Yago has changed a lot since we started the clicker training: he asks, polemizes, refuses, appreciates, begs, steals…
Today, despite the nose work in the garden, the walk and the running outside, he was obviously bored. He asked me (pretty insistently) to work. Ok, let’s do it!
I like to see him so confident, even in those things that used to make him feel insecure, like walking between my legs, touching with his nose or his feet my feet and knees.
Today he’s surefooted, seems like anything would be too easy.
And… give me five? I had no expectations, since he never wanted to do it in 5 years and 7 months, but… there it was!
Yaaaaayyyyyy standing ovation, slaps, treats thrown all around and him chasing them.
We finish with him not willing to leave the room. He sits, controversial.
He has changed so much, it’s so great to see him so self-confident!
When we started the clicker training what he did the most was to sit and look at me.
A reason was that that behavior used to lead to compliments and rewards, but also because it was easy and he was never encouraged before to propose: he was always taught what to do. It was a scheme: I asked, he did, I payed.
I still remember his puzzled look when he saw that rug for the very first time. His eyes were questioning me, he seemed confused. He stared at me without a clue. I started to think about what was happening in his mind, it was like he didn’t know that he could propose something, anything! His look finally pointed the rug, and the magic started!
While he was gaining boldness, he was learning that he could propose and started to move faster and faster, showing that same behavior with growing confidence.
It makes me smile when he founds some new object and shows all the behaviors he has learned that pop in his mind and every time he peeks to see if something happens, if he hears a click, if I move, if he had success.
The moment the light turned on, the moment he understood he had the power to change his world was like turning on an engine: his mind.
He feels successful, every time, that through his actions, he conquers something and doing so he can tell me who he is, what he wants, what he dislikes, when he doesn’t agree…
I don’t know which clockwork to thank, but this new awareness transformed him: it gave him the strength to talk. It’s an extraordinary change, now I have a talking dog!
Text and video Francesca Maculan
(translation Erica Lakin)
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