Friday, April 18, 2008
Riley is doing a 3-part series of workshops with the cat trainers at the Cincinnati Zoo. He had his second one this week on Monday morning. They learned about clicker training, which is what they use with the cats and other animals at the zoo. It's also something we've read about for working with Pablo, though we hadn't used an actual clicker. We like the ideas of positive reinforcement, luring and shaping behaviors we want, and ignoring those we don't. The kids have been even more committed to this than I have (even when they're the ones getting nipped!) -- as I've wanted to resort to harsher methods in my more stressed out moments with our active, nipping little puppy. Thankfully, Riley and Maya have kept me true to my own ideals in those moments! Just as with all aspects of people/home/animal care here, I consider myself the one responsible for the puppy care, and the kids have no assigned puppy duties; yet they have been so amazingly helpful with every aspect of taking care of Pablo-- staying attentive for when he's at the back door wanting to go out to "potty," redirecting him to his toys when he's using furniture or shoes or people as chew toys, and with other basic puppy training.
After the zoo class, the kids and Pablo and I took a trip to the pet shop for a clicker; and I later picked up a couple of clicker training books and a book about Labs that has lots of pretty pictures, breed information, and some drawings of dog anatomy. At Pablo's vet appointment yesterday they got to talk with the vet assistant about their questions and concerns about people having dogs' tails snipped (they were surprised when they saw in the book that their are bones in the tail).
Here is Riley drawing a picture while waiting for the zoo workshop to start.
Maya and Seth at the zoo playground
A squirrel that Maya spent a long time watching
Maya and Seth outside the fox's den
Riley and Pablo clicker training
Maya holding an earthworm before moving him from the sunny, dry spot where she found him to a shadier, muddier area
Seth and Pablo enjoying the water
These aren't animal-related, but here are a couple more pictures from home this week:
Riley playing guitar
Maya checking out a rocks-and-minerals field guide