Tag Archives: Operant Conditioning

A Very Special Day

This afternoon we attended a graduation ceremony for guide, autism and service dogs. There were a total of nine graduates.  The dogs were from 3 different litters, C, E and F.  When I looked out over the group I realized that all 9 of the dogs were Wally’s puppies (he has sired 51 in total).  It was wonderful to see how his genes have been passed on and how successful they have become.  The E-Litter is the first litter that has had all puppies make it through the training program and be successfully matched with a partner. 


Back: Everest, Enzo, Eddie, Finn, Chase, Chloe, Ebony
Front: Elliot, Cessco 

 

Sam and Ebony 

One of today’s graduates held a very special place in our heart. Ebony was our foster puppy from 2007-2008.  She and I learned operant conditioning (clicker training) together.  She was amazing.  I got her at 7 weeks old and in her first week with us she learned her name, sit, down, come and she could retrieve a set of keys.  By the time she was 5 months old she could retrieve or carry anything, take off my socks and help me undress, empty the washer and dryer , and turn on the light switch.  At 5-1/2 months old she flew with me, in the passenger cabin, to California to attend Clicker Expo. 

There was nothing that Ebony couldn’t learn how to do and she loved to work. Just before she left us, I taught her how to paint. I would hand her the brush and she would make strokes on the canvas. Many of her original pieces of artwork were sold at a charity auction. I presented her partner Sam with a framed print of one of Ebony’s best works of art. She painted it during the summer of 2008 when the Beijing Summer Olympic were on TV….to me, it has a real oriental feel to it 

 

 

Ebony with her paint brush 

Another one of our previous foster puppies, Charly and her partner Larry, came to today’s graduation ceremony.   Charly graduated a few years ago.  We were lucky enough to be able to get a picture of Ebony and Charly together with their partners. 

 

Larry & Charly with Sam & Ebony 

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Filed under Clicker Training, Foster Puppies, Wally

Clicker training begins

Now that Tilly has been with us for a week and she has settled into her new life, it is time to start training.  We started out with ‘charging the clicker’ to teach her that a click is a very good thing and it means that a reward is coming.  Then we moved on to clicking her for making eye contact with me and she caught on to that fairly quickly.  Yesterday I introduced her to the Staples Easy Button and I clicked and treated her for any contact.   Today she started offering a paw target, she got a big reward for the first hit and from that point on she just kept progressing.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the video camera going the first time that she actually got the ‘That Was Easy’ sound but I was able to capture the second time she was successful.  She is so tiny that she needs to jump on it with both paws to get the audio.    As you watch the video you can see her thinking and processing all the things she has learned and when she decides to hit the button you can see the pure joy in her face and her body language.  That little tail is wagging like crazy.

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Filed under Clicker Training, Tilly