging, where might the blocks appear and what strategies can we use to overcome them.
(and yes, Clare does tend to call these “Morag years”)
What we're working on:
Clare is working with Scout so he can accept and enjoy more handling and husbandry with other people.
I’m working on Laird choosing to give stuff up, and coming away from disgusting things BEFORE he eats them. I know, you’re really surprised to read that right?!
So we’ve set our big focus – the thing we really want to be different, and talked about why it’s important for both us and our dogs.
Then we broke it down into the component parts. What are the small pieces that make up the big picture? How often do we need to practice each thing? How will we know when to move forwards?
Here’s an example of how I use the model for myself and my dogs – this record sheet was from earlier in the year when Freya was learning to love the van again. I had targets each day to meet.
The joy of the 12 Week Year model is that it pushes you into setting concrete tasks, and regularly implementing them.
We’re not judging our progress based on results (we can’t control those). Instead we’re focused on regularly doing the important tasks, and making those targets.
There’s planned review time each week (are we on track, what’s been difficult this week, what do we need to change for next week), and at the end of the “12 Week Year”. Take a break, celebrate, and then do it all again!
Let me know if you decide to try it for yourself, and there’s some great resources in the book itself too.
Have a good week!
Morag and the beasts
What’s going on in WCC Land from October?
Our 3 week intensive classes working on JUST recall OR loose lead walking) have been super popular! We’ve now added dates for the rest of the year with new blocks starting October 8th, then Oct 29th and Nov 26th (only TWO places available per course)
Not sure if it's the course for you - message me :-)
Dark nights don’t have to mean boring walks or leaving your dog at home while you head to the gym. Why not try Canicross – running with your dog – to work on your fitness and teamwork.
You DON’T need to be a runner, or particularly fit to start with! In fact it’s often better to start before you get super fit.
Tuesday evening classes from 16th October (7pm), we can fit and lend you the kit. Small groups with two qualified running coaches and fitness appropriate sessions around York.
Book a couple of sessions now to try it out (newbies MUST book week 1 or discuss with us)
OR book the whole block using coupon COMMITEDCANI-X to get one session free!