Sunday, February 1, 2015
This dog has us all figgered out. He knows that he gets away with about anything by being himself, which is to say impossibly cute. Most mornings, I find him lying crosswise, right through the middle of the bed, taking up the room of 1.5 humans. And what does he get for it? He gets called Sugar Peanut, and he gets a kiss on his cold little gumdrop nose.
I could pretty much run video and get good stuff every time somebody walks into the kitchen, because wheedling treats from people is what Chet Baker does best. Last evening was no exception. I made my usual rambling pointless dopey dog video. Brevity, I am not your soul.
But something really cool happened in this little video. I saw Chet employing what amounts to clicker training on his (admittedly rather slow to learn) Daddeh. Chet was consciously giving Bill positive reinforcement for doing the right thing (making motions to pour a little bowl of milk for Chet). And he consciously avoided reinforcing Bill for doing the wrong thing (pouring the milk in the sink).
When Bill makes motions toward giving Chet what he wants (a wee bowl of milk), Chet woofs and wags. Bill is encouraged to do the right thing.
When Bill makes motions toward pouring the milk in the sink, Chet sits stock-still. Effectively, he's ignoring the behavior he doesn't want. Bill is not encouraged for doing the wrong thing.
Right there, this dog is a better trainer than most of we humans are. No wonder we scramble to do the right thing in Chet's estimation, which is to give him LOTS OF TREATS.
No wonder he is The Cylindrical Pig.
Better keep running, you little rasher of BACON.
Sucking it in. We all do it.
Thanks to Murr Brewster for inspirato. If you haven't read Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor, well, you should. Right, Murr? Best part: it doesn't just work for dogs. It works on people, too. Ideally.