Video is the hottest tool in dog training, but it can be daunting to put yourself out there. Here are some tips to help you make use of video in your training.
Make Videoing a Habit
You can’t share it if you haven’t filmed it. Make turning on the camera part of your training routine. I like to leave my tripod set up in my home training area, so all I have to do is put my phone in the clip and press record. Tripods that hold a phone or a tablet are easy to find on Amazon, at Walmart, or at Staples.
Get the Whole Picture
Look through the “viewfinder” (that is, look at the screen) to see exactly what area will be in view. I like to mark the edges of my filming area with whatever props I have handy. Cones, jump bars, a chair, whatever. That way, I know when I’m out of the shot as I move around when training. Generally, my camera will see a wider area as distance increases.
Work far enough away from the camera that both the dog and you (your whole body including head and feet) are visible. How will you know whether the dog is cuing on your head motion, unless you can see your head? How will you recognize that you are shifting your feet, if you can’t see your feet? Remember, in dog training videos, no one is looking at you; your viewers are looking at you in relation to the dog.
Video everything. Then, watch it and delete it. Don’t save every video. And don’t share every video. I keep a smattering of videos to track progress: a baseline video from early in training a behavior, behavior breakthroughs as the dog progresses, maybe monthly progress points.
When you do share your video, whether you are showing progress or requesting assistance, we only want to see one or two repetitions of a behavior. Keep videos you post short—20 to 40 seconds is ideal. Your phone includes the ability to trim video. Use it.
Stick It Up
Sharing video requires that you upload it somewhere. Direct uploads to Facebook are simple. Click on the photo/video icon. Use the “What’s on your mind?” prompt to tell viewers what they’re watching.
Alternatively, you can upload your clip to Youtube . Your video will have a Youtube URL; a web address that allows you to share it on Facebook and to embed it into emails. (If you want to get fancy, there’s a wide variety of video editing software out there. Two online editors I like are WeVideo and Vimeo) However, dog training snippet videos don’t need fancy editing.
Stop reading now and go train your dog. I’m looking forward to seeing the video!