Recently we ran a poll in the Animal Training Academy (ATA) members only Facebook group asking our members if they film every training session they do? And what their reasons for filming or not filming were?
The benefits of filming your sessions being that you can review your training, pick up on things you might have missed, share with your peers/mentors & gather data to help plan your next approximations. Additionally very helpful if you’re working in a team environment where multiple people are working with an individual learners/animals behaviour.
Learn more about the benefits of filming your training in this previous ATA blog post HERE
Photo Credit: ATA member Talia Duell, Discover Canine (see the Discover Canine FB page here).
Appreciating of course that our animals are always learning & therefore we can do a training session at any time – the question surrounded what I would label as a ‘formal training session.” A formal training session defined as one planned/scheduled in advance & where you intend to spend a specific slot of time modifying antecedents & consequences to help shape, maintain, build fluency and/or build stimulus control of your learners behaviour.
Although I feel like (i.e. in my personal opinion) people understand why you would film your sessions, the results of the poll suggested that a very small percentage of people were actually filming every session. And there were a large amount of reasons why this was the case which included some re-occurring challenges people were facing. So I thought I would list some of these potential challenges & additionally suggest some possible solutions/ideas to help remedy them.
Note: Most importantly you have to find the solution that works best for you and the resources/time you have available.
Challenge #1 Not enough time to review the video
Explanation. Is there any point in filming if you don’t have the time to review?
If your behaviour of reviewing your videos is not happening at a high frequency experiment wth your own antecedents & consequences.
- What is the location where you do the reviews? A comfy couch vs an uncomfortable bar stool?
- Have a cold beer, Glass of wine, Cocktail, Coffee, Tea, crisps etc etc.. I.e. add some favourite food/drinks
- See the FB post below of where ATA member JR Henderson (www.ZenCatsRoc.com) does his reviews.
Photo/post credit: ATA member JR Henderson, Zen Cats Roc.
Challenge #2 Equipment related (cameras, smart phones, tripods & accessories)
Explanation. You might plan a training session away from your home and forget some of your filming equipment. Your gear might be broken or the area you might train in could be outside and SUPER hot and your equipment can’t deal with the temperatures, or maybe to dark and wet? Additionally some say that having equipment set up can really distract them during a training session.
- Make setting up the camera/tripod etc part of your pre session routine!
- For some people this into can be an important antecedent that actually helps them train!
- You can use this time to think about your session. & I know some people who even talk out loud to themselves at this time about exactly what they plan to do.
- Oh and not to mention, if this routine is done regularly it will likely also be something your animal uses (i.e an important antecedent) to help it predict a session is about to start.
- Have a tripod set up in your normal training area – & leave it set up between sessions. This way you only need to come & clip your camera/phone in place.
Challenge #3 Bandwidth/internet challenges
Explanation. For a significant amount of people having the ability to put their videos online is an important motivator for them to film in the first place. For you this could enable you to share your video with peers for feedback and/or so that you can can store the videos online for future reference.
For super fast internet (for example my office internet speed is roughly 1000 mb/s download & 500 mb/s download) you can upload a 2 minute video in about 60 seconds! However with some members they were reporting to me it would literally take about 5-6 hours to upload one video! I can totally see why this would be unmotivating in this case.
Unsure of your internet speed? You can test it here >>> https://www.speedtest.net/
- Use video editing software first to make your videos smaller before uploading (for example iMovie’s for apple, or movie maker for windows)
- Plug your computer (if this is what you are using to upload videos) into your modem rather then using wifi. This is called using a Ethernet connection.
- Buy a new modem. Often the modems we have at home are the free ones provided by our internet service providers (ISP) & these often pail in comparison to what you can buy in your local electronics store.
- Upload straight from your phone to the internet (assuming you are using your phone to film?)
Challenge #4 Videoing/creating/sharing video is a task which places you in a space of vulnerability.
Explanation: Videoing one’s training and either sharing it or even watching it back yourself does mean you open yourself up for feedback and sometimes that feedback doesn’t always feel great! Consequently I am under no illusion that for a lot of people filming takes courage and can for that reason be quite a challenging endeavour!
- There are numerous ways I have managed to film in the past that means the main bulk of myself is not included in the frame! This can possible be a great first approximation for some!
- To achieve this you might strap a go-pro to your head so it’s only filming your animal
- You might set a tripod up low to the ground so it only films your legs and your animal (assuming the species you are training & the behaviour you are working on are ones that this particular strategy might work for)!
- It can help to know even thought leaders in our industry have to manage venerability & courage. Hear Ken Ramirez talk about this on a recent ATA podcast episode here >>> https://bit.ly/ATA_Ken-Ramirez
Of course filming your training isn’t the only way of reviewing your training & some would rather take notes instead. As mentioned above you have to find the solution that best works for you as an individual.
I hope this has been beneficial to you? I would love to hear form you and you can leave your comments below
Animal Training Academy
P.s. For me training is SO much more then just being in front of our learners with our reinforcers! In fact this is just a very small part of what I would label as being a successful trainer. In my personal opinion what’s even more important is developing processes for both reviewing & planning your sessions!
This is where the ATA membership can really help take your animal training to the next level! Our content library dating back 3.5 years of monthly live class replays paired with our community areas means you will get all of the support you will ever need!
Don’t believe me? Check out what our members are saying below…
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