Home > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2020 >Daily Dispatch #344

December 15, 2020: Going Viral

Yesterday I wrote about monasticism, and how I envisioned living a contemplative life. Narrowly defined, a life in which I spent most of my waking hours alone, writing, reading, thinking deep thoughts. Today I conceded that I too narrowly defined contemplative life. Yes, one can spend the majority of their time alone, and thus live in a meditative fashion. This is fine for many, and in some ways enviable. But this, I decided, is too narrow a framework for me to function in.

I talked with two friends last night; in fact, had two long conversations. We are now planning on doing some horsey things together, in January. One friend is a dog trainer with extensive experience as

Tyra checks out the course

a clicker trainer. The other friend is an educator who has extensive experience using positive reinforcement with kids. Our getting together will be good for me because then I will be able to put operant conditioning theory to practice. But as importantly, I will get a much-needed social fix.

All of us, yes, even I, am feeling the effects of social isolation, brought on by the dire consequences of catching a communicable virus. We all have had to lay low socially; this of course, has been harder for some than others. I have made the best of it, and in this respect am luckier than most. I live in an area that’s not heavily populated and have plenty of non-social things to do. Many do not. It’s now time, we are all thinking, for this to be over.

Today, I again set up the December Agility course. This one has a lot of pieces, so it takes a while to construct. Then I took Tyra through it. Tyra was more interested in eating than she was in performing, but nevertheless, she did an admirable job. Her interest really perked up when we got to the free choice obstacle. Pete had this brilliant idea, which was to put spruce bows on top of the balloons in the rubber bucket. These popped immediately when Tyra stepped on them. I then had her do a turn on the haunches with her feet in the bucket.

I next worked with Raudi who was not at all interested in going through the course. There were a lot of crumbles left over from my working with Tyra. Her free choice obstacle effort, which was to turn the bicycle wheel, was lackluster. We did get a video, but Pete said after that we both seemed tired. Well, tomorrow we will try again, and I will make the free choice obstacle really simple.

After, I had just enough time to get Tinni and the dogs out. We had a wonderful walk on our trails. Towards the end of our walk, as we were approaching the trail head, I heard our neighbor yelling AT his puppy. I’d hooked up Shadow and Ryder, so I didn’t have to worry about them mixing it up with Addy. The fellow kept yelling, and Shadow, just once, let out her gruff bark. Neighbor caught his puppy and walked off without saying hello. Our dogs calmly walked past his place. I was proud of them and of Tinni.

So tonight, I will call my friends and tell them about my day. I’ll be preaching to the choir in saying that yes, positive reinforcement training is the ticket.

Next: 345.12/16/20: Wheels Keep Turning

Horse Care Home About Us Dispatches Trips Alys's Articles