equine clicker training

using precision and positive reinforcement to teach horses and people

Notes from the Art and Science of Animal Training conference (ORCA): Ken Ramirez on the “Conservation Connection – Training to Save Wildlife”

As a trainer who works with both domesticated and wild animals, Ken Ramirez has had many opportunities to see how good training skills can be invaluable in many different situations. I’ve heard him talk about training at the Shedd Aquarium, as well as at other zoos and aquariums, but this was the first time he talked about training as part of conservation efforts.  In his talk he presented a nice […]

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Notes from the Art and Science of Animal Training conference (ORCA): Mary Hunter on “Good and Not-So-Good Paths to Learning”

Mary Hunter presented a talk on the use of criteria and related cues in shaping.   When shaping a new behavior, things can be going along very well until you hit a sticky point.  Trainers can respond to this in different ways, by increasing their rate of reinforcement, checking their timing, or making other changes in their training procedure.  While these are all good things to check, Mary wanted to talk about […]

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Notes from the Art and Science of Animal Training conference (ORCA): Kay Laurence on “Communicating Through Silence”

I love to hear how particular topics come about. Kay described how she started to think more about what “silence” meant when she was filming her students for a video on practicing.   She was running the video camera and didn’t interrupt or comment to the student when she made an error because it’s so difficult to edit sound out of video.  When asked about the error, the student said that […]

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Notes from the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference (ORCA): Ken Ramirez on “Bubble Rings and Beluga Whales”

I first heard about the beluga whales and bubble rings a few years ago when someone mentioned them at ClickerExpo, but I never heard the whole story about how the training was done. So I was pretty excited that Ken was going to talk about this at ORCA.  In this short talk (approx 30 minutes), he described how the project came about and how the training was done. If you’ve […]

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Notes from The Art and Science of Animal Training conference (ORCA): Dr. Iver Iversen on “Selection and Creation Processes Involved in Shaping a Novel Behavior: Method and Theory”

Dr. Iver Iversen was the keynote speaker at the conference. He is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Florida.  In his CV, he writes:  “At UNF’s animal learning laboratory, I use rats to study a) circadian rhythms of learned behavior, b) stimulus control; specifically how chains of learned behavior are formed and broken down, c) how learned behavior is maintained over long periods of […]

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Notes from The Art and Science of Animal Training (ORCA) conference: Alexandra Kurland on “Feel- Art or Science?”

These notes are a little different than the others. Instead of sharing all the details of Alex’s talk, she has asked me to give an overview and share a little bit about how becoming more aware of the small details of movement, in both myself and my horses, has helped in my training. Alex started by talking about excellence and where it comes from. Many of us were brought up […]

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Notes from the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference (ORCA): Kay Laurence on “Micro-shaping”

What is micro-shaping? The first time I heard the term was at Clicker Expo when Kay gave a presentation on shaping where she talked about the importance of clicking for very small movements that would lead directly to the final behavior, and also on the importance of having a high success rate. I can remember being in a learning lab and taking data on the behavior of a golden retriever […]

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