Dog Training

I took my new little dog to a training class to get some help with the basics of getting him to be a well-mannered pet.

The training course is six weeks long and run through the local Petco.

Copper is in the Adult Dog 1 course with another little dog named Licks.

Copper and Licks are both little scaredy dogs and spent most of the lesson hiding under their respective owners’ chairs.

Fortunately the lesson was mostly about the basics of what we as owners could do to correct undesirable behavior at home.

For example, Copper has a strange habit of digging into the couch when we sit down. The trainer thought this might be because he isn’t getting enough exercise due to him being crated during the day while we’re at work.

Copper’s house training has been progressing, he no longer pees in the house, only poop. In general we’ve been doing the right stuff but the trainer still had some tips.

We take him out and reward him for pooping, but what if instead of pooping he wanders around the yard?

The solution makes sense. Take him out in the yard on a leash and keep him in the “bathroom area” of the yard. Pretty soon he realizes what we want him to do and then he gets rewarded! Success!

Copper also got some homework to work on before his next class in two weeks (the classes are normally every Monday, but we’re taking Labor Day off).

His homework is to learn how to pay attention. We teach him this by holding a treat for him by our face and saying, “Look.”

If he looks we say, “Good dog!” and give him the treat.

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Here’s Copper working on his “look.” Also a shot of my toes.

As this continues we wait longer and longer between saying, “Good dog!” and giving him the treat until he stares at our faces for ten seconds.

After the ten second point, we start doing it without the treat or in more distracting environments until he stares at our faces for thirty seconds without a treat.

He’s managed maybe two seconds of staring with a treat before the cat distracts him.

Since we’re supposed to do it without distractions we’ll have to train him without Lucky in the room in the future.

-GoCorral

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Which Lab for Grad School?

This is the microscope I use to inject DNA into nematode worms.
This is the microscope I use to inject DNA into nematode worms.

I’ve been doing some thinking lately about which lab I should work in for grad school.

As it turns out I get to choose among a few different options.

The folks at Sacramento State are okay with me doing my research at either of my labs in Davis.

I’ve been with the rice lab for almost three years now and feel I’ve gotten what I wanted to out of it.

I’ve already written some goodbye/thank you letters, but have yet to hand them out. I’m just ready to leave the rice lab.

Yesterday I looked up some information on what exactly I’d be doing if I joined the new professor’s lab at Sac State.

The professors old students finished their theses which are then stored in the school library.

Recently the library has started putting digital copies of the theses online. I read a few of the more recent ones that were uploaded.

While the research is interesting, there was nothing that I wanted to do more than the intron research I do currently.

Part of it was the occupational hazard of working with food pathogens. Most food pathogens are collected from raw food samples or from poop.

The idea of having to collect poop samples and work with them… Let’s say its not on my bucket list and leave it at that.

Continuing my intron research would be awesome though. The project has room for expansion and it fits better with what I want to do on a grander scale.

I want to create tools for people to use in other laboratories. Enhancing introns could be used in any laboratory to fine-tune the expression of a gene to the exact level required for an experiment.

I want to create tools like that when I get an official job as a researcher, so it would be best if I did my Master’s Thesis on the same topic.

So it looks like I will be attending Sac State next year but performing my research at UC Davis on introns!

-Mister Ed