The Art & Science of Animal Training

February 22, 2020
Hurst, United States

The Art & Science of Animal Training

2days of lectures and conversations about the science of animal training

The 12th edition of the conference will present Dr. Philip Hineline as the keynote speaker.

Two full days of educational lectures, thought-provoking question and answer sessions, and many opportunities to meet like-minded trainers and talk all about animal behavior and training.

In addition to the presentations, there be several panel discussions throughout the weekend. This will include opportunities for our speakers to discuss the presentations with each other and for you to ask questions about the presentations.

February 22, 2020
09:00 - 17:00
February 23, 2020
09:00 - 17:00

Hurst Conference Center
Hurst, TX 76054
United States

Animal trainer
Dog trainers

Emily Larlham

Emily Larlham runs the dog training business Dogmantics Dog Training in San Diego, California. She is known around the world for her popular Youtube Channel ‘Kikopup’ where she has posted over 200 free in-depth dog training tutorials.

Dr. Philip Hineline

With a B. A. from Hamilton College and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, Philip N. Hineline spent three years at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research before moving to Temple University, where he is now Professor Emeritus, having formally retired in 2011.

Mary Hunter

Mary Hunter earned an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas.  She runs her own animal training business and serves as president of The Art and Science of Animal Training, a Texas-based nonprofit

Barbara Heidenreich

Barbara is an animal training and behavior consultant specializing in avian, exotics and zoo animal training. She lectures and consults worldwide working with zoos, universities, veterinary professionals, pet owners and conservation projects.

Alexandra Kurland

Alexandra Kurland began her instructional career as a dressage rider and teacher and as an accredited TTouch Practitioner. In 1998 she launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse.

Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz

Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. He obtained his Ph.D from the University of Kansas in 1995 under the direction of Dr. Donald M. Baer.

T. V. (Joe) Layng Ph.D

T. V. (Joe) Layng received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, where he was a student of Israel Goldiamond. Dr. Layng is the co-founder of Headsprout and was its senior scientist. At Headsprout, Dr.

Steve White

In his 43rd year of a K9-centered law enforcement career Steve White is the only person to have served as a handler, trainer, training-sergeant, and supervisor for the Seattle Police Canine Unit.

Ken Ramirez

Ken Ramirez, the Executive Vice-President of animal care and animal training at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium, develops and supervises animal care and animal health programs, staff training and development as well as public presentation programs for the entire animal collection of more than 32,000 ani

Day 1
Day 2
Adduction: Combining Cues Conceptually
Experienced trainers and animals often look for new challenges and ideas to stretch and expand their abilities. In this session, Ken will focus on the art of combining cues – a type of compound cue often referred to as adduction. Although there are many types of adduction, Ken will start with the most common cue combinations that he refers to as “additive adduction.” Here’s an example: a dog is spinning, and while the dog does that behavior the trainer cues a bark. The dog continues spinning but now barks at the same time, creating, in essence, a third behavior (bark while spinning) out of two separate behaviors.
What The Textbooks Don’t Tell You About Negative Reinforcement
Most people dislike the idea of negative reinforcement, despite the fact that it is fundamental to an organism’s wellbeing. “Negative” is commonly understood as “bad” – thus, “bad reinforcement.” Furthermore, both textbooks and the general public persistently characterize negative reinforcement in terms of a simplistic story that was shown to be untenable more than a half-century ago. That simplistic story says, in essence, that organisms do not avoid rain; they merely escape from clouds, which they must be afraid of. This account insults the intelligence of the laboratory rat, let alone the human.

Experiments that gave the lie to this were accomplished in the 1950’s and 1960’s, with systematic follow-up work continuing into the 1970’s. Some of the early, key experiments need to be replicated so as to reinsert them into the literature. We shall examine a few of these, seeing that, together, their procedures distinguish discriminative from motivational stimulus functions. This will enable a coherent account of negative reinforcement that reveals ordered complexity in some phenomena of major concern.
Epic Fails! How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Bomb
This is the story of a kid who walked dogs in the Big Apple when other kids were babysitting. He so desperately needed to be right he was deathly afraid to fail. Then dogs taught him they were always right, so every training outcome laid the foundation for the next training exercise . . . especially the “failures.” So he had to lean into fear and embrace failure if he was to produce police dogs that found the crooks that got away. Curiosity became the best training partner he could ever have. If he can do it ANYONE can . . . as long as they learn to love to bomb.
Exotic Animal Training: The Constructional Approach to Addressing Extreme Fear and Aggressive Behavior
In zoological settings, we are training everything from snarling big cats to flighty herds of antelopes. Traditionally our first step has involved delivering preferred food items. But, some animals present such extreme fear responses or aggressive behavior in the presence of humans that food holds little value. Trying to use systematic desensitization and keeping animals below threshold can be challenging to apply due to enclosure design. And results are often slowly realized in these cases, if at all.

The constructional approach empowers animals to replace fear or aggressive behavior with desired responses. Usually within one or two sessions, the animal is approaching to accept desired items or experiences. When applying the constructional approach in zoos, we have a number of different challenges to address, such as enclosure design, limited visibility, needing to know the natural history of the species, and how to apply the protocol to a group of animals.
Coercion Without Aversive Stimuli
Coercion is often discussed in the context of the application of aversive control. That is, the behavior is shaped or maintained through the application or removal of aversive stimuli. Some have argued that coercion could be minimized or ended if only positive reinforcement were used to shape or maintain behavior. Work in nonlinear contingency analysis, however, suggests otherwise. This presentation will describe how the arrangement of positive reinforcement contingencies may be considered coercive and in some instance more insidious that the explicit use of aversive control. The talk will briefly describe Israel Goldiamond’s (1976) concept of degrees of freedom among alternatives, and show how its extension can help us better understand coercion and its implications. The question may not be whether or not coercion is used, but how much and of what type will we accept given different behavioral goals.
More talks
- C.A.T. Rules - Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz
- Planning your shaping from a non-linear perspective - Mary Hunter
- Shaping on a Point of Contact - Alexandra Kurland
- From the ground up: Building a skills hierarchy for competition - Hannah Branigan
- Combining the Behavior of Two or More Dogs - Emily Larlham