As promised, this month we’re bringing you just a few “pearls of wisdom” from the wonderful ClickerExpo Luminos conference we were lucky enough to attend in October.
Over the course of the three days, there were so many “pearls” that it was difficult to choose which to share. However, here is our best attempt. For more, as always, we recommend that you aim to attend a Clicker Expo and experience these wonderful teachers for yourselves.
If that is impossible for you, we have included links to their websites, which we hope you will enjoy exploring.
Some of these “pearls” may surprise you.
Some are meant to make you think and, hopefully, encourage further discussion and investigation.
Some may be very familiar.
Some may seem a little complex.
Some may seem relatively simple.
Luminos was billed as an advanced level conference.
In his opening remarks, Ken Ramirez, Executive Vice-President (EVP) and Chief Training Officer of Karen Pryor Clicker Training, questioned what an “advanced trainer” might look like. Setting the tone for the next three days he opened our conference with these words,
“Advanced trainers are just trainers who do the basics really, really, really well.”
“Errors are just information – not opportunities for punishment”
“The goal is not to be continuously telling the animal not to make a mistake.”
“People use tools without analyzing them.”
“Be sure you’re not one of those people!” (Lynne Stephens KPA CTP)
You can find out more about Ken Rameriz here.
Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz PhD.
“It’s “Click = Treat
No click = no treat.
Without both your training will be much less effective.”
“Behavior is always initiated by environment.”
“The environment tells the dog what to do. It is always part of the cue.”
“We (humans) impose categories and labels and shouldn’t. We should look, instead at procedures and outcomes – not labels.”
(Examples of common labels used by novice animal trainers – Stubborn / lazy / excitable / crazy / has issues!)
Dr. Susan Friedman Ph.D.
“It’s not the label that causes the behavior, but the behavior that causes the label”
When you find yourself describing behavior using a label, e.g. “Oh, he is just stubborn. He’s been lazy since the day we bought him. He’s just too reactive to do be successful at….. She’s an “advanced trainer!” ☺” ask instead,
“What does that look like?”
“By stubborn, what do you mean?”
You will find this much more informative and give you a way forward in your training.
“Training is constructing new behavior.”
“Listen as passionately as you want to be heard”.
“Punishing punishers makes you fluent at punishing.”
“When we ‘just vent’ are we rehearsing attacking?”
You can find out more about Kathy Sdao here.
“Does errorless training assist learning? – Yes. Do errors in training assist learning? – Yes.”
“The dark side of mistakes:
- Decline in confidence
- Fear of the next mistake
- Hesitant to “try”
- Desires trainer assistance
- Decline in behavior quality
- More errors follow.”
When mistakes are beneficial:
- Mistake prompts more behavior
- No decline in confidence
- Mistake triggers “try” to discover what works.
- Remains engaged with training.
- Quality of behavior increases.
- Successful repetitions follow.”
I know, some of those might seem a little obscure. You had to be there. These people are really worth looking up. Have fun!
An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it. ~ John F. Kennedy