During the hurricane season of 2004, Florida endured a phenomenon never before encountered in recorded history. The "Sunshine State" took the brunt of not one, not two, not three, but four major hurricanes! Three of these amazing storms, Hurricanes Charley, Frances, and Jeanne, blew directly through Central Florida and impacted the two animal facilities maintained by Natural Encounters, Inc. (NEI).
Off the Beaten Path
I was sitting in the right seat of a Cessna 172 recently, gazing into the distance while my student worked through his pre-taxi checklist, and I noticed that a beautiful white Cessna 210 on short-final had not extended its landing gear. We were on a ground control frequency, so I keyed the microphone and transmitted an urgent call.
"AIRCRAFT ON FINAL HAS ITS GEAR UP!" The aircraft descended below my line of sight behind a row of low T-hangers. I watched to see if the message made it from the ground controller to the lead controller. Moments later I saw the 210 climbing out and dropping his gear and heard, "Thank you," from the ground controller (I didn't get a 'thank you' from the 210 but he owes me.)
I read Don't Shoot the Dog many years ago and became an immediate fan. It has helped tremendously with training and having fun with our two dogs and one cat. I was also very interested in sections that talked about dealing with people. As a teacher, I implemented some positive reward systems in my classroom. It has been great!
Once again, quite a bit of time has passed since I wrote my last article. I am now an instructor at a small flight school in California. My students are young and not so young, and include college kids, retired executives, some corporate management types, a painter, and the airfield fuel-truck driver. They are bold, they are timid, they are coordinated, they are uncoordinated, they are organized and they are disorganized. Some are too smart for their own good. One or two don't know how talented they really are, laughing while performing difficult tasks that make others freeze with fear. I teach and I watch and I marvel at the complexity of the interaction: the transfer of knowledge and skills from one person to another in the crammed cockpit of a Cessna 152.
Jim and Amy Logan, llama ranchers in Washington State, were among the first to adopt clicker training in the early '90s. They were pioneers in llama applications (one of their videos shows a very nice Obedience llama, including off-lead heeling and a down.) The Logans have made clicker training the standard for training and handling llamas in the US, and are the authors of three delightful videos, well worth study by any clicker trainer, whatever the species.