Thursday, October 22, 2009

Educating Ellie: The Yoga of Park

I wonder if I need to change my title here, as Ellie is educating me.

Park is a neutral reinforcement training strategy, not a clicker training strategy. The idea is to ignore the dog until the dog "self-manages" and lays down. The dog is leashed, and can't move more than one or two feet from the handler.

Every morning, about 5:45 am, I take Ellie to the park and attach her to one of the benches supplied for the handicap next to the ballfield on the corner. I take my cup of tea, plenty of treats, and an extra leash. I attach the extra leash to the bench, and I hold the other. (I do this in case some other dog who isn't under control threatens Ellie, so I can quickly unhook her, yet still have my leash attached to her.)

We do a combination of Park and Attention, maybe sneaking in some Sit, Touch, and Watch Me with Distraction. Park is for when no one is around. I switch to Clicker Training when there is movement; people, other dogs, bicycles, children, birds, leaves. When the movement is gone, I go back to park, drink my tea.

We are getting to know those movement folks! Each day is a little less intense. She's coming along.

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