Clicker Training Using the Karen Pryor Method - I Love Super Happy Funstick!
Clicker Training Starter
I first became aware of Karen Pryor and her clicker training method when I was a young puppy. My owner, and I use the word "owner" here very loosely, purchased a book off of Amazon called "Getting Started: Clicker Training for dogs". I thought "here we go again another stupid dog training book"! Some of these books are really humiliating and insulting to my advanced intelligence! So I decided to look it over in the privacy of my kennel while he was at work. I prefer to do all of my reading like this as he can sometimes be a little annoying while I am trying to concentrate. After looking it over, I was impressed! Here was finally a positive dog training book! I decided to give it a try! But first I needed several naps to prepare myself for dealing with my sometimes stubborn and hyper owner.
The next day after my owner arrived home from work, I greeted him with my usual over the top enthusiasm and let him wind down a little by grooming my beautiful coat. After that it was time to get to work! I started off with some pretty basic stuff. The first thing he learned was what I like to call "Click the clicker and give me a treat One". Here's the sequence; I reward him by sitting and looking good, he clicks the clicker, he gives me a treat. Simple right?! By the way my owner is kind of a cheap SOB and he usually buys cheapo hot dogs and cuts them up into small cubes for our training sessions. I would really prefer some type of healthier alternative, maybe a low fat IAMS or an organic snack. I try to keep myself in pretty good shape and looking good by running around the yard and doing my yoga barking chants. I also like to do catch and release cat hunting. So if I had my choice, I would personally buy something different, but try writing a check or using a debit card when you are dog. People seem to flip out!
We then worked on some other simple things like "Click the clicker and give me a treat Two" or Down as it is called in the book. "Click the clicker and give me a treat Three"identified in the book as "Come when Called" for some strange reason. I literally had him doing all this stuff in the first day! Finally, after several days of this we decide to try something a little more challenging for my owner.
"THE" Super Happy Funstick
I had a plan to further motivate my owner. We would expand on a part in the book called target training! One day I cleverly laid an old Darke County fair cane and one of his favorite little smiley face balls he likes to play throw with at his feet. By the way, I like to keep him playing throw as long as possible because it is really a great aerobic workout! Just as I thought, he looked at the two parts like he had come up with some world changing invention! We are really on the same wavelength! I hated to tell him that they already make a similar target stick out of aluminum for professional use! Oh well, let him think it was his idea! You could also buy a sturdy small diameter dow rod at Lowe's, Menard's or Home Depot to substitute for the vintage fair cane or use a lesser fun normal ball.
The magic of "THE" Super Happy Funstick
So, he cut a small slit in the smiley face ball just big enough to fit the end of the cane into and "THE" Super Happy Funstick was born! The smiley ball drives him nuts for some reason. Whenever we train he starts talking in an excited higher pitched voice. It's crazy but, but hey it really makes him happy and a happy owner means more treats for me! So how do we use "THE" Super Happy Funstick?
I like to incorporate it into my motivational program as something I like to call "Click the Clicker and give me a Treat Four". Or as it's titled in the book "Target Training". Here's the sequence:
He rubs a treat on Smiley Face, teasing Smiley Face into a frenzy.
He then puts the ball down at a level where I can give it a sniff and touch my nose to the ball! MMMMMM. Click! Treat delivered! Hahaha in your face Smiley Face I get the treat! Sorry that was kind of mean.
Now you get your owner doing all kinds of crazy stuff. Encourage him to move it everywhere! Really make him move! After all he could probably stand to drop a few pounds too! Wherever the ball goes follow it! Touch it with your nose. Click. Treat time! Mix it up..touch it with your paw. Click. Heyho treat time! I get my owner running through obstacles. He will try to keep me from touching the ball but I am in much better shape and faster! I don't exercise like a maniac for nothing! That's it. Pretty simple and hours of fun! Great bonding time, not only do you teach some valuable skills here, you're making memories! I love "THE Super Happy Funstick"!
Seriously! I give this book four paws up! It's fun, positive and motivational! Wait strike that. That four paws up thing may not be so positive. Bad Images! How about a 10 out of 10 on the Scooby Snack scale! Give it a try!