The clicker expo, as I have said before, blew me away. I do look at my dog training in a whole new light, now. I don’t know if I can convey to you what I feel, as although I like to think I am fairly good at writing, sometimes getting my information across is difficult for me to do.
Plus, I have talked to a number of people now who do use a clicker to train, but seem to be in the same place I was, and the clicker is just a tool to mark behavior. Where clicker training is an entire training concept that molds and shapes a dog in an encouraging, positive way and gives the animals control over their environment, and helps us to communicate with an entirely different species in an amazing way.
The Karen Pryor Clicker Expo is an amazing way to really get the idea of clicker training. Clicker training uses a clicker as a marker for behavior, and also uses positive reinforcement to not only get the behaviors you want, but to mold and build a relationship with the animal.
One of the statements that struck me the hardest was that clicker training has been used in the exotic animal world for years and years. But some of the trainers, when they came to dog training, were told, and believed, that dogs are different. Dogs you use punishment to train. It’s the amazing, open minded people who challenged that belief and realized that no, dogs are exactly the same. And the people who are involved with police dogs, search and rescue dogs, military dogs… those that are changing the dog training world, slowly, to use clicker training, are the ones that impress me the most. Because those fields are so traditionally punitive. It needs to change. It is changing. It will change.
I could go on for pages and pages about clicker training, but I’ll keep my posts short as I go through the knowledge that I have absorbed. Amazing knowledge. And I’ll post up some links to some great sites, too.