Using Diaries

09/02/2022

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USING DIARIES

Keeping a diary about your dog and your life together can be a really important part of making progress. This is especially useful at the start of your journey, when something has changed or deteriorated or when you reach a point where you need to review.

Your diary gives you accurate, detailed information about what is happening with you and your dog. This information can show connections between different aspects of your dog’s life. For example, if your dog becomes more reactive after eating, your diary will tell you and this can help identify secondary triggers such as allergies.

Your diary is also important as a way of documenting the progress you are making so you can celebrate your wins. And it allows you to communicate much more effectively with your trainer and other professionals.

So what do you record in your diary? Initially note down everything you can think of – it is better to write more than you think you need than to find critical information missing. You can always cut back on detail later!

Record your dog’s sleep patterns – where, how often, and how deeply are they sleeping? What choices do they make about sleep?

Record their eating and drinking habits. What do they eat and when? Note the time and be specific about the type of food and protein source. How much do they drink and how often? Also make a note of when they toilet and other indicators of health such as ease of movement.

Note how your dog plays and interacts with you and others. How much are they playing and are there specific times they choose to play more or less? If play is decreasing or slowing down then it may indicate discomfort.

Keep track of exercise and outings including what types of activities your dog is doing – especially if they are things that are exciting or concerning for them. Note down when your dog is tired afterwards as this may influence their behaviour later.

It is also important to jot down external factors that might influence your dog such as the weather. Heat, wind and rain can all have an impact on behaviour.

Don’t forget to also keep track of your own mood as this can influence your dog. Are you having a good day or a not so good one? Are you feeling pressure from elsewhere, such as work or family, which is influencing your responses?

This may seem like a lot of information but it can be easy to note down on a simple form. You will quickly find the benefits make the effort worthwhile as you learn so much more about your dog that will support you both on your journey.

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