This episode is all about the importance of good timing in dog training. It is the third part in a series about what I call The Dog Training Triad. You can find Part 1 here (on Management) and Part 2 here (on Rewards). In my opinion, if you can understand these three pillars, you’re well on your way to being able to train a dog (or any animal) to do anything he or she is physically capable of doing.
Here are some of the people, tools, and books referenced in this episode:
Skinner is, in my opinion, probably one of the most important scientists of the 20th Century. If you’re jonsing to nerd out on animal behavior, I suggest reading… everything he ever wrote! He has already come up on the podcast and will definitely come up again in future episodes. Here are a few things I’ve written about him in the past:
While a clicker isn’t essential to training, it can certainly be helpful. We sell a variety of kinds of clickers at StoreForTheDogs.com. I also like using the app DoodleBuddy to help demonstrate the importance of timing, while taking some of the work out of having to use a marker word yourself: Your dogs nose activates the screen, acting as a “marker.” Read more about how you can use a touchscreen device with your dog here; see this post to learn about a few of the apps I have found that you can use to make “art” with your dog — and practice using a “marker” at the same time.
I mention three books by Karen Pryor (founder of my alma mater, Karen Pryor Academy) in this episode, and here I am including a fourth: Lads Before The Wind, which is about her experiences learning to train dolphins.
–Reaching The Animal Mind is an excellent book about the science of modern dog training. It goes over some of the neurological research that has been done on the use of the clicker.
–Don’t Shoot The Dog is a classic that has a title that is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn’t a book about dogs or dog training, but rather is about how to make good use of positive reinforcement in your own life, and in order to affect change in the lives of these around you. If you are interested in Good Dog Training, this book is a must read… But if you’re a parent, spouse, boss, teacher, or really any person whoever interacts with other people, this book will only make your life better.
–Lads Before The Wind is her most personal book, and goes into great detail about her life at Sea Life Park. It’s a very enjoyable read.
–Nursing Your Baby is a book that I admit I haven’t read… yet. But I will! I think it’s really cool that this remarkable woman had a career as an expert in a totally different field where she basically trained mothers and babies, long before she found her calling as a trainer of dolphins, dogs, people, or animal trainers.
Fun Dog Fact Of The Day:
Small metal clickers, aka “Crickets” were used on the beaches of Normandy by American paratroopers who were trying to tell friend from foe in the dark. One click meant “Who are you,” and two meant “Friend.” This wasn’t a very complex code, of course, which is why they apparently weren’t meant to be used for more than one battle. You can learn more about the clicker’s military history here. Want your very own reproduction WW2 Clicker? You can get one!
Woof Shout Out:
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Special thanks to Danielle Coles and The Energy Collective for their cover of Time Is On My Side (which, like most of the songs I use on the podcast is — surprisingly! — in the public domain).