Sunday, July 1, 2012

Swamp Zebra Crossing

Welcome to summer in the swamp. My refrigerator has died. This is not ideal and has caused not a little bit of drama here in the land of Pawpower. Next up-- refrigerator shopping!

On a more amusing note, I have some Baylee tails for everyone. She is now 14 months old and has started her "for serious" grown up guide dog training. She thinks this is fabulous. She loves working, being out in public, and getting praise and treats for being a good guide swamp zebra. There is just one little thing that may drive us all to drink. The dog cannot understand that J-walking is not ok, no really, for serious, not ever.
When we go to the mini mart, we need to cross the street directly in front of us and then the one to the right. We get to the curb, and I can read her mind as she says to herself:
"The shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line! I know this!"
And I try to demonstrate that although this may be the case, it is not the best and safest option. But she doesn't care, because she must have gotten an A+ in that secret canine geometry class she took on the internetz. Nothing will do but a straight line from our corner to the one forward and to the right.

But I am not a clicker trainer for nothing, right? And my mad clicker training skillz are telling me to treat the weakest link in the behavior chain. The weakest link is that darned corner which she finds superfluous. This is going to require a lot of back-chaining of this crossing, and a pretty high reinforcement schedule for the corner she wants to miss. But I think I'll do it at night, when it's cooler.

Someone please tell me why it is my destiny to train guide dogs in the middle of a New Orleans summer? This will be the 3rd one in 4 years. In a thousand years, when Laveau retires, she can do it around the end of August. That way I'll have until June to get this stuff done, when the weather is a bit more civilized.

Stay cool, Y'all!

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