Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What's cooler than a back pack?

A hip pack.

I don't know if I've blogged before about how much I love Amazon: Amazon and on-line shopping in general.

The book I ordered: When Pigs Fly: Training Success with Impossible Dogs, arrived last night. Not only is it hilarious, but it makes me think that maybe my dogs aren't so bad after all. The Pigs-Fly training method is based on 100% positive reinforcement which I agree with. My uncle started his own dog training and dog walking company and he uses negative reinforcement. Dominant downs etc. His method took the life out of his dogs. They seem depressed and I didn't want my dogs to be like that.

Luckily Pigs-Fly has the answer. It is a slow answer but I think it will work. And the best part is that training my Pigs-Fly dogs won't take the life out of them.

So here we are: Day one: Loading the Clicker.
The clicker concept is that dogs can process a click noise in their brain faster than a human word. In this fashion the click becomes an instinctive signal. This is important for training because studies have shown that you have 1/2 a second between the behavior and the reward for the dog to associate the two. Clicking is easy and fast.

But in order for the clicker to work you have to "load it." This is what the boys and I started on today.

Materials: clicker, dog, bag of treats.
Today our treats were hot dogs and cheese. Each treat consisted of 1/40th of a hot dog or a 1cm by 1cm square of sliced cheese.

Instructions: click and shove a treat into the dog's mouth within a half second. Pause, and repeat 20 times.

I took Herman out first. He was afraid of the clicker so I hid it behind my back and showed him the treat. Then I clicked and shoved it in his mouth. After I ran out of a handful of treats he ran away so I had to walk up to him with a new handful and start again. Then we went back inside. Herman seemed relieved that the training was over. In general he doesn't enjoy new activities that he cannot predict. Hopefully it will get better.

Next it was Diego's turn. Diego went crazy-eyed-bible-thumping-fanatical about the treats. I am not sure if he got the link between the click and the treat, but boy does he LOVE training!

In the Pigs-Fly book, she says to start training somewhere boring like in the kitchen. I had to improvise and do it outside because we have a small apartment and I think it would be way too chaotic if I was trying to train two dogs at the same time. So we went outside but stayed in my apartment complex.

So that's it for today. Click and treat. I am supposed to do this twice a day for three days to fully load the clicker.

I started this post professing my love for Amazon. It is true. Who has time to physically shop? I don't, especially in my city's traffic. And so my next Amazon purchase is this excellent multi-pocket fanny pack to hold training treats, keys, and poop bags for my future Pigs-Fly training sessions. I am going to look rad with my hip pack. Can you tell that I am getting old?


Skuh said...

No way, Fermi. Don't you know that fanny packs are all the rage amongst hipster youth? Except, I suppose they keep their iPods, iPhones and weeds, not dog-training supplies, in them.

Fermi said...

Are you serious?!? Are the hipsters really into hip-packs!?

Sarah D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skuh said...

As a heart attack.