My Latest New Habit

Posted on 03/31/10 9 Comments

I have always been driven by the need to improve; myself, my dogs, my students, the world, whatever. Recent I have taken up a new habit which I would like to share because it has been a good one for me.  On and off in my life I have written in a journal. More recently I have been doing it regularly. I have many journals actually.  I have one journal for my dog training, another one for my workouts, now John and I share one for things we need to finish in the house but I am talking about my main journal here. The one I write everything else in.

I take it with me everywhere I go. I write notes about anything from what I am feeling after a meditation session to what new project I want to work on next. To things I want to blog about.  I write anything and everything in this journal.  But this is my latest new habit is;  after I teach a seminar I ask myself this question; “What did I learn this weekend?”  I write down everything that comes to my head. It may be dog training related it may not, but I have got to tell you it is a powerful exercise that I am absolutely thrilled by. So far I only do it after teaching a multi day seminar but I am thinking of adopting it for classes as well. I am find it massively beneficial on many many levels.

It doesn’t matter if you just taught a great class or one where the results were not as you hoped, if you ask the question, you will get an answer.

Just because we are teaching doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be learning from the experience.  For the really good dog trainers out there, this is what happens to you when you train.  You are giving information to the animal and that animal is giving you information in return. As I mentioned in The Journey when we receive these lessons we will grow. I know I have always learned from my experiences when I teach but now I am sitting quitely and asking myself exactly what I learned and writing down the answers. Wow, scary powerful stuff.  Ask yourself questions and trust me, you will get answers. That it why people like Tony Robbins warn about being careful of the questions you ask yourself. For example if you ask yourself “why can’t I ever lose weight?” you brain will give you a list of reasons why, thus supporting the fact that you will never be able to lose weight.

Ok, last two post may have been a bit out there for some of you, but if they are, you are not alone . .  John thinks I am certifiable:)

I thought I would add more pics here of my trip to Italy, I couldn’t seem to upload them last week so enjoy.

The agility field from my recent trip to Italy

School/housing facility in Italy.

Class room area of school

Today I am grateful for forming new habits.


  1. mtrebino says:
    Sunday, April 18, 2010 at 4:49pm

    I am RE-reading is there such a word as RE…your book and in it you talk about changing the habit very early on in training. I am interested in making sure I have this right as I have always trained a behavior in my back yard till it is “almost fluid” and then I take it on the road..With twist my worry dog I am wondering if changing the location would have made a difference..Of course with my new puppy I want to do everything right..well I want to at least not make the same mistakes.. so we get a behavior and then as soon as we have it start taking it to new places..the part I am refering to is where you teach Buzz the go out around a garbage can and then at a park you do a tree etc. thanks margie


  2. Valerie says:
    Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 12:38pm

    Not quite the same as keeping a journal, but I did find that on the one occasion in my life that I wrote down my goal and the steps I needed to take to achieve it, it did keep me on track and I achieved exactly what i had set out to do!


  3. Kari says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:37pm

    Great question to ask! I am a trainer by profession, with people, though. We have evaluators evaluate every session as a way to help us grow as trainers. There is always a question for the evaluator to answer — what did they learn. I like the idea of anwering myself when I train. You are so rigth, you always learn something. I am going to start answering that question as well.


  4. Wendy A says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 1:16pm

    Hmm. Ok, I’m going to fan the flames. I personally have found that keeping a diary/journal/training log to be tremendously helpful in achieving my goals. By the act itself, I am forced to really think about what I had hoped would happen, what I did or didn’t do to get there, what worked and what didn’t and more importantly to think about alternatives that might lead to success the next time. There’s something very powerful in the act of not just thinking about it, but having to organize those thoughts into words/diagrams and WRITE/TYPE them out. I also just can’t remember everything anymore – I’ve entered the “post-it” note phase of life. I review and update my journals frequently, as the success achieved from this process is highly addictive.
    If nothing else, those that believe that the journalling (is that even a word?) process was not helpful – I would argue you missed the point. You have a record of what didn’t work previously, why do you persist in the belief that doing the same thing since then will cause a different outcome now?


  5. Jo Ussery says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 12:45pm

    Sorry Susan but I agree with John about your latest blogs. Also a story. a friend of mine that faithly kept journals for 3 years then tapered off. She found those very detailed journals 8 years later & found that nothing had changed in her life! Her thoughts & feelings were the same so she laughs when these self-improvers or change your lifers say write down everything as it will change your life. I found the same thing with myself although I did not keep journaling for as long as she did. I do keep a dog journal (since last year as I am new to agility) & just from last year I see myself doing some of the same mistakes even now & writing some handling notes that I got last year & still need to change. Am I better than last year? I know so, but what we are not consious of or particularly good at needs special attention & many reminders. Jo


  6. Kathy says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 10:58am

    I write three pages every am which clears my head of a lot of little things that get in the way of creativity.
    Thanks for the pics of Italy-I love seeing training facilities from other countries.


  7. Kelly says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 9:17am

    I’ve been doing pretty well with my training journal lately, but this will be a good question to incorporate at the end of each session’s entry — thanks!

    And I’m really happy to hear Buzzy’s feeling better.


    • China says:
      Friday, April 22, 2011 at 3:26am

      Kewl you should come up with that. Ecxelnelt!


  8. Karen M says:
    Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 8:05am

    “What did I learn?” I have always been in the habit of asking myself this, no matter what type of training session-even if it was something that I would never try again (i.e. on one occassion, something that definitely didn’t work for me and my dog at the time.)


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