Last night SR and I attended this lecture at the Zoo. The Humane Society and the Zoo joined forces to bring Karen Pryor to St. Louis. It was a fun, fascinating talk on understanding the animal mind. She showed videos on a lion learning to sit and do other behaviors with the use of a clicker. A gorilla was shown learning with a clicker to follow specific instructions with the clicker (positive reinforcement to guide the animal into a specific behavior).
What was most astounding was the animal being led to creatively try a new behavior of its own creation, reinforced with the click, then doing it again, so not just a random thing.
She showed an expriment with a training school for guide dogs for the blind. The dogs, trained via conventional training, voice commands and food rewards, had a 35% graduation rate. Those with clicker training had an 85% positive rate.
I'm going to find the clickers that I had for the dogs, languishing in one of the junk drawers. The problem is around here that Darlene is teaching us. She started making a snapping sound wth her mouth when she wants something.
Now Darlene "snaps" when she wants us to do something. Darned dawg, training us with her own clicker. :D
HAS ANYONE ON THE BOARD DONE CLICKER TRAINING WITH THEIR PETS?
Karen Pryor, author Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind Tuesday
September 22, 2009
7:30 - 9 p.m.
The Living World-Anheuser Busch Theater
Karen Pryor is an author with an international reputation in the fields of marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. Through her work with dolphins in the 1960s, she pioneered modern, force-free animal training methods, and became an authority on applied operant conditioning-the art and science of changing behavior with positive reinforcement. Zoo and animal trainers recognize her as the author of Don't Shoot the Dog, a classic book on animal training. She is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training. Karen will speak about her new book, Reaching the Animal Mind, in which she shares her personal experiences training and communicating with a wide variety of species and the results of her quest to find out from leading neuroscientists why clicker training works. She will be available to sign her new book which will be available for purchase at the event.
The event will be held in The Living World at the Saint Louis Zoo and will benefit the Saint Louis Zoo and the
Humane Society of Missouri.