Hey, happy April Fool’s Day! Any pranksters out there? 😉
It has been all business over here. The dogs and I had our first session with their dog trainer this afternoon. We have a trainer who we refer to at work and I have been wanting to have her come out and work with the dogs forever. Now that things have finally settled down a bit I decided to seize the opportunity.
The first half of the session was mainly a meet-and-greet – getting to know the dogs and the issues we’re needing help with. During the second half of the session we began to work on some basic commands and training.
Their trainer was very nice and informative. Right off the bat, she introduced us to the clicker.
She is a big proponent of ‘clicker training’ which uses a small device that produces a clicking sound when pressed to help dogs form positive associations between the click and a desired behavior. I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first but my dogs really seemed to take to pretty immediately and by the end of the session they were sitting and listening like champs.
The basis behind the clicker training is that the sharp quick sound actually stimulates a part of the brain called the amygdala that specializes in forming quick responses and long-term retention. Another benefit of the clicker is that it’s immediate. You can click faster than you can give a verbal command so the dog knows instantly that he or she has performed the desired task rather than waiting for you to say “good dog”. Of course the clicking and command go hand in hand. Once dogs learn the command, the clicker can gradually be phased out.
Today we worked on getting them used to responding to the clicker and then they learned two skills – “sit” and “eye contact.” She gave me one additional exercise specifically for Jelly Bean who tends to be a bit more skittish than the other two. I place a treat under a small plastic cup and she has to figure out how to knock the cup over and get the treat – it’s supposed to help her build confidence. The trainer also gave us daily ‘homework’ (basically just reviewing and practicing commands). She even encouraged me to make an ‘allowance’ which is a list of positive things the dogs can earn for exhibiting good behavior.
(You’ll notice that carrots made the top of the list – my dogs go nuts for them :))
We have another session in two weeks so we’ll see how they measure up!
Breakfast this morning consisted of two Van’s Apple Cinnamon waffles, a blueberry smoothie bowl and coffee.
Lately I have been on a kick of spreading peanut butter on my waffles and making a waffle sandwich. When I was at the grocery store yesterday, I accidentally picked up the apple cinnamon flavor instead of the plain ones. Since I didn’t think the peanut butter would be particularly good with those I just topped them with a little earth balance, cinnamon and stevia. it’s good to switch things up a bit now and then. 🙂
After breakfast I went for a nice long hike. I had planned to go to the gym but the weather was just too nice to workout indoors. It was a beautiful day for a hike indeed!
Lunch was an open-faced egg and avocado salad sandwich on brown rice bread with spinach and tomato, some bell pepper slices
and 1/2 a banana with pb
I’m off to my parents’ house for dinner. It’s my sister’s last night in town before she heads back to San Diego.
Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!