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Actions Are More Important Than Words

So this is a conceptual follow up to the Because We Let Them series, to address a related but different issue.  It also gives me the opportunity to better explain something that got taken out of context from Part 4.  I’ll address that through a comment that was left on the article.

Perhaps my favorite illustration of the point I want to make today occurs in the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.  In it, Bruce Lee is going up the stairs and tells his wife Linda “I love you.”  She replies “In all the years we’ve been together, you’ve never said that.” And Bruce replies “But I meant it every day.”  Then he does kung-fu on a wall and dies.

But this really sums up the point I want to make today which is this: actions matter and words don’t.  Well, not usually.  More specifically the words don’t matter when they don’t match the actions.… Keep Reading

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People Do It Because We Let Them: Part 5

This is actually sort of an addendum to Part 4 of this series, some thoughts I had quite a bit after writing the original series.

Random Reinforcement is Not Reinforcing Randomly

This is just one of those little pedantic notes both to illustrate a different concept and to make sure that I didn’t give people the wrong idea about what I meant by writing confusingly.  In Because We Let Them Part 1, I talked about how, once a behavior is established, moving to a random reinforcement schedule tends to reinforce it further.  Basically, you end up teaching that it’s worth doing the behavior ‘just in case’ a reward is coming.

And, again, you do this only after reinforcing a behavior (such as “sit” with a dog or whatever you’re trying to get a human to do) consistently enough for it to become a normal behavior (so you reinforce the absolute hell out of it initially).… Keep Reading

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My Dog Alfie: Part 4

On Tuesday in ALFIE: Part 3, I did an update on ALFIE, the dog I had adopted myself from the Austin Humane Shelter.  I talked about some of the training I did with him (including breaking him of humping along with teaching him touch and brofist) and showed a bunch of pictures because that’s what dog updates are supposed to be about.

Today I’m going to talk about some other stuff that has happened with ALFIE! including me doing my workouts around him along with our Christmas road-trip/adventure.  Don’t worry, I’ll be babbling about training and fat loss come next week so anybody who’s getting all twisted can certainly wait a few more days.

On with the show.

Training with ALFIE!

In the full blue dog class I’m taking, one thing that they presented us with was the concept of breed specific traits.  Humans bred dogs over the years (after we fully domesticated them and I highly recommend a Nova Documentary called Dogs Decoded for a fascinating look at this) for specific characteristics. … Keep Reading

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My Dog Alfie: Part 3

Two weeks ago I did an update on Loretta.  Continuing in that vein, I’m going to spend the next two updates talking about dogs and do an ALFIE! update; mainly while I try to find a paper worth doing a research review on.  If you’re gonna get twisted that I’m not talking about magic fat loss, do us both a favor, come back next week.

Of course, there will be plenty of pictures and even a couple of videos.  Because, let’s face it, that’s what this is about: pictures of my awesome dog.  A lot of them are from the old apartment, but some are from the new house as well.

Back to Alfie

We left off in Alfie ! Part 2 back in December about a week after I had gotten ALFIE to his new home.  It was in my third floor apartment and I saw him settling down pretty much day by day. … Keep Reading

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An Update on Loretta from the AHS

I wanted to give an update on Loretta today, so that everyone who was nice enough to donate to help her (and my other dogs) as outlined in Volunteering at the Austin Humane Shelter: Thank You will know what’s going on.

Friday, Loretta went in for her surgery.  I had actually volunteered to pick her up at the vets since it’s close to where I live but apparently she doesn’t like riding in cars and they didn’t want her to mess my back seat.  So shelter staff took her up in a van and brought her back.

And she’s doing wonderfully.  Her eye was removed and, like dogs who have a leg removed, she’s doing just fine.  Dogs are adaptable, they don’t have time to mope.  Her mange is also clearing up and her overall skin and fur condition is better.  She’s still under clinic watch, they’ve been trying to clear her of ringworm for a while. … Keep Reading