From the furry side

Clicker training
9/20/2008 8:21:49 PM by: Elsi

Sallie and I have started obedience school. A long time ago, when I was a girl (before they invented color, and when the dinosaurs were around, according to some of my students), we trained dogs with a choke-chain collar and a combination of "NO!" and "good girl!" But I'm learning to use a clicker, a palm-size gadget with a button that clicks when it's pressed. First you train the dog to associate the sound and a treat; that's called "loading the clicker." Then you use the click, the treat, and "good girl" to reinforce the behavior you want the animal to learn. Right now Sallie and I are working on her name—getting her to look at me when I say her name. I'm familiar with the theory of the clicker, its use with animals and with severely autistic children. It's an easy way to reinforce and shape behavior positively. I'm enjoying getting to use it. And I'm beginning to wonder, is the Lord training me in a similar way? Oh, not with a clicker, and not by rote. And yet, I don't really know what He has in mind for me. He is shaping my behaviors by reinforcing small changes, small actions. For example, I was at Chick-Fil-A this evening, and a woman said, "Did you speak at Boulder Valley Christian Church a few weeks ago?" Her family is seeking a church, and visited mine the day I shared at Communion (about hands; see my September 1 post). That she cared enough about what I'd said to recognize me three weeks later in a restaurant ... that says something to me. Similarly, I'm now volunteering at the Family Learning Center, working with needy children, helping them learn to read, and learn to learn. Is this where the Lord wants me now? We'll see. I'm working with pilates ... back in therapy ... training my dog ... looking at calls for stories and deadlines ... Do I hear a celestial click as I do these things?

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