Drinking From the Toilet

A podcast by Hannah Branigan


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This week's episode:

#32: Training Word of the Day: Latency


#31: Start Button Behaviors with Emelie Johnson Vegh and Eva Bertilsson

#30: Stimulus Control Freak

#29: Whiteboard Love

#28: Real Life Training Stuff with John McGuigan

#27: No Reward Markers with Fanny Gott

#26: The movement cycle and loopy training 

#25: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do (splitting for committed lumpers)

#24 - Raising Fearless Puppies with Laura VanArendonk Baugh

#23 - Dealing with Errors with Emelie Johnson Vegh and Eva Bertilsson

#22 - Pondering on Stimulus Control with Kathy Sdao

#21- Why Bother With Training Plans

#20 - Teaching People To Teach Dogs: Myths and Mistakes

#19 - Making Time To Train Your Own Dog

#18 - Conversation with Ken Ramirez



#17 - Debugging Your Counter Conditioning



#16 - Can't decide? Displace!



#15 - "Force Lite" with Shade Whitesel




#14 - Conversation with Andrea Harrison




#13 - The "Nature of Reinforcement"



#12 - Conversation with Theresa McKeon




#11 - What to do if you get stuck


#09 - Conversation with Amy Cook

Episode 01 - Who am I? What am I doing? Why am I in this handbasket?

In our pilot episode of Drinking From the Toilet, I introduce myself and explain the goals for this podcast. It's short and sweet. Want to reinforce me for effort? (please?) Head over to iTunes and leave a review... preferably 5 stars. Thank you!

Mentioned in this episode:

Wonderpups LLC (Hannah's company)

Clicker Expo

Karen Pryor Academy

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy

DVDs available through Tawzer:

Obedience FUNdamentals
FUNdamentals and Beyond

Episode 02 - Shaping vs Luring... mortal enemies, or not? 

So I got sucked in by some people who were Wrong on the Internet. Shaping is a training subject near and dear to my heart, so I can get a little worked up when falsehoods or misrepresentations get slung around. This episode is a bit of a soapbox yes, but also contains (I think) a few helpful tips. If you've struggled with shaping, maybe this will help.

Mentioned in this episode:

Blog post on shaping: How long should you wait for behavior?


Episode 03 - ... Guest starring Leslie McDevitt

Leslie McDevitt is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC) famous for her popular and powerful program Control Unleashed (often abbreviated as "CU"). Through her classes, seminars, books, and DVDs, Leslie helps dog owners and training instructors turn stress into confidence, and distraction into focus, using methods that are entirely based on positive reinforcement. Her Control Unleashed program is designed specifically to help dogs with "issues" learn how to relax focus and work off-leash reliably either stressful or stimulating situations. 

During this conversation we discuss:

  • How Leslie got started in dogs and what led her to develop the Control Unleashed program.
  • What really bugs her in the dog training world these days
  • The importance of splitting behavior for both canine and human learners

Mentioned in this episode:

Control Unleashed books and DVDs

Ted talk by Carol Dweck: The Power of "Yet"

Dr. Karen Overall DVM PhD DACVB CAAB (veterinary behaviorist)

Karen Pryor (author of Don't Shoot the Dog and clicker training pioneer)


Episode 04 - The Relationship Between Frustration and Extinction

Today's topic is frustration. The inspiration for today's topic is brought to you by a combination of my personal life experience and a Dr. Susan Friedman of BehaviorWorks

In one of her excellent presentations at Clicker Expo, she mentioned:

Happiness is a function of positive reinforcement
Depression is a function of punishment
and FRUSTRATION is a function of extinction. 

The first two are interesting, but the third really struck me. And so that is what this episode is about.  

Especially since I spend a lot of time thinking about frustration. 
And dealing with frustrated dogs and their frustrated handlers.
And dealing with a frustrated child.
And being frustrated myself.

At this point, I should basically be an expert. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Blog post - Did you know feelings ARE behaviors?


Episode 05 - It's more than a click (or clicker)

As you or may not know, I self-identify as a clicker trainer. I always struggle a bit to find language to succinctly describe what I do and how I do it in a meaningful way. And I still don’t have a way I’m 100% happy with, because, of course, labels can be limiting and sometimes even divisive (especially in the online dog training world).
But there is still some value in being able to briefly explain to another person who you are and what makes you different. And there is no doubt that the choices and decisions I make are different from those that another trainer might make, and are influenced by my own learning experience and philosophy.  

So for now, clicker trainer is most comfortable for me. 

A key feature of clicker training and being a clicker trainer, means that I do, in fact, often use a clicker in training. 

But that doesn't mean I have to be tied to the clicker... or the treat! With clicker training, all forms of positive reinforcement are on the table. ;-)