Posts filed under ‘Uncategorized’

Pet Blogger Challenge

I saw this on willmydoghateme.com and well, why not? :)

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

Challenge Questions #1: For bloggers who haven’t participated before

1. When did you begin your blog?

Boogie’s blog began on Myspace back in the day when people used Myspace. That was four years ago when I adopted him.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

- To share with friends what I was learning about Boogie
– To show off cute photos
– To get ‘parenting feedback’

(I also had blogs for the dogs that I fostered before Boogie – see the links column on the right, scroll down)

3. Is your current purpose the same? If not, what’s different?

Yes, and more.

- This blog is now also a means for me to keep a record of Boogie’s training experiences, vet visits and other parenting challenges.
– to share what I am learning about dog behavior from our trainer, from books and the internet
– to showcase my Boogie drawings and generate interest in my dog illustrations (www.doggiedrawings.net)

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

As the spirit moves me.

If the latter, do you worry about… well, whatever you might worry about (e.g. losing traffic, losing momentum)?

No. I either have something to blog about or I don’t.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

No.

If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

I would like to but I don’t think I can run third-party ads in a WordPress.com (vs. a self-hosted) blog…. and it seems like too overwhelming a task to move everything over a self-hosted blog. If only someone else could do this for me :)  BTW, I am not prepared to run ads just for the sake of making $. They have to be relevant…

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular (bragging is good!)?

I like blogging on Boogie’s blog because I can be as much of a dog nerd as I’d like to be. I can be as obssessive as I like and share anything dog/Boogie-related without shame. It’s always nice to get new subscribers and comments :)

I’d like to think that Boogie’s blog is fun and unique because it comes with drawings of a blue-eyed boston terrier that you don’t see anywhere else. :) Well, that, and  I love drawing my dog.

P.S.  I have other blogs for non dog-related stuff.

7. What do you like least?

The layout and appearance. I wish I knew how to code.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

- I would like to integrate this blog with my other Boogie-related sites: the etsy store, the zazzle store, etc.  Perhaps I need to use a different hosting platform or create a new website with a blog attached. When I can afford it, I plan to consult a website professional to help me do this.
– In terms of content, I have no idea! I look forward to new exciting experiences in 2012 = more stuff to blog about! :)

P.S. As we’re on WordPress.com, I am unable to add the javascript code for the blog hop :(  GO HERE, scroll down.

January 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm 12 comments

Sneak peek: Cyberdog Online (clicker training course)

* Note: There are ANIMATED GIFS in this blog entry, which may or may not show up in a RSS feed or email subscription.

 

Two weeks ago I was invited to participate as a student and beta-tester in a brand new online Clicker Training course – Cyberdog Online – run by three Karen Pryor Academy  Certified Training Partners:  Sarah Owings, Helix Fairweather and Lynn Martin.

Karen Pryor is the animal behaviorist who wrote the very inspiring book: Reaching The Animal Mind and made Clicker Training (or Operant Conditioning) famous.

Perhaps the thing that is most appealing to me about Clicker Training is that it is a pressure-free (therefore very humane) method and philosophy of teaching and learning. It’s efficiency is not dependent on the trainer’s bossiness or physical strength. The emphasis is on clear communication and positive reinforcement using the clicker as a capturing/shaping and reinforcing tool.

*These classifications come from Gail T. Fisher’s book: The Thinking Dog, Crossover to Clicker Training.

A long time ago, I trained Boogie to  Sit, Down, Stay, Shake Hands etc. using the Moulding and Luring methods. I remember pushing Boogie’s  butt down to the floor to teach him to sit, and when this didn’t work, I successfully lured him into a sitting position by moving a tennis ball over his head. (He wasn’t a very food-motivated dog when I first adopted him).  As his head followed the ball – “Sit!” – his butt plopped down on the floor and he was rewarded.

Even though I have used a clicker before to capture behavior (for example, clicking Good Choices in BAT), I am not confident using a clicker to teach new behaviors and cues … or rather, anything more complicated than Hand Targeting or a Head Turn.

On my own, I lose focus and patience.  I worry about messing up. What I need is someone to tell me exactly what to do and to break the process down into baby steps for me… Which is exactly what this Cyberdog Online course offers!

In this course, not only is Boogie learning new stuff, I the human am also being trained.

The course consists of several learning modules (StartSmart, Attention and Focus, Communication, Teamwork, Self-Control etc.),  a series of lessons within each module (eg, Name Game, Settle, Wait, Sit, Targeting, Polite Walking etc.) and 4 levels within each lesson, which are further broken down into  Steps 1 – 4.  There is a lot of information to take in, and lots of steps, yet because everything is so well-structured, the exercises are so clear, and the feedback is always very encouraging and helpful, I don’t feel intimidated. Everything feels do-able.

I loved the beginning StartSmart module,  which focuses on mechanical clicker training skills:  ‘home base’ position for your hand, working on focus and  timing skills (eg, click bubbles bursting on your computer screen) and even treat delivery skills (practice tossing treats into a box, practice rolling individual treats out of your palm etc.). Most of these exercises don’t yet involve the dog. Tricky, because when Boogie sees me with a clicker and treats he wants to be in on the action.

Further on, students practice with their dogs. We take video footage of our training sessions, and upload these on the internet for class review. A “virtual classroom” that is. Seeing other students’ videos is really helpful.

Some notes from Week 1:

 

1. Treat delivery skills & “Quiet Hands”.  Until I reviewed video footage of myself delivering treats I had no idea that my hands flailed around as much as they did or that my hand would instantly drift back into the treat bag when it should be quiet and at ‘Home Base’ before the next click.

2. New concept:  “Click Points” refer to the exact behaviors that I am supposed  to click in each training session. The challenge is to stick to this criteria and not click for anything else. This is harder than it sounds because I  get impatient!  Or I get so distracted by Boogie’s cuteness (doing some other non-click-point behavior) and I lose track. The challenge for me is to WAIT for Boogie to offer the behavior by himself instead of  helping…

3. New concept:  “Tag Points”.  Where Click Points are for the dog, Tag Points are for the student trainer.  These are specific behaviors that I have to do fluently.

4. “Success Rate”. How do I know when to move onto the next Level?

 

According to Helix – I judge success by how quickly and frequently Boogie is getting clicked and treated.  I could also calculate my rate of reinforcement

I watch my training session video – note the start and end times from the first click to the last click. Total number of seconds / total number of clicks = Rate of Reinforcement. So for example, where there are 26 clicks in 120 seconds, that’s an  average rate of 4.6 seconds per behavior/click/treat. A successful rate is 4 seconds per click, at which point I am ready to move onto the next level.

Below are  examples of the clicker training lessons that I am doing with Boogie this week.

*Similar clicker lessons can already be found via dog training blogs/sites, YouTube videos and books,  so I have decided to do something different and present these as animated drawings. Note: these are my own interpretations of the Cyberdog Online lessons. The animations are not part of the course.

Name Game lesson (Level 4).

… and Wait At Boundary ( Level 1).

In Level 2 of the BOUNDARY lesson (my homework for this week), my new Tag Point is to stop tapping the line and click when Boogie slows down/shows hesitation before he approaches the line. Eventually a verbal cue (eg, “Wait”) will be added. I am hoping that this cue when learned, will have Boogie waiting politely when someone comes to the door….

That’s it for now! This Cyberdog Online course is still in beta-testing phase, so I can’t give too much away. :)

Currently reading:  How Dogs Learn by John S. Bailey, which is fascinating.


*UPDATE* – The Cyberdog Online course is now up and running! http://cyberdogonline.com/

August 26, 2011 at 6:26 am 14 comments

See you, Boogie.

I am going out of town for the next few days and Boogie will be staying with my friend, her husband and 8 year old daughter.

I have packed the usual bag of food, doggie bowls, a How-To sheet, tennis ball, chew toy, plush toy, special toy, crate blanket…. and this time, I am including these 3 printouts that I illustrated for Jez Rose and Dr. Sophia Yin on how kids should and shouldn’t interact with dogs, which by the way are FREE to download, print and distribute.

I will be away from Boogie for 4 nights and I am missing him already!

July 20, 2011 at 5:35 pm 3 comments

Interesting videos – ‘Marker Training’

I actually like the term “Marker Training” more than “Clicker Training”.

The term “Clicker Training” can be misleading because people assume that you have to be married to the clicker, when Marker/Clicker Training is more about the process and approach, and less about the physical gadget.

Analogy:  It’s like when some people – eg, my parents – use the terms “computer animation” or “computer illustration” to denote something radically different from drawing with a pencil or paintbrush…. and assume that it is a computer program that does the drawing for me.  Yep, my dad used to think this. While I do use a computer to draw with,  *I* am still the one who is doing the drawing. The computer is simply a tool that enables and speeds up the process and makes everything more efficient.

Check out this videoMarker Training a Human – Session One (and how “reward placements” are important) It’s also on YouTube:

There are more streaming videos on the Leerburg website and in this video the trainer Michael Ellis explains Marker Training.  I like his definitions of the Active Dog vs the Reactive Dog. Quote:

The Active Dog (“Operant Dog”) understands that his behavior has an effect on his environment (and on his humans, who are an integral part of his environment). He understands that his behavior can make things happen. He has made the connection that his behavior causes a reward to happen. The Active Dog is easier to train.

The Reactive Dog ‘s behavior is driven by the reward. He doesn’t drive the production of the reward.

There’s also a video on using a Negative Marker (“no”) instead of Correction – HERE. Interesting!

January 27, 2011 at 12:29 am 11 comments

Bye bye Boogs

Tomorrow I am leaving for overseas so I won’t be updating this blog for a while.

I know… it’s a sudden change of routine – and right in the middle of his training program too! - but this might be really good for me/us.

While I am away, Boogie will stay with Wes for a few days, and then with Lisa for one week.

I predict that my absence will make Boogie forget most of the stuff that we have learned and achieved in the past few weeks …or maybe not… I  don’t know. I hope that he will be a good boy, a happy boy and that he won’t miss me too much. Me – I will be experiencing Boogie separation anxiety!

March 30, 2010 at 8:31 pm 3 comments

Changes

People say that dogs live in the moment; they adapt and go with the flow. I don’t know. People also say that dogs thrive on consistency and that a change in routine or daily structure can have an impact on a dog’s emotions and behaviors.

These past few days, Boogie seems mopier, needier and more restless than usual and I don’t know if  he misses Wes, or senses a change in the mood of this home, or if I am projecting my own feelings onto his behaviors.

As of last week…. Wes no longer takes Boogie out for his first poop walk of the day. Wes no longer comes over at 7pm and plays fetch with him for 2 hours. I see Boogie run back and forth to the window, and he paces around the apartment as if searching for something or someone. I throw his ball but he loses interest after a few minutes, curls up on the couch instead and goes to sleep. At 10.30pm when we step outside for his potty break, he pulls me towards Wes’ apartment and I have to call him away towards me.

I’m sorry Boogie. Things change.

I am trying to stay strong and keep everything consistent but it is hard. I don’t want my moods to affect this little dog who continues to bring me so much love, joy and amusement.

How do other people cope with relationship breakups where dogs are involved?

March 13, 2010 at 5:02 am 8 comments

The little things that make me smile

1. I woke up this morning and Boogie was sitting on the bed next to my head. I said “Good morning Boogie! Kiss?” He put his face in front of mine and licked my mouth.

2. Today we saw a dog on our street. Uh-oh, trouble… I called Boogie. He turned around and sat down in front of me. “See mom? I know the drill”.

3. Boogie pulling forward on the leash. I called him. He slowed down and waited. When I was caught up next to him, he pulled forward again. (Or how Boogie trained ME to heel)

4. When Boogie drops his toy by the front door or in his food bowl… then sits calmly and waits.

5. When Boogie sits at the foot of a tree and waits. Because we all know that GOOD THINGS (like squirrels) come to little dogs who sit and wait.

6. Sometimes when I pick up the leash and call Boogie to go for a walk, he looks up from the cushion and rolls over onto his back.

7. Boogie curled up tightly like a cat, face squished against cushion. This one never gets old.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

    December 24, 2009 at 7:57 am Leave a comment

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