This summer I revisited a childhood paradise, Hallands Väderö, an island on the west coast of Sweden.
As a child, I used to catch small shore crabs there, and get a terrible sunburn. I’d spend six hours crouching on the shoreline, with my back to the unrelenting Scandinavian sun.
No protective tan. Just very pale, sun-sensitive skin that I’ve inherited from my freckled red-headed father. Those were the days, when nobody knew about melanoma, and having a deep tan was the height of fashion.
Side note: Over the years, I’ve learned to avoid sunburn (I no longer harbor any illusions of achieving a nice tan, wear sensible long-sleeve clothes, avoid direct summer sunlight between 11 and 15, and wear sun screen lotion if I can’t avoid it).
But I’ve maintained that passion for catching shore crabs, or green crabs as you might know them by – they go by the latin name of Carcinus maenas. And this summer, I had my kids along, and they’ve inherited my fascination with these little critters.
I did an experiment. Which was a bit scary, because the outcome depended on you…! Or your fellow readers, that stumbled on this page before you.
So, I was a bit prepared that the whole project it might implode, if nobody joined. Luckily, I had just ordered some new spring bulbs, so I could go outside and do some planting instead, if things didn’t pan out as I imagined.
I had a plan B, as it were.
And now my garden is in rather a sorry state… because this project did get a lot of attention! It was really fun and engaging, not to mention important, and it reached thousands of people – getting the impact I think that this topic deserves..!
Many animal trainers, veterinarians and pet owners highlight the importance of controlling animals. Controlling them, as in restricting the animals’ movement, their choices and their opportunities to control their environment through their behaviour.
Sometimes you have to, for safety reasons.
But often you don’t – and more often than you might think. Actually, the trend in modern animal training is to deliberately and strategically shift control from the handler to the animal, while still staying safe.
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”