August 10, 2013
“A Crossover Dog” was a note I originally wrote on facebook several years ago. When dogs are given the opportunity to “color outside the lines” amazing things can happen!
“This morning I got together with a friend to train. She has just recently crossed over into positive reinforcement and clicker training. So now she is in the process of retraining her Dane for Utility. Well, this morning I was helping her break down the “go-out” exercise and I was going to click/treat as the dog made it across the ring.
Well, you could see the fear and stress all over this dog as she approached my end of the ring. She was afraid it was a correction set-up. As soon as she heard the click she continued down to the gate, got the treat and was released. We did it again, and this time she made it almost all the way to the ring gate, c/t and release. The third time she came all the way down to the ring gate, a little faster, and her head a little higher up. C/T and release. This time upon releasing her the dog jumped up in the air, and danced around the ring with her head held high and a big bounce in her step! It was amazing! My friend called her back and sent her one more time. This time she galloped across the ring, touched the ring gate, turned, sat, c/t, jackpot, release and we all danced around the ring!
It was thrilling to see the moment when it all clicked for this girl! We stopped right after that and the Dane pranced out of the building with her head held high. Kudos to her owner for realizing what she had been doing to her dog and making the big step of crossing over!”
February 16, 2013
Joplin turns into a pile of goo.
Joplin loves kids. It isn’t that she doesn’t like adults but if given a choice kids win out every time. It makes me wonder about her life experiences before landing in Cleveland Animal Control. When she first came to me in September she would hit the ground and close her eyes if she saw me even move my arm. It made me cringe. This girl must have been hit.
When she meets an adult she is very timid with a low tail wag, head turned slightly to the side and a occassional lip lick until she knows that they are safe. Then she instantly becomes a lap dog. Yet, when she sees a child she turns into a pile of goo. She wants nothing more than to be with them.
The adults she encountered may have not showed her love but a child certainly did. They are safe. Now to find that perfect family so Joplin can have a child of her own.
For more information on Joplin see Joplin!
July 16, 2012
According to The American Heritage Dictionary “aversive” is an adjective for something “causing avoidance of a thing, situation, or behavior by using an unpleasant or punishing stimulus, as in techniques of behavior modification.”
In other words, when we punish, we have to use something that is aversive to the subject of our punishment. It has to be something they find “unpleasant or punishing”.
So what or who determines what is aversive? The person or animal on the receiving end makes this determination. This is an important point often misunderstood not only by people in general, but even some trainers. Why is this important? Because when you are training any animal everything has a consequence, good or bad. Too often punishment is misunderstood to the detriment of the animal.
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July 9, 2012
We all make associations. Go to a restaurant and find a hair on your plate. What comes to mind the next time you think of that restaurant or even that particular food?
What about the associations we make with a particular smell or food from our past? White Shoulders perfume makes me think of one of my grandmothers. Buckwheat pancakes and Collies make me think of my other grandmother. These are wonderful, feel good associations.
Just as we make associations so do our dogs. Dogs are constantly making associations. It is part of the learning process. Unlike us, where some of our associations can be complicated, dogs tend to make very direct simple associations. Read the rest of this entry »