Eureka! Dog Blog

Dog Training and Behavior weblog

Clicker Expo Austin

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The Clicker Expo was fascinating.  Exciting to see so many really skilled trainers in action.  I felt not only did I learn a lot, I was also motivated to make changes in what I do and the way I do it.

I had a companion with me – Bailey, the weather pup.  Bailey is all kinds of a terrier, and she  was out of her comfort zone being in a hotel environment.  She is called Bailey the weather pup because she alerts us to storms.  She goes very quiet and tries to hide under something when a storm is on its way or when there are high winds.  On one occasion, not long after she came to live with me, I found her hiding in the pantry as a storm approached.  I got down on hands and knees to call her out, and she ran out and hid under me!

During the Expo, she lay down under my chair for the sessions (which were typically an hour and a half long), and she was extremely well-behaved.  When we came out of a session, she focused straight in on the glass doors and windows.  The message was clear – I’m a dog, I need to be outdoors having fun!  At lunch breaks, we drove to a Starbucks and I sat outside with a coffee while Bailey and I practiced clicker exercises.

Bailey the weather pup

My friend Gail was kind enough to put Bailey and me up while we were at the Expo.  Gail has 2 dogs and 3 cats, so it was a very simpatico household.  Once again, Bailey was a credit – she didn’t try to steal any food or make trouble with the dogs or the cats.  Of course, she is a terrier – so she did manage to take possession of the most comfortable dog bed several times.

Bailey needs frequent reminders of her place in the household.  Even on a 4 day trip away from home, she realized some of the rules had changed, and tried to rewrite her personal bill of rights.  We had to do a few exercises to remind her that she is not the leader of the pack!  A reminder – any time you travel or make changes in the household (moving house, gaining or losing a pet or human household member), dogs will investigate to see how this changes their status.  You need to enforce the same rules, and increase regular brief training sessions.  In Bailey’s case, that meant reminding her that she is allowed up on furniture only when invited up by a human, and then she has to get down again as soon as she is told to.  And lots of work on Down and Down-Stay, as well as the fun targeting and tricks.

Written by eurekapaws

January 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Posted in Training

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