This is Part Two of our conversation with Sarah Owings. Sarah is a dog trainer. It may seem odd that in a podcast about all things equine, we are talking about dogs, but there is a lot of value in looking at what people are doing with other species. I learned a long time ago that the way to expand a field is not from within, but by bringing in fresh ideas from outside. So I love going to the Clicker Expo and sitting in on the presentations of other members of the faculty.
Sarah is on the Clicker Expo faculty as well. One of the characteristics all the faculty have in common is we are all life long learners. When we aren’t presenting, we are sitting in on each other’s talks. So this year when I gave my talk on “Cues evolve out of the shaping process” Sarah was sitting in the audience. We chatted afterwards about the presentation but there wasn’t enough time to really have the conversation we both wanted. Not at the Expo. We both had other presentations to get to. But not to worry. It just gave us the perfect excuse to record a podcast together. That has two great advantages. The first is Dominique got to join us for the conversation, and the second is you get to listen in.
So in this week’s episode Sarah describes for us the process she uses for teaching cues. Sarah says at the beginning what she teaches is evolving. To understand what she means by this, we describe the process for teaching cues that we both encountered when we first started to explore clicker training. For both my horses and Sarah’s dogs we very quickly decided this procedure wasn’t for us. It’s interesting to see the convergence of ideas as we work with two very different species. Sarah then describes her current procedure for introducing cues which leads to many more questions.