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Leslie, What Kind of Treats Do You Use?

Some time ago, Elletee asked what kind of treats Leslie was giving Leo. The answer turned out not to be as simple and straightforward as you might think. Here is her detailed answer in full:
Dogs learn in different ways. Through the consequences of their own actions and/or through association ie: you get the leash, then a walk follows!

In the old days training was a process of coersion, force and intimidation.  It was hell for both the dogs and for many trainers!  In the days of heavy handed, coersive training, motivating the dogs in positive ways was never done. 

Thank goodness training has evolved and is now a much gentler, more positive relationship building process!  This kinder approach builds trust, enthusiasm, committment to work and love between partners!  It also requires a careful use of all positive "reinforcers."

As a firm believer in Positive Training methods, I strive to use all resources available to me to shape the dogs attitude and behaviors.  All our dogs need food, water, exercise, companionship and play.  So, I routinely manipulate the meal times, food quantities, exercise opportunities, availability of toys and time to play in order to use these resources as tools.

Our Wish & Gift Lists

Congratulations to all! You've done it – our minimum budget goal of $5,600 has not only been reached, but surpassed, yahooooooo!!! Current donation total stands at $5,856.00!! This means I will unequivocally be able to get Leo when he's ready next year!!! I think that's pretty frickin' remarkable. Certainly beyond my wildest dreams and way beyond anything I thought might happen when I made my first post about all this (and yes, I think I would have felt less vulnerable selling pencils naked on the street corner than I did sharing my story for all the world to see).
Estimated Minimum Budget Breakdown

$1,500 Leo's Breeder's Fee

$2,696 Hotel for 19 Days (+2 free days already donated via Hilton Reward Points)

$650 Rental Car for 21 Days at $31 per day

$355 Airfare Round Trip

$400 Meals/Misc. Expenses
So, what happens now? Well, as I mentioned in that very first post, if there were extra funds, that would enable me to go visit Leo during his training, something that our trainer, Leslie, is very eager for me to do. So, now we're working on that second plane ticket for a January visit.

And as I mentioned in my post last week (SO Close!), there were many expenses I didn't include or low-balled in my budget estimate for fear of asking for too much. Things like ground transportation to and from home to the airport ($135 round trip), a potentially more expensive plane ticket because I need no layovers and prime travel hours when I return with Leo, and a list of little things as long as your arm that really add up. Know what I mean?

Therefore, donations will continue to be accepted through November 15, 2011, with the compilation beginning distribution the following day. There are so many donors, it may take a day or two to get all the emails out.

Please know that Leo and I are very grateful to everyone and anyone who donates anything — money, time, promotion, hotel reward points, stories, beta services, beautiful banners — in support of our becoming a team together. I give you my solemn oath that every penny donated will go toward team training, a visit, and/or bringing Leo home in the spring next year. A full accounting will be provided at the end of this adventure.

~ Every donation – no matter how large or small – will receive a compilation of one-shots, outtakes, and/or short stories from the following list of authors:
  • AgoodWITCHTill I Come Marching Home, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • Alby MangrovesThe Goth King of UW, a new Edward/Garrett one-shot
  • Anais Mark
  • Bella Flan — alternate ending to Stigmata Tomato entitled Kill Phil
  • CharliDenae One Knight in Time, a new Alice/Jasper one-shot
  • DeJean Smith From the Journal of Liriope M. Hermitage (from Evermore Experience)
  • dontrun
  • DuskwatcherWorth It, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • eddiebell69 Love, Madness, and Music, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • Exquisite EdwardDark Descent, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • javamomma0921 — an original short fiction entitled The Selkie's Bride
  • just duckie Fuzzy Logic, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • KitsuShel
  • Lady Gwynedd 
  • Lady TazzDirty Money, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • MG2112 — future take from The Singer and The Sorrow
  • Mina RiveraIt Isn't Over, prologue to a new post-BD story featuring Tanya 
  • Morgan Locklear — episode from Cockeyed Optimist
  • Morgan Phoenix — outtake from Moving Violations
  • Mrs. The King — outtake or extra chapter from Late Night with Aro
  • MsKathy 
  • SaritaDreaming Red Kryptonite, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • Savage7289Play By Play, an outtake from Offside featuring the Esme Platt/Edward Masen story
  • sexilexicullen — an outtake from Quiet Storm
  • Sebastien Robichaud a new BxE outtake set in Spain from The Ice Queen and Mr McCarty
  • sleepyvalentina
  • SqueakyZorro
  • tkat681 — Bella/Edward future-take from Choices
  • tufano79a new BxE outtake Attack of the Killer Lube... It's Coming to GET YOU! from A Nerd Story of Love
  • wmr1601 More Than My Own Life, a new Bella/Edward one-shot 
  • writingbabe — new Bella/Edward one-shot
  • yellowglue Grey Skies and Light Fading, a new Bella/Edward one-shot
~  Teasers for these stories are now being posted. click on the "Compilation Teasers" button in the upper right of this page.

~ fallanydeeper is offering a custom banner or desktop wallpaper for each donation of $25 or more. Click here to view her extensive gallery of work.

~ Ten top-flight betas are offering ten lucky people their beta service for a one-shot, one each per donation of $50 or more.
•  afmtoo — Project Team Beta beta, beta for Miss Betty Smith's Full Disclosure, luvrofink's Let Me Drive. Speciality is Britishness, "but I can turn my hand to most."

•  BellaFlan claimed

•  HollettLA — beta for Project Team Beta, Sparkly Red Pen, Emergency Beta Service, and The Twilight Awards as well as multiple authors/stories. For the full list, click here.

•  katmom claimed

•  lulabelle98 — senior beta for Sparkly Red Pen, beta for DreamOfTheEndless' Beautiful Sorrow, Antevorte's Fragments, and TheEdwardians All That Remains

•  Marly580 — Project Team Beta beta, Emergency Beta Service moderator and beta, beta for Raum's De Immortalitate, and ginger1983ff's Life As I Know It

•  Perry Maxwell — beta for BellaFlan's In the Shadow of Your Heart, Gingerandgreen's Plight Thee My Troth, Purelyamuse's Masen Days, and Mac214's original fiction

•  SaritaDreaming — Twilighted validation beta, Sparkly Red Pen beta, beta for Aleeab4u's Prey for the Wicked

•  Songster — Fictionista Workshop admin, beta for Emmanuelle Nathan's This Buried Life, Spring Hale's Never Bargained for You, BettiGefecht, and ChocolateLover82. Specialist helping foreign writers with English and American idiomatic speech.

•  SqueakyZorro — Project Team Beta moderator and beta, beta for bloodonmylips's Feral Blood, Michelle M. Marie & Paige Parkker's Little Fish, Big Fish, TwiLoverSue's Once Bitten

•  SueBee0619 — beta for FictionFreak95's Vines and Meet the Masens, VirginiaMay's Arms, OneBraveLamb's Set Fire to the Rain, and SweetPoeticJustice's Gonorrhea Always Ends With A HEA

•  wmr1601 — Sparkly Red Pen beta, beta for SaritaDreaming and lilmssomething

If you are interested in a custom banner by fallanydeeper, or one of the betas above, please note that in the comment section on the paypal donation page when making your donation, Thank you.

PayPal sends me a receipt for each and every donation, so there is no need to send a copy of it to me or anyone else unless you do not receive a thank you e-card from Leo and I emailed to the address connected to your PayPal account within one week of your donation.

I've been deeply touched by the outpouring of support and generosity of our incredible community of women and men. Our thanks to each and every one of you!
SO Close!

As you can see on the Wish & Gift Lists post, we are almost to our goal. So, will I stop taking donations? Actually, no. I will be accepting donations until the compilation comes out. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons.

I mentioned in my very first post about this, extra money means I will be able to travel to Oregon to meet Leo in January, during his advance training. Leslie really wants me to come up and meet him before team training. I want to go and meet him, too — like all of you, I've only seen pictures and videos, and I can't wait to sink my fingers into that glorious coat and scratch behind those soft, soft ears.

In addition, when I researched and created the budget posted here, there were many miscellaneous expenses I left off because I was afraid to ask for too much, to ask for what I really needed. (Like ground transportation to and from the airport from my home, no small expense as I live so far away from any nearby airport.)

I never in even my wildest dreams ever thought I could raise $2,000, much less $5,600, so I set my goal for only the very barest minimum expenses I had to have, figuring I'd have to eat oatmeal and go without everything for several months to cover the rest.

Leslie, Why the Clicker?

Recently, Elletee asked why the clicker is used in training Leo, and I didn't know, though I know it's a popular training method for dogs. So, I emailed Leslie asking her "Why the clicker?" and this is her answer: 
I use the clicker to "Mark" the behavior from the dog that I like.  Because the clicker is exactly the same sound every time, the dog learns more quickly than if I used my voice and said "Good" for instance, when I see the desired behavior.  Our voices reflect so much: how we're feeling, how happy or sad we are, if we're patient or frustrated. NONE of which is relevant to Leo's efforts! The clicker communicates one simple message "You are doing the right thing!" and it doesn't include any of the multitude of overtones and undertones we convey with our voices.

Once the click sound is made I then move my hand to get the treat for Leo.  During the time that I'm reaching for and feeding him the treat, I also use my voice to convey my delight to Leo and my appreciation for his efforts! This verbal input becomes a bridge to the verbal praise he'll receive whenever he volunteers a desired behavior — and the clicker is no longer used.

The clicker is a training device only  and is phased out once Leo is good at the skill and repeats it easily. Then the skill is labeled verbally, and next, and the label is used AFTER Leo offers the behavior (in this way he can not fail!) and in the final step, the label "cue" is used to request the behavior and the reward is offered AFTER the behavior is elicited with the verbal cue. :)

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