Dog Podcasts

A friend of mine told me about some dog podcasts to listen too… and finally I downloaded a podcast receiver and checked them out.

Currently I’m listening to Canine Campus, and the podcast on Calming Signals.. yes, from Turid Rugaas, and I’m enjoying it quite a bit.

She talkes about how dogs may freeze as one of their signs of being stressed. This is Chase. If a dog gets too close, he will freeze, and I know I have to get that other dog away from him.

I listen to talk radio all day… and I got the podcast reader so I could listen to Radio West, as it’s a show I enjoy and usually don’t listen to because I’m not online when it airs.

I’m also trying out Good Dog, though I haven’t listened to any yet. I wonder if there are any employee performance evaluations podcasts? Hrm…

Know of any good dog podcasts?

Dog Wiki for Utah

I love wikis. Wikis fascinate me because everyone can update them. And that means less work for me! LOL. Well, that is, if anyone else participates. Which no one else has done yet, but hopefully in time others will begin to participate.

So I’m getting the whole thing set up on my own. I know it’s hard to start things like this, and other people don’t know how to get pages going, so hopefully as I get pages built other people will chip in and add information and participate.

And I didn’t want to maintain the software myself, so I found Wikia, and set up a dog wiki for Utah. So check it out if you are interested…

Utah Dogs Wiki!

And here is the Flyball Page.. as it stands so far:

Utah Wiki Flyball

And you don’t have to be in Utah to edit or add pages. Go for it! I’ll be watching! Maybe from some theater seating, but I’ll be watching!

Shaping with the Clicker

One of the core training techniques with clicker training is called shaping, or free shaping. There is also micro-shaping which is amazing to watch, and the clicker expo had a presenter… Alexandra Kurland who clicks with horses. And in a nutshell, she shapes the horses to carry their bodies, with a rider, so that their heads are down and their balances is better so that they will not damage their spines.

My definition of shaping is something like this: you watch a dog, and when she does something you want, you click. So if you want to shape a turn to the left (this is in the clicker books, I think) if the dog even slightly moves her head to the left, or even looks to the left, you click and treat. The dog will then be wondering what caused that click, and will move around trying different things. This dog will need to be clicker savvy first, though, and throw out behaviors to see what gets the reward.

Eventually the dog will figure out that turning her head to the left gets a click and treat. Then you up the ante, you stop clicking the head moving to the left, and the dog will try more, and move to the left, maybe even step, and you click treat that.

That is basically what shaping is. Micro-shaping would be clicking the slightest muscle movement, or twitch, on the dog’s left side.

This can take a long time in the beginning and takes a lot of patience. In example, Tatum is not a big offerer of behavior. Lucy, Levi and Chase dance all over the place wondering what it is I want from them and will mark. Tatum isn’t that savvy yet. But I had a perch box out today, and when she would sniff the box, I would click and throw a treat on it.

What I eventually want of her is to stand on the box with her front feet, and move her back end around it. But we start very, very slow. Eventually she put one foot on the box, yay! That is what I wanted, so click and treat. I pushed her off in play to get her drive up, and she came right back, put one foot up… click treat.. she put the other foot up… click treat! We were getting there!

Tatum is not very animated, so with micro-shaping what I need to do with her is just click any movement. To get her used to offering. So if she is just standing there, and I am just sitting there waiting for her to do something, if she moves her head or nose or muscle, I click and treat, to get that movement going.

This is the beginning. You can get a dog to do a perfect heel pattern as you move along with clicker training. Amazing stuff! And I did have to see it in action to really understand it! You increase with small steps. The more clicker savvy the dog becomes, the more behaviors the dog offers, the faster it goes.

And it is amazing to watch the process. Amazing!

What Is Mahalo?

Well, besides the fact that is it means Thank You in Hawaiian (or at least that is what I think it means), it is a web site search engine thing that seems to be new.

So I signed up. I’m still learning. I have started a little page for dog blogs. So if you know of good dog blogs, go visit the Mahalo Dog Blog page and suggest your dog blog link!

I’ve added a couple myself. Would be fun to get a great big list of them. 🙂 I don’t know how they get approved, why, when, or by whom. But it seems interesting anyway!

Here is an interesting blog post about Mahalo at TechCrunch… if you want more information.

New Camera

Okay I went out and bought a new camera. For, you may have guessed, dog pictures. It’s an Olympus Evolt e300 and it already came in the mail today.

So far, so good. However I don’t have a Compact Flash card so I’m off to Best Buy after work today to get one, so I can actually take pictures and load them on the laptop. So.. if you see a lot of pictures in the next while, that is why!

I have really wanted a digital SLR for a long time. I found a nice one, used, and it’s in good shape. I love SLRs. I used to use one when I was a teenager. And I knew how to use it, even. Now I’ve forgotten it all, and will have to relearn. But I’m sure I’m able!