In September we took clickertraining.com to the Tufts Animal Expo, a huge conference for veterinarians and other animal care professionals. This year we were impressed by how savvy our booth visitors and audiences were. There were lots of experienced clicker trainers out there, and more than a few were veterinarians.
When a veterinarian decides he (or she) wants to use clicker training in the practice, things move fast! Clicker-wise technicians can speed up examinations by clicking dogs for standing still and relaxing, while the owner feeds the treats. Clicker techniques can stop the endless barking in the kennels. In some clinics a Clicker Fun Kit goes home with each new puppy or kitten, and a technician gives a quick ten-minute lesson on how to click and treat for things you like. Results? More clients keep their dogs, and the vet keeps more clients.
Is your vet interested? It's a nice service for clients, a time-saver for the vet, and can be a life-saver for the pet.
New Dog Training Center!
We've been working for months on a new, comprehensive training section on clicking with dogs, on our website. At last it's up and running! Everything on the site about dogs and clicking is pulled together and arranged so that you can easily find the information you want. The design and menus will help you, whether you're a newcomer wondering what this is all about and how to get started; or a skeptic needing proof, or an experienced trainer wanting clicker information for special areas such as tracking. Take a look and tell us what you think! feedback1 [at] clickertraining [dot] com (Feedback)
Petfinder finds us!
We're happy to be able to say we are now a partner of Petfinder, the online organization that provides exposure and information to over 4000 animal shelters and rescue organizations. We're providing special training tips and discounts for shelters that contact us through Petfinder, and they are providing clicker training information to shelters in return. If your shelter is a member of Petfinder, it can access the special benefits on the administration page of Petfinder.
A New Karen Pryor Publication
Click for Life! Clicking in the Shelter Environment
As you know, I'm very interested in integrating clicker training into the humane movement. (After all, what could be more humane?)
To figure out practical ways to integrate clicking into shelters, we've been working in and with a variety of shelters and rescue organizations in New England. In July and in September we held on-line discussions, with hundreds of participants from around the world. We've initiated a volunteer program that will be be moving into gear this fall and winter. We've opened a Shelter Resource Center on the website, with a ton of free, downloadable instruction sheets and other information.
Now we've put all these online documents together in a state-of-the-art working guide on clicking in the shelter. This contains everything on the website and more. It's a working document, comb-bound, so you can easily photocopy important pages. If you work at a shelter, volunteer at a shelter, or are thinking of volunteering at a shelter, you'll find a lot of great suggestions here.
Click for Life! Clicking in the Shelter Environment
Treat bags and Treats
We've got treat bags and treats in the online store, along with clickers and target sticks... thanks, Pat Miller, for a great magazine review of what's available. We've gone with the one I personally like best-and the Charlee Bear treats we pack in our kits. We all know that soft, smelly treats such as cut-up meat or cheese are best for training new work and new dogs, but these are good coat-pocket treats. I use them on daily walks with my dogs-the border terrier and her friend the poodle. I still have to click them, at least now and then, for a task they find very difficult: going past the bus stop WITHOUT stopping to lavish greetings on people waiting for the bus.
The United Kingdom Clicker Challenge
This month I'm going to England again to judge a splendid new dog sport involving clicker training. It's called the Clicker Challenge and its sort of Extreme Clicker Training, devised by Kay Laurence. It's a one-day event designed along the lines of Olympic Ice Skating, but in teams. There will be at least 12 teams of four people and eight dogs each. Each Team gets a list of 10 behaviors in the morning; and they have half a day to train eight of the ten behaviors (Examples: picking the ace of spades out of a deck of cards. One dog jumping over another dog. Skipping rope.)
In the afternoon, each team displays its results, and they are judged by a panel of judges, with points for Technical Difficulty, Artistic Merit, etc. etc. With a sports announcer, an audience, prizes and rosettes for the top three teams-sounds like fun to me! I'll tell you all about it next month. Maybe we'll try to start the Clicker Challenge sport here in the U.S.!
P.S. There may still be a few openings in the November Boston Kay Laurence workshop and practice clicker challenge.
P.S.S. To help reward the adoption of rescue dogs this month, we are providing gift certificates to adopters.