Ok, dogs, this is for you. Have you recently acquired a new human? Or perhaps your current human is just not communicating clearly? Maybe he or she is slow to provide reinforcers....or...maybe they don't even reinforce you at all! You've come to the right place--we can help!
Have you noticed that humans are lousy communicators? I mean, they try. But lets be honest here--have you heard a human try to howl? Or bark? Yeah...it's embarrassing. There is this one song that plays on the radio (my human says it's by Maroon 5) in which the guy singing howls towards the end. My human wants me to howl with her, but no. Not gonna happen. I love her, but sometimes she embarrasses herself (and me). ANYWAYS, humans just don't speak dog well. And their own language is pretty incomprehensible to us. Don't get me wrong--we get better with practice, and I like to think I understand most of what my human says. We've worked out our communication woes together. One thing she doesn't do is put uncomfortable chain collars on me, or worse, those collars with pointed bits that look like they dig into a dog's neck. I mean, that's sensitive right there! I've even heard that some humans put collars on their dogs that zap them. I...I just couldn't. Fortunately, neither can she, so we use a method called "clicker training" or marker-based training. Instead of working to avoid pain (like a zap!), the harder I work, the more I get rewarded. It's a much more reasonable system!
So when I say that the harder I work, the more I am rewarded, what does that mean? Do I get hot dogs? Will she throw the tennis ball? A chance to finally chase that squirrel? Actually, yes! (Mostly--we are still negotiating over the squirrel...maybe if I really REALLY do something awesome, she'll finally let me chase that rude little thing.) But back on topic! What you are rewarded with is really up to you. Most of us dogs love a nice pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears, but our humans give us a lot of that just for being their dog (not to sound ungrateful, but I'm not going to work extra hard for something I'm going to get anyways, ya know?). My big weakness is for hot dogs. I also love freeze dried salmon, dried beef lung, and chicken. Some dogs love string cheese, or cheerios maybe. And it's not ALWAYS food--I love to work for a chance to play tug with my favorite toy, or to chase a ball (but...never bring it back...do I LOOK like a retriever?!?!) As long as your human is generous with the reinforcement, you're in good shape!
Cherry was born March 4, 2010--the first puppy in a litter of 6 to her parents, CH. Potomac's Goodnight Gekko and CH. Alpines Coco Chanel. She was known as the "red dot" girl due to the little red dot on the top of her head. She was a firecracker from the start--always the loudest puppy, the first to get into trouble, the first to figure out how to climb out of the whelping box, and she led her 5 siblings everywhere. She made it clear to the human from the start that while the other puppies may be headed to new homes (some went on to be show dogs, but all went on to live great lives with their new humans), Cherry was not going anywhere. Cherry and the human she started calling Mom bonded right away. The human introduced all of the puppies to the clicker very early, almost right after their eyes and ears opened up. Cherry caught on very quickly. She and her human competed in conformation (Cherry is a conformation champion), obedience, rally, and barn hunt. They have dabbled in agility, and are currently working their way through the new trick dog titles. The two of them attended Karen Pryor Academy together, as well as various other training seminars including Clicker Expo. Cherry's mom credits her journey as a dog trainer and the founding of Fuzzy Logic Dog Training entirely to Cherry. The two of them are an inseparable team.
Click the clicker to send Cherry a message!