Training is Simple as A-B-C

Animal training can serve useful purposes, be great fun and strengthen the human-animal bond. It can also frustrate folks, especially if they have not formally studied learning theory.  Welcome to Learning Theory 101. Training is as simple as A-B-C. The “A” stands for antecedent and that is what occurs before a behavior. “B” stands for the behavior that you observe […]

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Scent Tracking as Part of Your ABC

When consulting on canine behavior problems, you will be looking at your ABCs – Antecedent – Behaviour – Consequence – as part of your functional assessment. The immediate antecedents, such as direct environment, setting the dog off doing something the owner is not happy with, are often fairly easy to spot, although sometimes challenging to address. There are excellent protocols developed […]

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The “Choice” Challenge

Thanks to Debbie Jacobs and Randi Rossman for their input on this topic. Any weird conclusions are mine alone. I have come to believe that most of us who thought we were using “choice” as a reinforcer were mistaken. Wait! Before you come running after me with pitchforks, let me explain. I’m not saying that choice isn’t a wonderful, enriching, and humane thing to […]

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Accidental Punishment

I charged straight into a positive punishment scenario by accident recently. I’ve been somewhat in the training doldrums lately, probably because I am putting so much energy into finishing my book. I have several training activities that I fall back on when I don’t have much energy. They are fairly unchallenging for me (read: I can’t mess them up too badly) but still fun for the […]

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Are ‘Free-Shaped’ Dogs Better Problem Solvers?

A look at the criticisms of lure-reward training by Carmen LeBlanc MS ACAAB CPDT. First published in BARKS from the Guild, April 2014, pp. 12-18 Most professional dog trainers have heard about criticisms of lure-reward training in recent years. These criticisms have been made along with enthusiastic claims about the superiority of free-shaped (unprompted, trial-and-error) clicker training. Those of us […]

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