Why clickers work

Challenging the current shortage of scientific evidence outside the laboratory

Using a clicker when training – useful or not?

Training using a clicker is very popular, and is gaining ground amongst animal trainers, but here’s what may come as a surprise to you:

When scientists compare the effectiveness of using a clicker when training to training using only treats as rewards (or reinforcers, to be more precise) outside the laboratory, the results are inconclusive.

One study found the clicker led to faster learning, one that it led to slower learning, and four studies found no difference between the two treatments. Continue reading “Why clickers work”

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How behaviour management improves animal welfare

I recently held my senior lecturer’s exam lecture (docentföreläsning).Behaviour Management

It was a 45 minute long lecture, where I introduced the concept of behaviour management and how that relates to animal welfare. Continue reading “How behaviour management improves animal welfare”

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Sharing memes on social media might change the world of animal training.

The world of animal trainers is divided.

You might not be aware of that rift, but it’s there. It took me some time to catch on to it, myself. Basically, there are two animal trainer camps, and they’re hardly on speaking terms.

two training camps

Actually, there are at least two camps. Camps within camps, perhaps, even. It’s not the purpose of this blog post to define or analyze all the potential animal training fractions, however. Continue reading “WTF?”

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Dogs and fireworks – the definitive guide to eliminate fear, anxiety, and stress

Everything you need to know to help your dog stay calm during fireworks and thunderstorms.

Is your dog afraid of fireworks? How about thunder?

Keep reading, this blog post contains everything you need to know.

Is your dog not fearful of fireworks, thunder or other loud noise?

Keep reading anyway. That may change, and you should be prepared.

fearful dogs fireworks
It’s the combination of different techniques that produce the best effect (Crowell-Davis et al., 2003: 93%). Nobody’s tried using all the techniques suggested in this blog post, as far as I know.

Continue reading “Dogs and fireworks – the definitive guide to eliminate fear, anxiety, and stress”

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20 problems with punishment in animal training

Punishment could ruin our relationships with animals, cause anxiety, aggressive behaviour, or apathy – and it easily transforms into abuse.

20-effectsRecently there was a video post in my Facebook feed that caught my attention.

Typically, on Facebook, I’m a bit of a lurker. I’m not very active, and when I do watch videos I often don’t share, like or comment – even when perhaps I should.

This time, I watched, feeling my jaw gradually dropping in disbelief, and then I actually left a comment.

I wrote:

“I’m speechless”.

I know, that was lame.

But I didn’t have time for an essay, and then I was flooded by the rest of the FB flow, so the film slipped to the back of my mind – where it’s been festering.

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I was speechless. But in the time that’s gone by, I’ve realized that I should do the opposite.

I should speak up.

Continue reading “20 problems with punishment in animal training”

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7 ways to get behaviour

Finding the optimal technique in animal training

There are two important question to ask before teaching an animal a new skill.

In another blog post, I discussed the first question, one that is extremely basic but often overlooked: “what is the cost/benefit of the behaviour”. Is it useful, useless, abuse or an ethical dilemma?

Once a behaviour has been found to be useful, it’s time to consider how to best go about teaching it.

The second question.

Which is the best technique to teach the animal how to perform a new skill?

You know the old saying “All roads lead to Rome”..?

With regards to animal training, the same is true. There are many ways to teach animals what you want them to do.

There are many techniques to “get” behaviour.

Continue reading “7 ways to get behaviour”

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