June Makes Three

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It Finally Clicked For Us

We started obedience school last night. By all accounts, Sophie is a good little pup, but set on pleasing herself, not her masters. And she's started a nasty little habit of barking when she doesn't feel like doing what's asked. Before things careen out of control, we decided to call a trainer, because what I've tried so far isn't doing diddly. The trainer uses clicker training (fancy pants name: operant conditioning), similar to what they use with dolphins. Doggie does something right, you click the clicker, then give a treat. Doggie soon learns that whatever action she just did is marked by the clicker, and yummy stuff is on the way.

The trainer warned me that the first night, it would be horrible. She was right. Sophie's interest was mostly in what the other dogs were up to (one of whom occasionally pooped on the gymnasium floor). But after a good night's sleep, a fresh bag of treats, and no distractions, she caught on extremely quickly. My girl sat on command 15 times in a row tonight, ended her barking after only 3 tries, and did lots more right than wrong. Off to a great start.

I wonder, with a little extra work, could I use this thing to get Mike to take out the trash?


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