I love posts like this because I think everyone who starts clicker training after trying other sorts of training has a similar experience. This post from a guide dog trainer's journal describes a simple moment when some positive, rather than negative, response to animal management becomes the first response, and shows itself to be far more effective and easier than expected. In other words, this is about a clicker training who really "gets it"!
A reader sent us this wonderful story by email:
We had heard about clicker training several years ago, but quickly dismissed it as our 11 year old dog is terrified of any electronic clicking sound-so much so that he once destroyed 2 interior door handles, scratched the doors and attempted to dig through an exterior door and wall in his effort to escape when the electronic air filter started clicking one day we weren't home.
This week, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a fawning piece about Cesar Millan in the New Yorker (May 22). Gladwell shows why he's a very good writer, but not a good reporter (which may be the reason I thought his last book, Blink, was a vapid but nonethless enjoyable read). In this article, Gladwell doesn't even indicate that there is anything controversial at all about how Millan achieves his ends. No scent of behavioral science enters the discussion. There's no attempt on Galdwell's part to be objective, ferret out alternative opinions or provide balance. Malcolm is definitely not in the middle. He's wonderous.
I'm sure a few people reading this won't exactly be surprised, but having supporting research for this might be quite groundbreaking. DOLPHINS may be closer to humans than previously realised, with new research showing they communicate by whistling out their own "names".