Thursday, April 3, 2014

DVD Review: Puppy Kindergarten (puppy, clicker training)

Puppy Kindergarten, Corally Burmaster (The Clicker Training Center, 40 minutes, 2002, $30)

You’re never too young to clicker train! Or be clicker-trained!

If you only get one puppy training video, let this be the one! It is an easy yet fun and totally comprehensive course in the how and why of clicker training - and can nearly substitute for a clicker puppy group class! Unlike Puppy Love (see below), Kindergarten goes slowly with just the right amount of explanation to help you really understand and follow the four easy steps:

1.     Get the behavior (by luring with a reward, shaping it step by step, or waiting and capturing the behavior with a reward)
2.     Attach a cue to it (give it a name) then make it harder (up the ante/raise the criteria) while ensuring success
3.     Take it on the road! (generalize it)
4.     Make it distraction-proof!

Corally Burmaster’s gentle clicker training voice opens by discussing puppy development from about 2 weeks onward. She shows us the learning window with a litter of Airedales who have numerous objects to crawl over, under, around and through, thus making them comfortable with new things. She traces clicker training from its inception in the 60s with marine mammal training programs and explains the kind of treats to reward the dog with and why.  Burmaster really covers everything clicker and then some!

This DVD makes the viewer smile outloud at the puppy antics but still receove a great foundation for clicker training a pup! Just the right speed, combination, and ratio of information and antics.

Puppy Kindergarten won the Dog Writers’ Association of America (DWAA) Maxwell award in 2003 for the best video of the year.

Caveats: I purchased this DVD to review, along with three others on the same topic. This was the best: I will post reviews of the other three in the future. This DVD is available at and for the week beginning 3 April 2014 is half-price! What a deal!

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