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Spring At Last!

Boston had a particularly icy winter. The dogs and I are glad it's over! To celebrate, we're offering you a Spring Special: buy one clicker product and get 15% off on a second item of equal value or less. Call 1-800-47 CLICK and ask for the May Spring Special

Dog Growling at Baby

Someone recently wrote to me for advice on a difficult situation developing between her dog and her baby. When such a problem arises, I think you need to teach the baby that he may NOT sit on the dog, pull ears, bother the dog when it's lying down, hit it with toys, and so on. You can't do this with punishment, babies can't learn that way; but you can do it. The dog needs to learn to get up and leave if bothered; but the baby needs to experience being removed, gently but firmly, from the dog, long BEFORE the dog has become irritated to the point of growling.

Clicking with Your Dog: First Reviews

March was a busy month. Peggy Tillman's Step-by-Step clicker picture book came out and people love it. Veterinarian and behaviorist Nick Dodman, author of "The Dog Who Loved Too Much," calls it 'a wonderful book…a must…this is the way dog training should be. If every dog owner bought this book I would be out of business and the shelters would have to shut down." Kathleen Weaver, founder of click-l, says flatly

Utility Ring Problems: Do Variable Schedules Help or Hurt?

Random or variable reinforcement is a useful procedure in making a given behavior resistant to extinction, for example in the shaping process, when one wants to raise criteria. To go from reinforcing every response to selectively reinforcing stronger responses you need to develop enough resistance to extinction so that the animal neither changes the behavior instantly upon going unreinforced once or twice, nor quits altogether. Resistance to extinction is also important in maintaining long duration behaviors, as in searches, field trialing, and so on; and can be developed gradually. Bob and Marian Bailey might consider this simply another example of a shaping schedule.

Here, Doggie! Building a Reliable Recall with a Clicker

"Come" is no harder to shape than any other behavior BUT in real life it has a huge component of criteria to raise. Start indoors. Use a clicker and desired treat, not kibble, for several one-or-two minute training sessions daily. Call the dog, and click if he comes toward you. Do this in your living room. Call him from a few feet, and click, when he takes one step, then more steps, of if he comes right to you. Then call him back and forth between two people. Click and treat good responses. Ignore poor responses. If you get more than one or two poor responses, retreat to an earlier shaping step and reshape upwards; this just means you don't have the behavior at that criterion level yet.