Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm not a Clicker Trainer ...

Although I do use the clicker as a training tool.

Why am I not a clicker trainer?
Because the clicker is an inanimate object and doesn't need me to train it.

I'm not being obstinate here. Well, maybe I am. Language is important. It is my belief that the language, especially when we are working and playing with other species, needs to be as clear as we can get it.

What I'm trying to do is match my intent to the language that I use. If I'm clear, then there is a better chance that will come across to the animal. And that's one of the main reasons I do use the clicker as a training tool: to establish crystal clear communication.

This congruity of language is also why I don't use the word command when I ask my Ellie for a behavior. I am not interested in an obedient dog. Obedience implies a relationship that isn't very interesting to me. What is much more interesting to me is a happy, socially-skilled canine companion.

Ellie, by the way, does enjoy her practice. That's what we call our training sessions whether it is clicker training or meditation walk or happy-hip vinyasa. "Let's practice!"

Friday, June 1, 2012

STOP telling your dog what to do...

At least for a while, at least sometimes, so you can try practicing some yoga with your dog.

Yes, it's been a little while since Ellie and I blogged. We have been taking a break to explore what it means to practice together, and we've shared a little of what we've learned with others, with our first few DhYogaDog classes offered at Dog Central Station in Tucson and with a few WalkAbouts (taking our yoga off the mat, so to speak).

Ellie doesn't much care about the blogging. As for me, I realized that I was interfering with our practice by my own thoughts about what I would blog about. So much for being in the moment. So, I stepped away from the blogging.

It's been liberating.

So, what have we learned? Actually, it's what I've learned, because our DoGurus already know this stuff: Practicing yoga with your dog means that your dog gets to have the freedom of expressing their own true nature. And part of your practice is to just be in the experience.

The trick is to provide that freedom under the constraints of leash laws and the like and the need for dogs and humans to have good social skills with dogs and humans, and the need for the dog and human to work out the physics of it all. (No, Ellie, you don't get to pull me around because you need to sniff over there - let's work this out.)

And then we've also been indulging in vinyasa yoga play that just happens to have some good physical health outcomes.  Ms. Ellie has been practicing her Happy Hip Vinyasa. We'll get some video of that.

Om shantih
J and E