For exotic and handspun yarns

And more about Animals

My next, new, passion is clicker training. This is a method of training dogs (and other animals, cats & sheep even) with positive reinforcement. It is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. I was shown how to do this by a friend (in about 10 minutes) and then I read the book, Don\'t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor.

Karen Pryor first learned positive reinforcement in training dolphins, and she has turned those skills into the most amazing, and simple, techniques for training anything -- even ourselves.

We can all use the techniques of positive reinforcement to teach the kids to clean up the dishes, teach people to speak nicely to us, and even encourage ourselves to lose weight! It is an amazing new science that transforms our relationship to the world.

In clicker training, as done with dogs, an audible reinforcer (a clicking sound) is used to mark the behavior that the trainer wants to encourage in the dog.

The first step is to let the dog know that every time it hears a click he/she is good and gets a treat. Then the trainer simply leads the animal into consciously, and willingly doing new behaviors. The results are phenomenal.

I trained a wild, year-old puppy, who had never been on a leash, to walk alertly by my side instead of pulling me down the street -- in two short walks! This puppy is now a dream to take on a walk.

This same puppy is just crazy in the house and won\'t sit still for more than two seconds. In one, ten-minute clicker training session, I taught her to sit quietly to the point where she fell asleep right on my rug.

I have to make a stretch to relate clicker training to spinning and knitting - except for the fact that so many of us also have pets. And lots of spinners have sheep - and the sheep dogs to go with them. But most of all, I am bringing this up because, like spinning and knitting, knowing this new way to relate to ourselves, and to the animals around us, enhances our lives.

Here are the books I recommend: