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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Don't Shoot The Dog - Karen Pryor.

I've just finished reading Don't Shoot The Dog by Karen Pryor, which I loved and found very useful, and two things especially resonated with me.

In the final chapter on Clicker Training, in the section 'Learning and Fun' Karen writes "A punished or correction-trained animal learns to give the minimum necessary in order to stay out of trouble. These learners are "good soldiers": They do what they're told, and they never volunteer. Under this regimen, even if obedient, learners remain far more interested in their own doings and private life than in whatever you or any voice of authority might want. They are therefore not only vulnerable to distractions, they are hoping for distractions."

That seems so obvious to me now it's been pointed out but it's not something I'd thought of before; that, pre clicker training, my horses were actually hoping to be distracted! I knew at times they were looking for trouble where their seemed to be to be none but assumed that they were nervous and didn't trust my judgement enough, not that they wanted to be distracted because they weren't enjoying what we were doing!  I know that nowadays they try so hard to ignore distractions because they love what we're doing together and the last thing on earth they want is to be distracted from it!

The other part that has really stuck in my mind is in the chapter on 'Reinforcement in the Real World'. Karen writes that "A curious but important corollary to training by reinforcement is that it breeds affection in both subject and trainer". I certainly know that to be true! She says "A trainer rapidly develops an attachment too.................The trainer is the source of interesting, exciting, rewarding, life-enhancing events for the subject, and the subject's responses are interesting and rewarding for the trainer so that they really do become attached. Not dependant, just attached. Comrades in the battle of life".

I so wish I'd written that last sentence! Wouldn't it be wonderful if humankind could all regard each other in the same way too - as 'comrades in the battle of life'!!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Our Wedding Day!!






      With my mum, dad, brother and his wife.                                                          
With both sets of parents                                                              


It was, without doubt, the best day of my life! The ceremony was very small and relaxed with only very close
friends and family at the registry office (they are all in the above photo) - and a cannon to pose with, which is why I picked that venue!!! 

In the evening we had about 120 guests back here for a hog roast. I'd spent weeks getting the garden ready and hired a marquee in case the weather didn't behave (it was a glorious, very hot day and we were very lucky!). Again it was all very relaxed and informal and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The hog roast, Pimms fountain and chocolate fountain were fantastic and everyone raved about them. 

Unfortunately I forgot to take any evening photos until nearly everyone had gone home but I'm hoping that other people did. Here are the afternoon photos with family and friends who came to the registry office.















The dogs got far too much to eat and slept practically all the next day!






It was a really wonderful, magical day. I couldn't really see the point of getting married until we did it but I'm so glad we did now! I love being married - it feels great!!!!!

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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!