The Clicker Carnival #1

Welcome to first edition the clicker carnival, a new blog carnival especially for clicker trainers and positive animal trainers. I recently heard someone ask if horse (clicker) trainers could learn anything from dog (clicker) trainers. The answer, of course, is a resounding Yes! Even when the species is different, the principles of reinforcement, shaping and learning are still the same. I’ve probably picked up some of my favorite tips and ideas for my horses from trainers who have maybe never trained a horse in their life. We can all learn from each other, and I hope this carnival will be a place for just that.

Below you’ll find a great collection of interesting, thought provoking blog posts from positive animal trainers from the past month. From tips and articles to fun stories of training progress, from dog to horses to even some birds and fish, it’s all here at the clicker carnival.

Is your dog afraid of novel objects or certain kinds of people? Targeting is a great way to build confidence for fearful dogs (or other species). Read all about it in Hand Targeting for Fearful Dogs by Angela of fun4fido.

When a horse paints a picture, what kind of brush strokes does he prefer to use? In her article Stroke of Genius, Kyley of The Trick Ponies of Chincoteague discusses how well the timing of reinforcement shapes behavior, even when we might not mean for it to! The post also includes a video clip of Minnow painting a picture.

Robin of Cage Free Parrot writes about how to increase desirable behavior using positive reinforcement in her article, Increasing Desirable Behavior. Her post has some really creative examples, including transferring cues so that the dog is cueing the bird!

Does your dog take your stuff? (I know mine keeps stealing my socks!) Eric of Dog Spelled Forward presents My Dog Keeps Taking Stuff, which gives easy, step-by-step instructions for teaching the leave it command. This is a great skill to teach your dog and can really help with self control.

Jackal’s Owner presents a great video from a recent training session. The bulk of the video shows her free-shaping the dog to stand on a step stool. You can almost see the wheels turning as Jackal goes from one foot on the stool, to two feet, to jumping over it, to finally standing proudly with all four feet on it!

In her post Teaching Opposites, Jane of Bookends Farm reminds us of one of Alexandra Kurland’s favorite sayings– “for everything you teach, you must teach the opposite.” She does an excellent job of explaining why we must consider this in our training, as well as providing examples from some of the young horses she has in training.

How do we control what our dog does and when she does it? Laurie Luck of Smart Dog University writes about how to put that good behavior under control by adding a cue in her post Cues: How You Control Behavior. Included is a video clip of her dog Talos learning to distinguish between two word cues.

Donna Hill of Vancouver Island Assistance Dogs presents steps for successfully teaching a dog to work with wheelchairs in her post Wheelchair Skills. In a follow-up post, she discusses wheelchair tasks to teach the assistance dog. She includes a great video that shows shaping a dog to retrieve a wheelchair, nudge an arm onto an armrest and even deliver items to a store clerk!

Riding a horse isn’t very enjoyable if we’re constantly having to kick the horse to keep it going. (And it’s not very pleasant for the horse either!) Mary of StaleCheerios describes a simple exercise for building duration in small pieces in her post Building Duration with 300 Peck Pigeons.

We’ve had quite a few land animals. But now, how about a creature that swims? Diane of Fresh Water Pearls Puppetry gives us her fish Clem’s latest trick–the multi-pass hoop trick. You’ll be impressed by this trained goldfish!

Thanks for reading and please join us again next month for the clicker carnival. If you have your own blog, I hope you’ll consider submitting a article of your own for the next edition. You can check out the carnival’s homepage here.


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