ClickerExpo Seattle 2020

Dog
January 10, 2020
Renton, United States

ClickerExpo Seattle 2020

$354 -$595 SOLD OUT
DESCRIPTION

Clicker Expo is one of the biggest conference for dog trainers and animal behaviorists. Some of the biggest names in the world of dog training and positive reinforcement techniques are presents. 

3 events per year are organized : 2 in the USA and one in the UK.

animal behavior
EVENT DETAILS
Dates
January 10, 2020
09:00 - 17:00
January 11, 2020
09:00 - 17:00
January 12, 2020
09:00 - 17:00
Location

Hyatt Regency Lake
Renton, WA 98056
United States

Language
English
Target
Animal trainer
Behaviorist
Dog trainers
SPEAKERS

Laura Monaco Torelli

Laura Monaco Torelli is the founder of Animal Behavior Training Concepts in Chicago, Illinois. She began her career in 1991 at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, where she trained beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, river otters, and penguins.

Laurie Luck

Laurie is the owner of Smart Dog University were she helds dog training classes in Maryland, USA. Laurie delights in sharing her knowledge and experience with dog owners across the country.

Debbie Martin

Debbie is the co-owner of TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, LLC, a business focused on providing education on humane training and behavior modification and fostering collaboration between various animal behavior professions.

Sarah Owings

Sarah Owings, KPA CTP, is passionate about reaching challenging learners. She specializes in using behavioral science to help transform the lives of fearful, shut-down, and over-the-top dogs.

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.

Emma Parsons

Emma Parsons has been training dogs for more than 20 years. She specializes in managing and rehabilitating the reactive and aggressive dog. Emma is a faculty member of Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior (KPA), as well as a ClickerExpo faculty member.

Lindsay Wood Brown

Lindsay Wood Brown is a board-certified applied animal behaviorist (ACAAB) with a master's degree in psychology and a concentration in animal behavior from Hunter College. Lindsay is a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) course developer and has served as a KPA faculty member since 2012.

Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She has spent more than 30 years as a fulltime animal trainer, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. Kathy received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Hawaii.

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.

Michele Pouliot

Michele Pouliot began her animal-training career through her love of horses. She attended the Pacific Coast Equestrian Research Farm, studying under the tutelage of Linda Tellington and Wentworth Tellington.

Eva Bertilsson

Eva Bertilsson has a master’s degree in behavior analysis and a passion for all things related to behavior, learning and animal welfare. She grew up with horses, rabbits, and other animals, and ventured into dog training in the early 1990s.

Emelie Johnson Vegh

Emelie Johnson Vegh began training dogs as a teenager, after many years of involvement with horses. Her first dog was a mixed breed that competed successfully in both agility and obedience. Emelie's first Border terrier came into her life in 1994; all together she has had three terriers.

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

Chirag Patel

Chirag is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer and Pet Behaviour Counsellor working in the UK. Previously he wass the manager for The Training and Behaviour Centre at Dr Roger Mugfords Company of Animals. He now runs Domesticated Manners Pet Training and Behaviour.

Susan Friedman

Dr. Susan Friedman is a psychology professor at Utah State University who has pioneered the application of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to captive and companion animals.

PROGRAM
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Inside Their Shells: Working with “Shy” or “Skittish” Animals
Trainers often must work with an animal that is uncomfortable around people or reluctant to participate in training sessions. How do you deal with that and where do you start? What strategies are the most effective at drawing an animal out of its shell and gaining its trust? Do these strategies differ from strategies for working with fearful or reactive animals, or is it really the same thing? Why do some trainers focus on operant solutions while others focus on respondent solutions? Does it matter? What is the most effective approach to help the animal?

Ken will share his perspective on this issue by looking at various case studies where he took different approaches with each unique case, in settings as varied as the zoo, the shelter, and The Ranch. He will share why each case required a different strategy and will also point out several common tools and approaches deployed in each case.
Precise Heeling Deconstructed
Can we reverse engineer beautiful heeling? When you see a team moving together in sync, heeling looks almost like a dance. Flashy, top-scoring heeling requires fluent understanding of the position combined with complex movement skills that allows dog to seamlessly adjust his body to stay in position as the handler moves. Are dogs born with the floaty, animated gait that makes their heeling so flashy, or can we train it? (Spoiler: We can train it!)

In this presentation, we will deconstruct the complex behavior of precise heeling, analyze the differences between an adequate performance and a breath-taking one down to the atomic level. Then we will isolate the component behaviors that are needed and develop a plan to teach them so that we can optimize any dog’s movement and skills and bring that team closer to the magical ideal.
Bait and Switch: Advanced Luring Skills
The use of luring in clicker training has long been a controversial topic, with an extreme end of the opinion spectrum stating that “using lures is not clicker training.” Many clicker trainers believe lures are problematic, in that lures become required cues for responses and distract learners from an awareness of their behavior. Other clicker trainers claim that lures let them prompt desired behavior quickly, making the training process much faster. This Lab will demonstrate that both opinions can be accurate. The focus will be on the effective use of lures in a positive reinforcement program, in harmony with clicker training, while avoiding problems that hinder training progress.

This Lab will also focus on advanced lure handling skills for the trainer. Did you think that luring a dog to perform a behavior is a simple process of holding food near the dog’s nose? There is much more. Advanced luring skills offer the handler the ability to direct a learner’s specific body parts in precise directions, something that is beneficial for training a variety of positions and behaviors. Come learn how subtle differences in the location of lures and the timing of dispensing lure rewards can advance training.

The food lures will be thoughtfully omitted as visual cues evolve. As lures are omitted, effective timing of the click will continue the training progress of the behaviors.
Failing the Marshmallow Test: A Thoughtful Approach to the Teaching of Impulse
The Marshmallow Test was devised by Walter Mischel in the 1960s as a way to study delayed gratification in young children. Many of the conclusions drawn from this test have come under scrutiny, and impulse control remains a sticky concept in popular culture today. Impulse control is a hotly debated concept in the world of positive reinforcement training as well, because the way we train for it often resembles a marshmallow test for our animals.

In this Lab, we will focus on practical teaching strategies that avoid some of the frustration and emotional conflict that can come along with negative punishment and extinction. Depending on what each dog and handler team inspires, exercises may include:

Building trust in the reinforcement process via patterned food delivery
Back-chained Zen Bowl
Leave it without the “Leave it”
The “Let’s Go Shopping” Game
Understanding, Managing, and Modifying Aggressive Behavior
In this Session, using behavior science we will focus on assessing and understanding aggressive behavior. Chirag will share how he goes through this process with his clients, using presentation, video, and discussion. In the Lab that follows, he will focus on practical management and modifying aspects to aggressive behavior.
Don’t Get Burned by Blazing Clickers
Trainers in the Karen Pryor tradition have learned that when a clicker is used correctly it marks precisely the animal’s behavior that controls the reinforcer. Behavior is strengthened when the clicks becomes a reliable predictor of backup reinforcement. This is accomplished by ensuring that every click is followed by a well-established reinforcer.

However, some trainers repeatedly mark behavior without backing up the marker, a practice we call blazing clickers. Blazing clickers weaken the predictive value of the marker, resulting in slower learning, increased aggression, and, sometimes, giving up. In this Session, the science-based rationale for following every click with a backup reinforcer will be reviewed, and we will explore the faulty reasoning often used to support the practice of blazing clickers. With this information, you will be able to teach others why and how to avoid getting burned by blazing clickers.
Naked and Afraid: What If We Are Wrong About Counter-Conditioning?
“Classical beats operant” when you work to change emotional behavior. I’ve heard this for years in both academic and practical behavior settings. I’ve lived and breathed it, practically shouted it from the rooftops. And then, BOOM! Typical for my professional journey, I realized I know nothing.

These moments when I become aware of my knowledge gaps are “like the most fun thing ever.” They’re also a bit painful. Pushing against the counter-conditioning barriers I’ve found in my work with shelter animals, really listening to my mentors, and looking beyond what I thought I knew because “science said so,” I find that the science is evolving to support a shift in perspective.

Historically, classical counter-conditioning is often cited as a preferred strategy for changing emotional behavior, behaviors thought to be symptoms of negative emotional responses in certain conditions. The premise is that you can change the animal’s emotional response through counter-conditioning, and this emotional change results in behavioral change. Maybe.

Is classical counter-conditioning really the best intervention strategy for behaviors labeled as aggressive or fearful or (insert any emotion word here)? Does the implication of emotion as a cause of behavior help provide effective intervention? Effective counter-conditioning may rely on the selection (and reinforcement!) of new, desirable behavior. This puts you squarely in operant territory. Can you use counterconditioning effectively as an intervention strategy, with eyes firmly focused on observable behavior? Possible? Totally. Powerful? Heck yes.
Make the Transfer: Problem-Solving Through Cue Transfer
Cue transfer, a foundation behavior for active trainers, is too often overlooked as a tool to help clients address problems. When we teach the cue transfer skill to clients, though, we can make a huge contribution to clients’ harmonious relationships with their animals and the environments they live in.

As professional trainers, we receive many inquiries from puppy or dog owners reaching out with common concerns. These concerns might be common for us as teachers, but they are quite frustrating for the owners. As we advocate for their canine companions and relationships, we should also communicate how easy it is to incorporate foundation behaviors into the problem-solving model. Does the dog bark when the doorbell rings? Does the enthusiastic puppy jump on the counter while a delicious meal is being prepared? Is an older dog aging into his/her Golden Years while demonstrating diminished visual or auditory acuity? Is your client not sure what to do? Teach these pet owners to transfer a cue!
Mark My Words
Does the core ethic “positive reinforcement works, and coercion is dangerous” include verbal behavior, the words you choose when you speak and write? Are you as force-free with clients and colleagues as you are with the animals in your care? Can the unconditional positive regard you have for furry and feathered animals extend to every man and woman you speak with? Even on social media? Even when you think that person is ignorant, cruel, or just plain wrong? And might your answers have any bearing on the high rate of burn-out in the training profession?

Training and behavior consulting work often takes place in emotionally charged situations. The stakes can be high, and clients may be upset, argumentative, or unpleasant. At times, these same characteristics describe colleagues and competitors as well. Even so, when you speak with challenging people, you can apply the core skills of careful observation, controlled emotionality, gradual shaping, and timely reinforcement of alternate behaviors.

In this Session, we will examine a specific format for compassionate communication. Should you choose to extend “do no harm” to include verbal behavior, we will discuss key practical changes to support your commitment.
Brave Learning: Transform Training Stumbles into Training Success
Most people agree that positive reinforcement is a powerful teaching tool for animals, but we sometimes forget, or don’t know, how to apply it to ourselves. Most R+ trainers work hard to be kind to their learners, but are not so kind to themselves when training sessions don’t go as planned. Punishment inhibits behavior. The more punished we feel teaching our animals, due to gaps in skills or understanding, the less inspired we are going to be. Come learn how to bust out of the self-punishment rut and turn even the most difficult training sessions into fertile ground for growth.

The Brave Learning rubric utilizes TAGteach, R+, and the principle of Performance-Feedback-Revision. In this Lab, participants and observers will be working in teams. Each participant will be assigned a simple behavior to train. The participants’ dogs will assist, but the primary focus will be on improving trainer skills and session efficiency via self-coaching. Each team will work together to design a training plan, take baseline data, and help the trainer assess his or her skills using R+. Participants will also learn how to build on success and plan for subsequent sessions following the Brave Learning Rubric.

Come be brave! If you’ve ever felt stuck in your training, this is the Lab for you!
Training Backwards: Building Reliable Behavior Sequences with Back-Chaining
Training individual behaviors effectively via clicker training can be challenging. Connecting several behaviors into a behavior sequence that will be reliable in performance, without rewards, is a next-level challenge. Every trainer wants behavior chains that result in enthusiastic and reliable responses from their partners.

Joining three to five behaviors into a dependable performance chain is a common goal for many trainers. Imagine creating a behavior chain of 30 to 70 behaviors! The sport of Canine Musical Freestyle requires developing routines (performance chains) comprised of many behaviors. The more advanced a Freestyle team becomes, the longer the performance chain.

In 2007, Michele first learned about applying back-chaining for putting sequences together, but she did not use it extensively. However, over the past 10 years, Michele has experienced impressive results from the back-chaining tool, expanding her use and confidence in its application. In addition to improved reliability with back-chained behavior sequences, she has also experienced its effect on improving performance duration without primary reinforcers.

In this Session, Michele will share her step-by-step process of building very long behavior sequences (60+ behaviors) via back-chaining. The presentation will use video examples of chains being built as well as the outcomes of those chains in actual performance. You do not need to take part in canine freestyle to appreciate the task of building performance chains of more than 50 behavior cues in succession.
What a Cue Can Do: Developing Cueing Skills
Effective cueing is essential for achieving reliable responses. The process of adding cues in clicker training is different than in other training methods. Getting behaviors on cue is often the most difficult concept for new clicker trainers to understand because the process is somewhat counterintuitive.

This Session is about choosing and maintaining effective cues for operant behaviors as well as understanding how cues are integral to more advanced training applications. Kathy will show you how to use cues to gain control of operant behaviors. You’ll learn what a cue is—and isn’t—and how cues differ from commands. We’ll discuss how to choose cues to maximize clarity and how cues function in behavior chains.
Hippo-Cratic Oath: Training for Medical Behaviors
This Session will explore essential tools for training and maintaining successful medical behaviors. The first half of the Session will focus on key training tools such as stationing, targeting, desensitization, gating (kenneling), recalls, and improving general tactile acceptance. The Session will then shift to focus on specific techniques for success training behaviors for blood-taking, injections, medication administration, working around the mouth and head, removal from the environment, and passive restraint.

Throughout the presentation, common questions will be addressed: How do you keep a behavior with any type of discomfort from breaking down with frequent use? How do you prevent an animal from discriminating against the medical team? Can you teach animals to anticipate the novelty associated with medical behaviors? When restraint is needed—and should that be done by the primary trainer or is it better handled by someone else, to prevent a breakdown in the relationship? This Session will be a combination of lecture, video, and discussion.
Emotions: Inside Out
What does joy feel like to you? Is it the same feeling for the person sitting next to you? Is it the same feeling for your dog? Are emotions pre-wired in the brain or are they learned? These are just a few of the interesting and important questions that surround the topic of emotions. In this Session, we focus on contemporary approaches to understanding emotions, which have upturned the commonly held classical account. The benefit of gaining a more contemporary understanding about human emotions is clear, but what does it all mean in terms of the animals you care for?
Too Many? Training and Living with Multiple Dogs
Living with multiple dogs can be quite a challenge! Taking care of their basic needs, as well as training them, can be all-consuming. How do you manage multiple dogs? What if one of the dogs doesn’t get along with the others? Can you train the dogs all together? If so, what does this training session look like? How do you prevent the mayhem?

These are the questions that will be answered in this Session. We will look at daily activities like feeding, transporting, and training the dogs. What if someone comes to the door? How do you manage four dogs (or more?) How can you stimulate a group of dogs mentally? How can you play with them all at the same time? This presentation will give you practical advice on how to make living with your multiple dogs much more manageable.
Understanding, Managing, and Modifying Aggressive Behavior – In Action!
In this Lab, Chirag will describe how he works with clients to help manage and modify aggressive behaviors. Working with participants and their dogs, Chirag will demonstrate these steps practically. Dogs participating in this Lab will not be aggressive dogs or have behavioral challenges. However, Chirag will use the dogs to demonstrate how these techniques can be used with dogs that do have challenges.
What a Cue Can Do
Understanding cues is key to becoming a skilled clicker trainer. In this Lab we will explore what cues are and how they set the stage for behavior by asking the age-old question: “Does your cue really mean what your dog thinks it means?”

Working in small discussion groups along with observers, participants will be guided through teasing out the most salient aspects their cues by testing the parameters of those cues one by one. We will then use what we learn from these “saliency tests” to clear up any cuing confusions or communication glitches evidenced by dogs making mistakes.

Depending on time and the skill-level of participants, we may also go through the process of shaping a simple behavior, putting it on cue, and teaching the dogs how to wait for that cue. Behaviors taught cleanly right from the start, with cues added at the correct time, rarely need any cleaning up later on.
How to Write Course Objectives and Learning Goals
Littermates. As a trainer, you might hate to hear the word. Come to this Session and get firsthand testimony from someone who raiser littermates on purpose! Gain insight about why your clients choose littermates and learn what you can do to help them navigate the pitfalls and challenges of raising puppies together. Hear a firsthand account of the fun side—and the dark side—of littermates: what takes work, what to look out for, how to help puppies be independent. This information can assist trainers who are contacted AFTER littermates (or puppies of similar ages) in their new homes and need your help.
Solving Husbandry Dilemmas
Working on husbandry training, there are a variety of ways to time the presentation of treats. Should the food come before, during, or after a procedure? Debbie used to think there was only one way to do this effectively. However, over the years she has seen the benefits of being open to a variety of timing choices, depending on the situation and goal. In this Session she will dissect the ins and outs and the pros and cons of different treat/food delivery timing. While there is no guarantee that you will come away from this Session with more answers than questions, Debbie will clarify some of the confusion around a topic that she struggled with for years and offer more techniques for you to consider.
Problem Alarm: Training Dogs that Are Reactive to Home Visitors
Reactivity and aggression directed toward unfamiliar people entering the home is a common behavior complaint of dog owners. Many pet owners are skeptical that they will be able to make training progress, because they do not (or are unable to) have many visitors. Actually, that situation is an advantage! Training should start without unfamiliar people in the home. This Session will explore training and behavior-modification strategies that address this common issue safely, humanely, and effectively—and as part of a complete veterinary behavioral treatment plan.
All Ears: Protocol for Dogs with Sound Sensitivity
Reactivity and aggression directed toward unfamiliar people entering the home is a common behavior complaint of dog owners. Many pet owners are skeptical that they will be able to make training progress, because they do not (or are unable to) have many visitors. Actually, that situation is an advantage! Training should start without unfamiliar people in the home. This Session will explore training and behavior-modification strategies that address this common issue safely, humanely, and effectively—and as part of a complete veterinary behavioral treatment plan.
Behind the Scenes of a Successful Group Class
At first glance, teaching group classes may seem fairly easy, not needing much preparation. Just get a group of dog owners together and teach some lessons, right? Not so fast! If you want people (and their dogs) to love your class, and you want to love teaching it, there are some important elements that successful group classes have in common.

This introductory-level Session will cover two important considerations that instructors should know about before teaching group classes. While a great group class is comprised of many factors, these two can make an instant difference to your clients (and to your bottom line). This Session will look at safety (people and dog safety), as well as policies you may want to consider to make the people aspect of teaching group classes a little easier.

Safety is an important aspect of group classes, one that is often pushed to the side because class goes well almost all the time. Almost. What about that time when it doesn’t go well and there is a loose dog? Or a dog bite? Or a dog fight? Or an owner-owner altercation? Do you know what to do if there’s an incident? Have you thought about how to prevent an incident from occurring? Come to this Session and discover the safety considerations you might not be addressing.

What are your policies? Policies for payment, attendance, inclement weather, dismissal from class, refunds, etc. If you create policies—and ensure that potential clients understand them—you can save yourself a lot of time and serious headaches. This session will cover different policies to consider for potential implementation, along with examples of policies suitable for modification and use in your own business.
Smallest Success Point – In Action!
We don’t advocate flooding techniques with an animal learner. So why would we overwhelm an animal handler with too many steps in a caregiver plan?

Capturing behavior that an animal offers naturally on its own is common practice in zoological programs, but less common in canine handling and teaching. This invaluable approach can help reduce stress for everyone involved. In many cases, capturing identifies a small but crucial point of success that helps people understand how to change the conditions to change behavior.

This Lab will include lecture, video presentations, demonstrations, working-dog participation, and assistance from another team member attending the Lab. In this Lab, you’ll learn:

The benefits to capturing behavior
Considerations about when and how to apply capturing techniques
How to integrate video as a supportive tutorial
TAGteach application for the handler side of shaping plans
How to incorporate practical applications into your teaching curriculum
Record-keeping strategies to help jump-start session plans
Engaging exercises to utilize in your personal training or course curriculum
Deep Impact II: More Behaviors that Profoundly Change the Vet and Groomer Experience
These days, we know that training is about much more than “obedience” or “manners”—it’s an essential component of animal care. In fact, in the exotic animal world where Laura began her career, the focus of training is cooperative husbandry. Good medical health underpins good behavioral health, but many pets and their owners dread a visit to the groomer or vet. Some owners may also be reluctant to carry out treatment procedures with their animals in the home environment. These problems can be turned around with a simple approach that involves fun training games and engaging activities. It is important to recognize that some procedures (injections, suture removal, ointment or solution application to a sensitive or infected area, consuming medication) may result in aversive or punishing consequences.

In 2017, 2018, and 2019 Laura presented ClickerExpo Sessions entitled Deep Impact and Deep Impact II to a packed house. This year, Laura takes life-changing animal-care behaviors to a new level. Participants will learn how to set and quickly adjust criteria for husbandry behaviors, as well as how to observe canine and handler communication to gauge the dog team’s comfort level and readiness for the next step.

Behaviors and situations covered may include, but are not limited to:

Resting body on various surfaces
Integration of a second person
Benefits of capturing behavior
Chin rest onto a target
Body presentation positions
General body handling
Eye and ear tactile
Smallest Success Point: Using Capturing for Management & Problem-Solving
We don’t advocate flooding techniques with an animal learner. So why overwhelm an animal handler with too many steps in a caregiver plan?

Capturing behavior that an animal offers naturally on its own is common practice in zoological programs, but less common in canine handling and teaching. This invaluable approach can help reduce stress for everyone involved in the training process. In many cases, capturing identifies a small but crucial point of success that helps people understand how to change the conditions to change behavior.

This Session will include lecture, video presentations, demonstrations, and practical applications that relate to everyday problem-solving.
From One Reward to the Next: Get Seamless in Your Agility Training… and Beyond
The bottom line in positive reinforcement training is setting up for success and making sure desired behaviors are followed by reinforcers, which strengthen the behavior in the future. In this Session, Emelie and Eva go back to their roots in agility training. They dive deeply into making the best possible use of a reward-based paradigm, from one reward to the next.

The examples will be from agility, but the concepts are valid for all venues and all species. Attendees will learn how to work deliberately, with small but significant details, paying attention to all the parts of the training loop and using the parts to create seamless training sessions. This Session will help you develop your own training sessions. Your planning will get better, your training will become smoother, and both you and your learner will enjoy the process even more than before!
Goldiamond in the Rough: History and Insights from Skinner to Goldiamond
The history of operant conditioning is fascinating—full of people, their personalities, and their insights. With a little look at “hidden” or lesser known history, we can see both the direct line of connection between the giant mind of B.F. Skinner to current practices, as well as the links and breakthroughs of great behavior scientists, like Israel Goldiamond, that also directly influence (or should) practices today.

For example, the idea that behavior could be built bit by bit was a central tenant of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. Skinner showed that by arranging a suitable environment and then carefully selecting certain responses, completely new behaviors could be taught. Unlike the trial-and-error learning of other theorists, Skinner didn’t think that errors were necessary for learning. Skinner first began with the concept of response differentiation. Over time, he developed this into the concept of shaping! He then further refined it into the concept of errorless learning. Together, these concepts formed the basis for programmed instruction and the foundation for Israel Goldiamond’s highly influential constructional approach which solves problems by building behavioral repertoires (instead of by eliminating problem behavior). While shaping is deeply embedded in training circles, gems like the constructional approach are less explicitly influential. Yet they could (and do) form the basis of modern training protocols for problem-solving. In this presentation, Jesús will tell the story of how these ideas evolved and discuss implications for the future of animal training.
Extinction – Friend or Foe?
What do you do when your computer freezes up, or your normally reliable car fails to start? What kind of learning history have you had? Are you resilient and resourceful, or do you become frustrated and angry? What has your experience with extinction been?

When you think about how frustrating events like those described above can make you feel, it’s easy to understand why you want to avoid extinction in training. Extinction in a training context means you are no longer reinforcing something that was previously being reinforced. Confusion, frustration, and anger are often part of emotional fallout—and sound like things we would want to avoid. So why is extinction often part of training? And is it always something to avoid?

We’ll look at extinction by dividing it into three categories that will help us evaluate and determine whether to work with extinction:

Macro-extinction

Inadvertant extinction

Micro-extinction

In sum, you want to avoid the first two categories and learn to use the third. We’ll explore what these terms mean, and other related questions. When do they occur? What are some of the alternatives that can let handlers avoid the negative emotional fallout that accompanies the use of macro-extinction?

Used well, micro-extinction can help you train animals that are eager puzzle-solvers. When it’s not immediately obvious what is needed to get a click, instead of quitting, these learners keep working at the puzzle. They are confident, clever puzzle-solvers because the trainer has learned to be a resourceful, clever puzzle creator. We’ll be looking at strategies that build both successful puzzle-solvers and creators. “
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