What’s with the fledgling superheroes, mammals that turn bugs into guano, or baseball go-fers, you may be wondering. I’m talking about B.A.T — Behavior Adjustment Training, the new, non-cave related frontier where Frankie’s continuing education is taking us.

As I’ve no doubt mentioned: Our trainer, Crystal, is a science geek and is always interested in refining her positive training techniques. These days her interests have turned to a protocol created by Grisha Stewart of Ahisma Dog Training in Seattle.

I asked Crystal to explain B.A.T to me — and readers of this blog —  in terms I can understand; I’m interested, but I tend to glaze over when she gets all technical on me. She was hesitant to do so because she’s just learning it herself and doesn’t want to get it wrong.

As it happens, I know Grisha from Twitter as @DoggieZen. Well, I only sort of know her, but I can be pushy. I asked if she would write about B.A.T. for me, and she said she would be happy to — after she finishes a new training film, and after she moves house. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, all I can say after one session is that it’s subtle and involves a lot of really keen observation of your dog’s body language. At the first sign of discomfort, you move away from whatever is creating stress — in this case Crystal’s dog.

On another level, this technique is made for Frankie. I often call him bat boy because he has ears that make him look capable of echolocation.

Incidentally, I’m very fond of actual bats, which are deeply misunderstood. I would much rather have them in my belfry, if I had a belfry, than pigeons.

20 thoughts on “Training Tuesday: Bat Boy!”

  1. I can’t wait to see what Grisha says because I too am a bit stumped by BAT. We tried something that I *think* is similar to it years ago, and the ONLY thing Lilly learned was that if she showed signs of fear earlier, then she never had to get close to the scary thing.

  2. Can it be used for dogs who have fear/aggression towards other dogs? I mean, hypothetically speaking, if you had a friend you traveled A LOT with a dog, but who is a freakin’ embarrassment when it comes to exuding pet friendly cheer – could it work for that? Huh, could it?!

    1. Thanks for those links! I’m not sure how this transpired on Twitter but The Sophisticated Dog volunteered to write the post for me instead of Grisha, who seemed glad to have her do it. As am I!

      1. Oh,
        NOW I read this part- sheesh. Irith (Ereet) Bloom is the Trainer’s name at Sophisticated dog in L.A. I was her roommate at clicker expo this year. She is an amazing trainer. I’m sure her article will be just as good as Grisha’s would have been!

        1. What a small world this dog training world is! Irith is going to run her piece by Grisha before sending it to me (if you had a Twitter account, Crystal, you would know this 😉 ). But maybe you can tell me the connection between Irith and Grisha (who get prizes, incidentally, for wonderful exotic names).

  3. Would love to hear more about B.A.T. too. @kimhalligan1 also mentioned it to me but found it difficult to find info (probably just me). Also read a transcript of a Twitter “dogtalk”, and found it very interesting.

  4. You are so lucky to have such a wonderful trainer!

    I did hear about B.A.T. and did a bit of research … this to me this is reminiscent to the TRUE dog/horse whispering!

    I think it’s a wonderful method.

  5. “At the first sign of discomfort, you move away from whatever is creating stress — in this case Crystal’s dog.”

    Well, that’s not entirely correct. Since Frankie has a tendency to bark or show some other distance-increasing signals toward other dogs when they are in his territory, BAT is a good choice.
    What BAT does is teach the dog to give calming signals (or any other appropriate behavior) instead of react. When the dog offers the appropriate behavior, he gets what he wants, to be further away from the other dog. It’s a perfect choiced for Frankie because he can only have food at certain times of the day and being small, he can only have so much food to begin with.

    I’m really excited to have Grisha explain it in more detail for you all!

  6. This is going to be great. Icaught the tail end of the DogTalk session with Grisha, and read the script for the rest – was fascinated and sorry that I had missed so much. I am really looking forward to this! I appreciated Crystal’s clarification and the mention of barking as one of Frankie’s distance increasing signals – a neighbor has a dog with this issue and I can pass on this training method to her.

    Great photo by the way – I see what you mean about the echolocation possibilities:)

    1. I appreciated Crystal’s clarification too. Good thing we’re communicating via blog! It took me a while to find the perfect bat boy photo of Frankie — and to crop myself out effectively — so thanks for complimenting it!

  7. I wait excitedly for Grisha’s write up! I have used a form of B.A.T. with a dog client of mine and we’ve had terrific results! The only problem is sometimes I’m not being as observant as I could be. Still working on that one. 🙂

    BTW- I loved your opening paragraph! Amazing writing!

    1. It’s actually Irith (The Sophisticated Dog) who’s going to be doing the write up but I look forward to it too. Clearly I didn’t even realize it was all about calming signals! I will have to learn to read Crystal 😉

      Thanks for your nice words about my writing.

  8. Glad to see this all heading in the direction of counter conditioning and behavior modification, not confrontational and correction based training. Great work everyone.

    1. Thank you — and welcome. I’m always pleased to meet more people who advocate humane training methods.

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