This month the Crossroads Campus crew taught teenagers how to clicker train dogs, but with one twist: WE were the dogs.

Reward for a job well done--playtime with a pit puppy, Evie

Reward for a job well done–playtime with a pit puppy, Evie

In small groups, each of us took turns being in the vulnerable position of entering the room without any idea what the others wanted us to do. (And no guys, “Shave your head!” is not an option.)

These young men always light up when the dogs come to play, but this dogless exercise brought out the little kid in everyone as we became miniature chihuahua / yorkie / pit bull mixes (these guys are creative) who had to use the TV remote, or hounds who had to scratch their long floppy ears.

Evie loving all the attention

Evie loving all the attention

What a way to get into a dog’s mind of how it must feel to hear cues and not know what humans want. We crawled around, sniffed, rolled over, and hopped on furniture. Any movement toward what the others wanted “the dog” to do would get a click and then a treat. One click, guys…not four or five :). They quickly got the hang of both clicker training and how patient and smart animals are as they learn our language.

Kudos to Julie Farris for her guidance and wonderful ideas, and many thanks to these young men for their trust as they go along with whatever ideas we adults bring to them on our Dog Day visits. This time, we all came away with a better understanding of how our four-legged friends must feel when we speak human gibberish and expect them to understand.

(Photos courtesy of Crossroads Campus)

Written on April 23rd, 2013 , Uncategorized Tags: , ,
Debbie Emory

Writing humorous fiction infused with death, dysfunction, and dads.