I was reading about Miss Inara's exploits as the recipient of learning how to perform a new behavior, specifically going to a mat on command but then thinking that "going to mat" means "going to mat when my mom is right there in front of me and not 2' away".
I like clicker training. I've tried it with pigs and chickens. If you ever want to refine your marking talents, teach a chicken to peck a target with a clicker. That is, if you can keep up with the supersonic speed of a chicken's beak. And pigs? Well, I really only attempted it once and then stopped due to the fact that when an 800lb pig wants the treat, well she gets the treat, clickers and my body parts be damned.
But dogs? They try so hard. Like ridiculously hard. Okay, not all dogs. Mina doesn't, that's for sure. She gets bored easily and if there isn't anything remarkably awesome in it for her, she's more likely to go lie down in the sun than learn stupid stuff like "battle crawl" (which she learned, just for giggles on her part, I think).
Celeste, on the other hand, is certain clickers were made by Treat Gods. She loves learning and she loves trying her best to figure out what on earth I'm trying to convey. Some behaviors she does generalize - sit, down and watch never required a lot of "re-teaching" in different environments. Stand is hard for her as is "beg" and wave and have required re-learning when she is put in a new setting. I think part of that is she doesn't really like stand or beg or wave, but she'll fling herself in a down with such wild abandon, it's amusing. Then there is the "drop" behavior which she's generalized the unwanted behavior of not dropping on command very well. She has trained me to require a second "drop" before she does it. So maybe she just thinks the release command is "drop, drop", I don't know. I'm more inclined to think she really likes her flirtpole and tug toys more than she does me rethrowing them.
Watching how different these two dogs' learn is fun. Mina is sassy, reactive on leash around other dogs and, quite frankly, disinterested in any attempts to modify that. It leads me to believe that, after acting this way for 10.5 years and with years of training that, well, she's just sassy and reactive on leash and maybe I just need to get over it. I have, actually, and generally see our walks as full of "watch me", "leave it", "crap, will you stop fricking looking at that damn dog", "sit", "for god's sake, that dog is a mile away". I've been told it's good to talk to your dogs on walks, so I figure me and Mina are on real good terms.
Celeste is totally different. She's not a HUGE fan of other dogs, but she's super sensitive to me and really looks to me for guidance. Except in the case of rabbits, in which case she looks to her inner wolf, thank you very much. Which I suppose is part of what makes her so good at clicker training and behavior modification - she's really focused, she cares about what I *think*, she's extraordinarily food motivated, and she wants to fill her little brain with anything that garners her attention and food.
Which I think has completely detracted from whatever point I was trying to make. I probably wasn't trying to make a point so much as talk about my dogs. And chickens, who I really love a lot (not as much as dogs, but surprisingly pretty close). There you have it, my meandering thoughts publicized.