Recently, Alexandra Kurland, author of Clicker Training for Your Horse, Clicker Training Your Horse, Step-by-Step in Pictures, and a series of videos corresponded with Jim Wiltens, co-leader for the Camels Over the Himalayas Expedition. Jim came to ClickerExpo to get his first exposure to clicker training and met Alexandra Kurland at her sessions. Immediately, he set out to use his education in the field. The piece is a great example of the transformative nature of clicker training and how people and animals learn quickly together. The log of Jim's training adventure begins below.
I just wanted to write you a short note to say "Thank you."
I have "trained" dogs for about 18 years, obviously the compulsion way. I have what I refer to as the reverse Midas touch. Everything I do seems to fall apart. I have a couple wonderful working bloodline German Shepherds who were quite frankly a little more than I was capable of "controlling" because of course that's what compulsion is largely about.
"To do all this looks like a lot of effort and waste of time," our clickerwise student writes. "But it really wasn´t. Crazy as it may sound, it was fun! I passed the test successfully. I made some grammatical mistakes but I could remember all words I had taught myself with the clicker perfectly!"
I took four dogs to dog shows this weekend, one of them was a young Labrador that I own with a family about an hour away from my home. I had seen the dog off and on for the past year but she has had no real training other than coming to puppy class. This pup is clicker wise. I stayed in a hotel and had to bring each dog up to the fourth floor of the hotel! Pearl had never been in an elevator and decided to put the breaks on—there was no way she was taking a step into that scary looking place with the shiny floor.
My students grasped the idea of tagging immediately. "It's either a click or it's not a click," noted Jake Corcoran, 9, after a tagging class. The results have been astounding. How many times have you told your dancers to keep their heels down in demi plie? With a group of twenty-five 7- to 9-year olds, each child was able to master the skill after one tag session. Subsequent classes focusing on everything from grand jete's to battements met with similar success.