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CEO Karen Pryor Clicker Training & Karen Pryor Academy
Review of "Clicker Train Your Own Assistance Dog" DVD Set, Included in BHSDT Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3.
This is a unique and wonderful program for learning how to clicker train the essential skills that make a good service dog. This course is presented on four video DVDs and includes a downloadable text manual. Each scene includes on-screen script for the hearing impaired, and simultaneous narration for the visually impaired.
This program is for people with impairments, perhaps in wheelchairs, who are using a service dog. Barbara Handelman shows you how to turn that dog into a superb partner and assistant, through your own training.
The program assumes your dog has basic obedience skills – sit, down, come, a retrieve—but it does not assume that you are a clicker trainer. That, she will show you, click by click. Barbara has taken a set of key foundation behaviors and cues that underlie every behavior a service dog can do. She shows you how they are actually shaped, via clicker training. The text is pared down and crystal clear. It’s available on a file you can print out, to make an illustrated manual. It’s also narrated, in the DVD, for the visually impaired, and written, over the action, for the hearing-impaired.
The program is not broken down by end products, but by skills. Each skill section begins with clips from the first brief training session, then the second, third, fourth, with actual working service dogs being trained by their actual owners. For example we see a dog learning the behavior and the cue ‘take,’ for picking up, holding, and carrying large objects in its jaws—a dumbbell, a newspaper—and then the behavior and the cue ‘pick’ for gently picking up a pair of glasses or a credit card with its lips and front teeth. Once the skills and their cues are learned, you can combine, say, ‘Pick,’ and a previously learned ‘Pull,’ point at your feet, and the dog can immediately take your socks off.
You can skip around in the DVD’s, the program is all broken down into scenes. Go back and forth, or play one scene over and over, to get the timing. Notice, as you do that, how still and calm the teachers are. There are no wasted moves, no dog-confusing chatter. Barbara explains exactly why we are quiet as we train; and exactly why there is no need for correction or reprimands.
In addition to being a great self-teaching course, this program is a lesson in the multi-leveled benefits of clicker-training for developing a happy, reliable, service dog that can continue to learn all its life.
BHSDT Tier 1 Student
I’m a newer student, only in Phase 1. So far I’ve been thrilled with the quality and depth of content in the programming. I’m still undecided how I’m going to move forward with all of this acquired skill and knowledge but I know with confidence that I will be well equipped and prepared to take on the challenges of expanding my current dog training business to include Service Dog Training.
I’ve looked at other programs that are offered but none come close to the depth and scope of the materials and expectations with the BHSDT program. It has been worth every penny.
Barbara brings decades of experience both as a service dog trainer and user. She has the perspective of both the emotional ups and downs of the training side of the journey as well as the insight of the types of trained tasks that will be required of the dog. As well as the frustrations of public access.
Martha brings decades of experience from the training perspective that includes screening for SD candidates both through breeders and shelters/humane societies. She has been on the front lines of curriculum and policy developments with the Hearing Dog Program spanning several decades. When interacting with her, you can hear the years of experience in teaching fellow dog trainers.
Christina is a true academic and type A personality. She has a trained and keen eye for details and research. During the monthly discussions you can tell she is in the background scrounging through the web and documents to find vetted information. This adds so much to the affirmation of the discussion and why science based, positive reinforcement training is vital to the longevity of the career of the canine.
Together as a team they bring balance, depth of education and experience.
I’m looking forward to being challenged, coached and directed to become the best SD trainer that I can be. I am confident in the program and the leadership team to achieve my training goals.
BHSDT Tier 1 Student
I really enjoyed watching Pan’s training year in video. It was fun to watch him problem solve the individual sessions and eventually get to the point of learning the complex tasks. Starting from the beginning and seeing him start with nose targeting the hand, transferring that skill to the stick and then generalizing similar skills to his feet shows how those vital foundation behaviors can be taught and generalized through clicker training. That by individually teaching the dog to think through the scenarios without much input from the handler is vital to creating a dog who can problem solve.
The videos also depicted lots of work building difficulty of individual tasks, around distractions, working at distance, and adding duration. It was fun to see Piper’s responses to the larger animals, and Pan having to work around children and food at the farmer’s market.
The video of Pan building his working retrieve was a great way to view the chaining of individual skills, and then to see that transfer over and build with targeting for him to take things from you to deliver to someone else and then deliver back to you.
I found Pan’s puppy frustration very interesting with the push top ball toy. It was a valuable lesson to see how being aware of how long your sessions with a dog run for as well as how you reinforce them while making things more difficult or increasing the criteria without losing their interest.
It was interesting to hear how Pan’s love of balls never transferred over to a full love of a playing retrieve, and that his retrieve really was all about work for him. And you could definitely see how a very strong desire to hand target is an extremely important component of teaching a working retrieve.