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Super Bowl Party and Day 17 – Route, Clicking and Targeting

Sunday morning was pretty lazy. I kind of hung around in my room and then took a nap at 12:30 or so until we had to take Harold out again for relieving at 2:00PM. I was out like a light and had to be woken up to take him out. Man was that tough going out there just after waking up.

We all ventured over to the Visitor’s Center for the Super Bowl party. It started at 3:00PM. They had: chips, chicken wings, pizza on french bread and much more. They made these very rich cupcakes that had dark chocolate frosting. I had one but wow was it rich! I went back at half time to my room to attempt to get my laptop back on the wireless network. I actually didn’t get it back on the network until Monday after lunch.

Earlier in the day Keri told me that the microwave oven gave up the ghost. So, I kept getting calls from her throughout the day as she shopped around for a new one.

I was about ready to call Darrell and Karen when I received a phone call from Harold’s puppy raising family. What a huge surprise that was. It was wonderful to talk to Robin and her mom and dad all about Harold. We talked for over an hour or at least it seemed like it. In fact, I was late for taking Harold out for the last time Sunday evening. The weekend instructor knocked on the door and I told her I was chatting with them and she said no problem. I loved talking with them. They are trying very hard to make it for graduation this Saturday. They will call me on Friday to let me know if they made it or not. Marlaina and Gary will for sure be coming so I am very excited about that.

Monday started at the usual time and man did I not want to get out of bed this morning. We went down for breakfast and then lined up to take the dogs out at 8:15AM in preparation for heading into Portland again. While waiting to go out on a route I called Keri and we worked out the final details on the gift we are getting for Robin when they arrive or one that I will mail them. Keri did an awesome job in getting it all arranged. I just hope and pray that it gets here in time. It better dang it! We paid extra to get it here so I think we will be OK.

I worked with Sioux today. She told me that Harold and I are really looking smooth together and she is quite impressed. Harold only got himself in a bit of trouble with one sniffing incident, but other then that the route was absolutely perfect. Robin and Shari would have been proud of Harold for sure.

We came back to campus and got ready for lunch. After lunch we lined up to again go to the Visitor’s Center to work on the beginnings of Clicker Training. I was called out first. I have a recording of the process and will be asking Sioux if I can post it to the blog. So, keep an eye out for that.

This first session is basically to teach clicker timing and technique with a human and the fictitious dog Wheeler. Basically, as I recall, the steps are this for teaching to find an empty chair:

1. Find the item first.

2. Step away from the item and walk to it placing your hand in a closed fist with food in it on the edge of the chair and wait for the dog to touch your hand with their nose. Once the dog touches then “Click”. The click must be done at the time of the touch.

3. Move back away slowly and then rework (this is called back chaining). Continue to work your way back a few more steps and rework.

4. Eventually the goal is to eliminate food in your fist and eventually the hand association to the point that the dog will place their nose on the chair and then you check and then click and reward.

5. The ultimate goal is to associate a command to the action and not have to utilize the clicker.

From those that I have spoken with this is a very powerful tool and is very affective in real world situations to teach your dog new things. I am excited to teach Harold all kinds of things utilizing these techniques.

On Tuesday we will actually work with Harold on finding an empty chair. On Wednesday we will go into Gresham and work on benches, light crossing buttons, ATM machines and more. I am jazzed about it.

After clicker training we went back into town and ended up at Target. I bought a couple of items and then it was time to come home.

This brings us up too the current.