Sheeeee’s Baaaa-ack!

Not long ago I posted about Golden Retriever Grace, the adorable, smiling house-cleaner. I’ve since learned that this sweetie is 3-years-old and a petite 54 pounds. Golden Retriever Grace’s family grew tired of picking up after her. Now she picks up after herself. And, with such excitement, I might add.

Here is her dad’s latest posting of Grace cleaning.

I am seriously thinking about buying a similar type basket and teaching Alfie this GReat trick. I will keep you posted.

I commented on the video and Brad, Grace’s dad, wrote this back:

I posted my previous (and first) youtube video without really knowing what I was doing. I was surprised to see that so many had viewed it until I happened upon youtube’s video stats area where I saw that Grace’s fame was mostly due to your link. So THANK YOU for that! I see you viewed her new one that I just posted–you must check frequently for Golden videos. Grace is perfect almost every time at house cleaning, but I posted the new one mainly because I learned how to use the camera a little better and to keep my mouth shut so that people could enjoy Grace.

I wrote back to Brad, who is a clicker training advocate like myself, and told him folks always love to learn more about the dogs featured in videos, as well as how particular tricks were learned. (If you want to contact him directly, just write to bethatdog at yahoo dot com.)

I loved this response from Brad, since my distaste for the old methods such as those espoused by Millan are so repugnant.

If I had to say anything, it would be to your point about clicker training.  I grew up learning training by compulsion using Barbara Woodhouse/Cesar Millan-type methods.  I’ve learned better.  Despite their obvious love for animals, these people are abusing them unnecessarily–and training millions of others to do the same.  Barring a few cases of extremely unstable dogs, anything that you can teach by compulsion you can teach by positive reinforcement, and it’ll be a whole lot more fun for dog and handler alike.

Please check out further resources here about training, as well as this MUST-READ article/instructive discussion by Dr. Sophia Yin: Dominance Controversy & Cesar Millan).

Confusion with the term “Alpha Dog” and where it originates
Below, Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms “alpha” and “beta” wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate. Be sure to read and download his article, Whatever Happened to the Term Alpha Woof? Dr. Yin refers to Dr. Mech and this article in her discussion of the dominance controversy.

3 thoughts on “Sheeeee’s Baaaa-ack!

  1. Rochelle, Thank you for sharing this much-needed info! It has become accepted nonsense that we have to choke, poke, and beat our dogs into submission to teach them who the alpha is. We supposedly pattern this abuse after wolf behavior, but renowned expert Dr. Mech explains that non-captive wolves do no such thing. Make Love, Not War—that’s the wolf way; may we all learn. (And that video of Dr. Yin turning around the aggressive Jack Russell in four minutes should be a mandatory prerequisite to dog parenting!)

  2. My English Pointer mix is a rescue from Katrina. Her brother, Bear, a beautiful older Golden, was such a good role model. Bear has passed and Sadie needs more training. She is deaf; would the clickeer method still work if she SAW me click? I am open to suggestions. She is a barker and a jumper. When behaving, she is golden……

  3. Donna, If Sadie is 100% deaf, I don’t think a clicker is the best route. I’d try something that you know she can sense. I saw a video of Karen Pryor training a fish by using a light beam to mark behavior. So you might try a flashlight or perhaps a special hand signal that you use only for marking behavior. Here’s another idea that’ll sound objectionable at first, but could work great: an adjustable shock collar. I totally oppose using these collars to punish, but if it’s fully adjustable, the lowest setting should be just a mild sensation and not painful (I’d try it on my own wrist first to make sure). If it’s just a mild sensation, then it’ll have no meaning to the dog (just like a clicker) until you follow it with rewards to condition it as a reinforcer. Then you’ve essentially created your own clicker that only Sadie can hear! Finally, the behaviors you mention might not need clicker precision anyway. The jumping might be extinguished just by ignoring her until she’s calm. It takes patience, but if no good comes from jumping, and if affection and rewards follow being on all fours, she should learn. The barking solution depends on why she’s barking.

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