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Clicker Digest

Working with Blind Students

On the ClickerSolutions and Blind and Vision-Impaired Clicker Training mailing lists last week, a member presented a problem. She had a blind handler beginning one of her classes, and she wasn't sure how to help him succeed with clicker training. She gathered a fabulous list of tips, including:

Get Me a Drink!

As a surprise for her husband, a list member wanted to teach their dog to retrieve a cold drink from the refrigerator. She was concerned that her dog wouldn't want to pick up the cold metal and asked the list for ideas. The list responded enthusiastically both with success stories from people whose dogs didn't mind picking up cold cans and with suggestions such as a foam insulating cover for the can and a cardboard six-pack carrier with just one drink in it.

Should You "Jackpot" Outstanding Responses?

Do jackpots convey any additional information? That's what one list member of the OC-Assist-Dogs mailing list wanted to know. A jackpot is an extra special reward meant to tell the dog, "That was outstanding!!" It's usually an extra big treat or several smaller treats delivered one after another.

Training is Serious Business!

A one-year-old golden retriever had a solid retrieve a few months ago, but lately he has been letting the dummy slip from his mouth and hasn't been returning directly to his trainer. His trainer believes he is stressed by the training but is unsure how to fix this problem.

Feisty dog? Relax the handler!

From the Click-L mailing list... One of the greatest challenges faced by handlers of reactive dogs is that the handler's own tension is transferred down the leash to the dog. The dog, feeling that tension becomes even more reactive, which creates greater tension in the handler—a terrible cycle! The Click-L list discussed how instructors of reactive dog classes could teach the handlers to relax themselves.