Nothing will be more important to your dog training success than keeping a good log. It will be your reference for years to come. This log will prove invaluable in providing you with short cuts and reference material. If kept right, it can cut weeks off your training time. The big three ring five subject binders with the pocket folders in them seem to work the best. Get one binder for each dog you train. Make headings on the pocket folders. Some suggestions – yard work, live bird training, gun training and retrieval. Then put the appropriate information in that section of the notebook.
Keep expenditure information in the folders. It can come in handy to know what you have spent on each dog. Yes, dog training does cost money. The receipts in the folders can help you find places you may be able to cut costs. If you are doing this for a living, the receipt will be handy for tax purposes. You need to keep several small pads that will fit in your pocket. Put the name of each dog on the front if you are training more than one. As the day's events unfold make notes in the pad. Transfer these notes into your log binder at the end of the day. Keep this log in a safe place. As the years go by, you will see how valuable it is.
When you are out in the field jot down everything you think is important and then some. Did the dog do good or bad on this part of his training? Did you, as a dog trainer, do good or bad? Keep track of not only the dogs' performance, but the trainers as well. Was there something that upset your dog during the day? If mistakes were made, what can you do next time to correct them? You are probably thinking, "I am trying to train a dog here. I do not have time to write all this down." There should be breaks in any dog training session. Use this time to write your notes. Develop a kind of short hand for certain versions. It is really easier than you think.
The day is done the dog taken care of and put in the kennel. Now is the time to transfer your notes to your big log. Do not say, "Oh, I can do that tomorrow". While it is still fresh in your mind is the time for updates. You will be surprised what you will forget overnight. That shorthand might not make as much sense tomorrow. You may even remember a few things you did not jot down.
If you have a computer, and everyone sees to these days, copy your loose-leaf log into Word or Notepad and save a copy to a disk for backup. It can not be stressed enough how important this log will be to your dog training efforts. It contains what worked and what did not. It will make starting a new dog and new dog training session that much easier.
You will, over time, develop your own style and methods for keeping this log. This article just provides you with the idea and basics. Nothing is too silly or trivial to include in your log. Things that seem trivial may prove important in the end. Good luck and may all your dog-training efforts produce champions.