It works on humans, too.

Over a year ago, I was at a party in a city about an hour from where I live. Someone who ‘knew’ all about dog training proceeded to tell me how wonderful a certain abusive (well known, televised) trainer is, and how he himself ‘trained’ his dogs. He laughed and scoffed when I told him I was a positive reinforcement trainer.

This story isn’t about him.

It’s about the teacher who overheard the conversation and decided to try to apply some of the concepts I was attempting to convey to ‘Mr. I-Bully-My-Dogs.’ We hadn’t spoken at the party – I wasn’t there long enough to be introduced.

He was working with a special needs child. That little girl LOVED, LOVED, LOVED to roller skate.  It was the only activity that brought her joy.

Based on what he heard about positive reinforcement training  that night – reward the behavior you want, and (in essence) ‘don’t see’ what you don’t want –  the teacher decided to ignore ‘bad’ behavior and only see good. Instead of reprimanding the kid for acting out, he told the girl that for each minute she was good, she earned a minute of roller skating.

Over the course of the year, the child was transformed.  Her behavior at home, in public, at school was so improved, she was ‘unrecognizable’ due to her happiness and good manners.

I got a call from a complete stranger – and it took some sleuthing to find me – thanking me for talking about dog training techniques.


2 thoughts on “It works on humans, too.

  1. Danny and I are setting up to do another estate sale. It’s on the lake in a dilapidated cottage. Been working there for 3 days. So much junk. I’m very happy to be off today and tomorrow. I’m getting Rod ready for his trip to the 1000 Islands, and Pai will only have to spend 5 hours on Friday in her crate. People are gathering there for the release of Shawn’s ashes. That pic of you and Zuki is wonderful. All is groovy here:-) E


  2. What a wonderful story. Wonderful, too, that the teacher took the time to let you know about the girl’s transformation. The experience transformed him, too–he’s never go back to the way he formerly interacted with his students.


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