Monday, April 2, 2012

Jenn at Clicker Expo 2012

Jenn just got back from an exciting weekend at Clicker Expo in Nashville, Tennessee. Clicker Expo is a bi-coastal event for reward based trainers put together by Karen Pryor and the folks at the Karen Pryor Academy. This was the first time Jenn went and she came back with some very creative and interesting ideas to spice up my training. She even got to give a short presentation on Thundershirts and how they work so well with reward based training methods.

But what's the deal with clickers anyway and why would you want to use this method with your dog? Good questions.

First of all who is Karen Pryor? Karen Pryor is a scientist with an international reputation in two fields, marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. Through her work with dolphins in the 1960s she pioneered modern, force-free animal training methods. Karen is the author of many scientific papers and monographs and seven books. She is a founder and leading proponent of clicker training, the worldwide movement involving new ways to communicate positively with pets and other animals. Pretty impressive! What was really cool is that Karen Pryor turned 80 years old during the Expo. Jenn said they had a party for her and celebrated her lifetime of accomplishments. A pretty impressive person all around.

But my dog is not a dolphin you say. How can clicker training help me communicate with my dog?

The clicker becomes a great communication tool because it tells the dog very specifically what they have done to earn a reward.  It allows you to easily shape a behavior into what you want to the dog do.  Jenn likes clicker training because it teaches dogs to think for themselves, not just follow commands/cues.  It allows us to be creative, think on the fly!

You can learn more about clicker training by visiting Karen Pryor's website.