Heading to the shore? Print and pack The Phoebe Chronicles, beach reading for dog lovers everywhere.
The Phoebe Chronicles
Listen to Gale's podcast (available at the bottom of the page) to find out how she deals with training a dog during the winter months when we are often forced inside. Read the original article here.
Clicker training is especially interesting when viewed through a Zen lens. Take these words of Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk, poet, and peace advocate:
"Every day we touch what is wrong, and, as a result, we are becoming less and less healthy. That is why we have to learn to practice touching what is not wrong—inside us and around us."
This is the fundamental realization that we make when we first become clicker trainers. Focusing on what we don't want leads to more of what we don't want. Turn your focus to the behaviors you do want in order to see more of these behaviors. The others will disappear.
Long before Phoebe joined our family, thirteen years ago, we brought home ten-week-old Esme. A nearly pure-white Border collie, she soon put her shepherd instincts to work, substituting a pack of kids for a flock of sheep.
My three boys live with all this clicking, and accept that this is how one communicates with dogs. They do it themselves, and have clicker trained old Esme to paw their foot when they ask any question beginning with "Who's the best... -looking in the family/basketball player on the street/skateboarder in town?" They've also trained Phoebe to bark on cue, run toward them and bounce off their chests with both paws, and nibble on their fingers when she wants the treat they're hiding in their fist. While I'm not keen on the behaviors they've chosen to train, they got those behaviors with solid, positive, marker-based training.