My clicker training adventure began with Mister Toby, a black miniature poodle and Mr. Flaki, a white Bichon/Poodle mix who came to live with me in January 1999. They were adopted from the P.G. County SPCA and life has never been the same!
Soon after they arrived, it became clear that training was needed. Never having trained a dog before, Mr. Toby and I started a local obedience class. He was wonderful and excelled as we both learned the basic exercises. Before long I learned about competition obedience, the American Kennel Club (AKC) and obedience titles. Our first experience was earning the AKC Canine Good Citizen Award. We went on to earn the United Kennel Club (UKC) Companion Dog Title (UCD) and the AKC Companion Dog Title (CD). At the time, we also competed in the non-regular Rally class before it became the recognized and hugely popular class it is now.
After all that, he became UCD Mr. Toby, CD, CGC!
I credit Mr. Toby with teaching me the joys of competition obedience and the communion you can achieve between dog and handler. He was a joy to work with! He passed away on April 3, 2006.
Mr. Flaki started obedience class soon after Mr. Toby, but it was a very different experience! Where Mr. Toby naturally focused on me, Flaki was more interested in the world around him. And he reacted to it – strongly!! The same techniques that worked so well with Toby, didn’t with Flaki. He did earn his CGC, but it took much longer.
After awhile, it became clear that something else was needed with Flaki. The traditional training methods I had learned weren’t working. So I started my search that eventually led me to clicker training and yet again, life has never been the same!
What a joy! To take a dog from being totally focused outward and shape him inward. To take training that had become a struggle of wills and make it something he asked to do! And he asked to train in no uncertain terms! The techniques I learned turned Flaki around completely.
I credit Flaki with forcing me to find a better way and I will always be grateful to him for it.
This new path led me to the whole new world of Operant and Classical Conditioning, B.F. Sinner, Bob and Marion Bailey and Chicken Camp. Yes, training chickens! Along the road I’ve made some wonderful friends and training partners, ended up teaching basic and sub-novice level classes and private lessons as well. I’ve become an official CGC Evaluator and have also started the process to become an AKC obedience judge.
And then it was time for a puppy! A new dog that never knew about leash corrections and would think of training as one big wonderful game. So Random Wind Kara Vica at Toflaki came to join us. One more time? Life has never been the same! I bought Clickertraining: The 4 Secrets Of Becoming A Supertrainer for her. Even though I have a lot of clicker experience, I needed more advanced ideas to work with this brand new bundle of energy!
Kara was born on February 6, 2008 at Random Wind in Fairfield, Connecticut. Her breeder is Leslie Newing, her sire is Joshua, CH. Random Wind in Your Dreams and her Dam is Erin, CH. Songbird Escape to Random Wind. She joined us on April 14, 2008. She is a truly clicker trained dog. She was a star in her basic class and actually earned the AKC Puppy S.T.A.R. award on December 18, 2008 soon after the program was announced. We have a wonderful and exciting future ahead of us and plan to document a lot of it on this site. I hope you’ll join us.