Dogs have always been companions and working partners to humans. The collies and shepherds have helped herd the flock. The hunting dogs have helped retrieve and point towards the prey. Whether it be a dog for search and rescue, therapy or companionship the relationship and training is most beneficial for both if it is a cooperative partnership. With positive reinforcement marker training a cooperative relationship of mutual respect and trust is built. The dog has the choice to offer the behavior for a reinforcer or not earn the reinforcer. The dog and guardian learn a mutual language, the marker is the bridge to communication.
Influences: Dogs Past and Present
Little Green was my college dog. She was never on a leash. She waited for me outside of classes. We walked everywhere together. My painting teacher once said, "If you could be in the same state of mind you are in when you paint as when you play with your dog you could be a great painter." What a wise woman she was.
Blaze was the dog that eased the grieving process when Green died. He was from the APA Shelter. I visited the shelter and walked down the long row of kennels. There he was in the back of his kennel. I continued down the row and happened to turn around. There he was looking at me. I went to the desk and asked to meet him. The rest as they say is history.
Glory was the sweetest and easiest dog I have ever had. Her mother, a Labrador Retriever, was a Purina farms food tester. Glory and Blaze were friends, they played very well together. Blaze and I would see Glory and her owner walking in the morning. Her family's life style was changing and she needed a new home. Blaze and I welcomed her with open arms.
Lily was from a rescue organization. Her owner was admitted to the hospital and she had been in the house waiting for him. The neighbors looked after her while her owner was in the hospital. He begged the rescue organization to take her. He told them she couldn't be in a crate. She was already seven years old when she came to me. Early on in our relationship I let her off leash in the park. She ran off at wolf's speed and came back to me and dropped a rabbit at my feet.
Keely was my Karen Pryor Academy dog. She was rescued from death row through a mutual friend. She was the dog that taught me the most about "dog" and my most accomplished dog. Although, she had a low threshold with dogs and people she was able to earn her Rally Novice Obedience title, her Intermediate Tricks title, her CGC title, and her CGC-A title. This was all facilitated by building trust and confidence through clicker training.
Scout was a match from a friend at work. He was a dog in a busy household in need of more activity. He taught me the importance of gaining trust before asking for more. He taught me how much dogs tolerate to live a human world.
Gilbert was spotted in a pet store during a rescue adoption event. He looked confident lying in his crate patiently watching the world. Tell you the truth I was smitten and still am.