My friends Leslie and John Hawkinson live in Golden, Colorado. They participate in a fifty-year-old riding organization called Westernaires. Leslie is an expert driver and traveled for years with the Coors beer eight-horse hitch of Belgians. For Westernaires, she has trained horses and ponies to pull carts and wagons and taught children and adults to drive them. John, an engineer, is a master at building and repairing wagons, stage coaches, and other rolling stock used in Westernaires competitions and performances. Their four children, now grown, were all Westernaires. My friends have always wanted me to see Westernaires, because from a training standpoint it's unique. Now I'm in Denver and I have time, and we go.
Clicker training doesn’t stay the same. With so many skilled users now, and the Internet to keep us all in touch, we’re going further and further up the mountain.
Throughout the pet business right now, "dominance theory" is a popular explanation for absolutely anything that happens, from a puppy tugging on your trouser leg to birds flying up instead of down. Conquering "dominance" has become justification for absolutely any punishment people can think up.
Sandra, an executive with the New York Humane Society, sometimes takes adoptable dogs on Good Morning America. Sandra tells me it's usually just her, the dog, the hosts, the set, and the cameras.
But this time it's not like that.