Wednesday Wags 2/11/15

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My bird Siri looking into her nest box.

Instagram has inspired us this week!!!  Not just because there are some very lovely pictures there, but because it is such a wonderful place for discovery and learning.  I recently set up an account for my “Parakeet Perch” YouTube channel there, so I could connect with my fans.  As a result of adding many of my YouTube subscribers, I have learned a TON about parrots that I never knew!  I have seen photos of blue male eclectus parrots (almost always seen only in primarily green),  learned how to pronounce caique (that would be kai eek), rethought my idea of target training with chopsticks because budgies may use them as perches, and learned that European starlings can make sweet pets and are legal to own in the U.S. (what?). If you enjoy Instagram, I encourage you to look up interesting subjects, engage with others and dig a little deeper.  Picture all of the knowledge you’ll find!

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This Is No Laughing Matter. Well, Actually It Is.

Here I sit, once again, with a Blogging 101 assignment at the forefront of my mind.  The task is to link back to a comment left on another blog and to expound on it.  Well, luckily I also reblogged the post which I commented on, so you all already got to see the cute dog joke about protons having mass.  Remember that? If not, this links to the original post.  If you want another laugh, I will share the fact that I mentioned to the writer (sharer?) that the picture was “doggone funny.” Get it???

Anyway, the post got me thinking about my take on whether dogs actually do have a sense of humor. Continue reading

Reinforcement: It’s Where the Nose Goes

 “Finish!” That is the word which always preceded the final part of many exercises I and my dog were asked to perform during competitive obedience.  It meant that my dog was to walk around behind me and sit smartly at my left side.  However, that’s not all.  He had to be precise and place his sit in such a way that his right shoulder was in line with my left leg.  Although I would start sweating a little each time he started the journey around, I cannot remember a time when his cute, fuzzy butt landed in an ill placed sit.  Why?  Because anytime we worked on finishes in training, I was careful to only feed my dog treats at my left side.  Right by my leg, where his head needed to be.  I was “feeding a habit” you could say. Continue reading

Dog Training: Teaching Abstract Concepts

Prince and Storm

In my profession as a dog trainer, I am often called upon to teach dogs the basics of obedience.  Clients voice their desire to have a dog that will sit politely when asked.  Oh how wonderful it would be if Fluffy firmly planted his little puppy butt on the ground and didn’t move, even if hot dogs rained from the sky or meatballs rolled down the sidewalk in front of him.  Or perhaps they want a dog that will lay down quickly and stay in position while they go about doing tasks and perhaps move to another state (it’s ok Fluffy…we’ll send a postcard).

While it’s both wonderful and useful to teach a dog these concepts, I wonder if many owners ever think about the fact that they can teach their dogs more abstract behaviors.   Continue reading