Would you like to learn how to easily make some delicious (dogs say, “yes!”) and healthy dog treats? I’ve seen several folks talk about oven safe silicone mats and recipes for “fabulous” dog treats so I finally succumbed and decided to give it a try. It helped that the Honest Kitchen dehydrated fish treats and the brand new red silicon mat arrived at the post office as I was on my way to the grocery store.
So, with mat, Honest Kitchen, and a few more ingredients (I had tapioca flour, cinnamon, natural creamy peanut butter, and olive oil at home and purchased all purpose flour, and unsweetened applesauce) we were ready to go.
As I’d read up, but couldn’t find the original recipe which had prompted the Amazon order, I combined a few. Most said to be sure that the “batter” was more watery than “dough-like” which I did. In hindsight it would be helpful to have a cookie sheet instead of the aluminum foil which I placed under the mat, however after using the spatula to “smooth out” the surface, there was little spillage.
Fifteen minutes in the oven at 350 degrees (F) and they did basically pop right out. I think that some could have used a bit more time in the center to have really just come free without any extra (very minimal) effort, however, the second batch turned out easer, likely due to a pre-heated oven.
The results were two solid thumbs up from George and Blanca (our deaf dog who leads with her nose!)! Both dogs were keen for more and even the cats took an
Total time from prep (really quick, grind Honest Kitchen in mini
food processor for 20 seconds and mix all ingredients) to two batches of 15 minutes each in the oven was an hour’s investment with clean up and all.
We’ll probably re-visit this treat-making adventure as it was reinforcing for the chef and canine participants!
(how fortunate!) to be invited by my colleague and friend, Miki Saito to speak at the BAW conference on animal training and behavior in Tokyo, Japan. I was specifically presenting on my two specialties: separation anxiety and deaf dogs. However, of course we generalized to include positive reinforcement training encompassing antecedent arrangement, behavior, and consequences, thus setting the dog (rhino, polar bear, elephant) and person up for success!
It is always a great pleasure to talk with new as well as former colleagues about the science of learning and teaching. By sharing our ideas and thoughts we can continue to expand our repetoir of comprehension and knowledge so that we might always improve upon how to interact clearly and positively.
The theme of BAW was understanding how to use the science of applied behavioral analysis whether at beginner or at an advanced student/teacher level to arrange the environment and orchestrate appropriate consequences to teach and modify behavior.
We discussed using desensitization and counter conditioning to slowly acclimatize to stimuli in order to help the animal (and/or human!) to feel comfortable and confident. We talked about appropriately reinforcing behaviors that we wanted to see continue or increase. We brainstormed and modeled ways to incorporate each of these tactics into daily interactions.
Creating a global network can help in the realization that none of us are “alone” in our journey towards better cooperation and understanding. As Dr. Susan Friedman states, we are a “tribe” together.
Together we can build and create an ever greater network of support and knowledge which will enable us to better our comprehension of, enthusiasm for, and commitment to best practices in effective and efficient force free communication with all species!
How do you teach your deaf dog the sign for, “no”?
This is a pretty common question, however I don’t actually have a sign for “no”!
First, the problem with “no” is that it is really unclear. No what? No when? No where? While you might believe that your meaning is easily understood, your dog may be quite confused. Do you mean, “no, not now” or “no, never,” or “no not like that,” or “no, not here”? There is no way to be sure exactly which behavior you want to stop or change when you just use the sign “no”.
Second, when you use the sign for “no” you are actually interacting with the dog. This is problematic as you might even be inadvertently giving attention to the behavior that you would like to reduce or not see repeated.
Third, when using “no,” you might be delivering it in a frustrated, exacerbated, or angry/forceful manner. If that interaction is unpleasant the dog may decide to avoid you in the future. He might find this communication frightening and therefore associate you with scary things. The dog also might feel agitated at your emotional “no!” delivery and this could be met with aggression.
The dog may just decide to give up and figure that as they aren’t getting it “right” anyhow, they might as well not even try. These four side effects (escape/avoidance, fear, aggression, apathy) are possible when we introduce something with the intention to stop or decrease behavior and none of them are potential secondary scenarios that we want as an end result.
Finally, the fourth reason is that “no” doesn’t teach what we want the dog TO do. That is, instead of spending the time working on no, which runs the risk of all of the previous issues, why not use your energies to teach your dog what you do want them to do. Instead of jump, teach sit. Instead of race out of the door, teach impulse control. Instead of stealing off of counters, teach settle in a spot. Teaching an incompatible or alternative behavior that you can cue in place of some behavior that you don’t like helps with communication. Too, bonus, the training that you do builds trust with your dog. This creates a win/win situation for all!
Going forward you want to try to set everyone up for success by avoiding situations which may produce unwanted behaviors. In addition to this management strategy, work on teaching behaviors that you do want to see more of. While training behaviors that you want repeated, you can communicate in a clear fashion and reinforce those behaviors so that you make them worth while to do over and over.
These methods will make your pup’s and your life less stressful and more fun, which is a great way to enjoy each other’s company!