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Animal Training: Successful Animal Management Through Positive Reinforcement Paperback – July 1, 1999
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Apart from the "standard" terminology and techniques that all trainers and "would-be" trainers should know, this book also cites MANY, FULL research papers, IMATA trainers forums, IMATA presentations, etc. which would otherwise be unavailable to anyone but members of accredited organizations such as AZA and IMATA. This book is a collaborated collection of relevant information brought together by Ken Ramirez, who is the director of training and husbandry at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
As a novice trainer myself, I can attest that this book is a MUST for anyone who is serious about working with marine mammals. Trust me, this book is worth the price. Of course every facility has it's own specific ways of training their animals (and their trainers), but I felt like this book covered the bases and filled in the blanks very well.
Unfortunately, it suffers greatly from a lack of editing and therefore comes across as less than authoritative and rather juvenile. The reader must continually re-read passages to decipher the actual meaning due to incorrect punctuation, incomplete sentences, and rather humorous spelling errors. (For example agnostic vs agonistic, illicit vs elicit, pared vs paired, bare vs bear, stripped vs striped, and "specie's" and "specie" used instead of "species".) There are not only simple editing mistakes, but grammar and composition errors. In addition, there are plenty of contradictory passages. .
Many of the papers are written in a scientific format instead of conversationally, which would have been more appropriate. The Shippee, Chun, Williams paper is outstanding and out-of-place in this volume.
Some articles add nothing to the book. Gertstein obviously has little training experience, is anthropomorphic, makes motivational assumptions and needs to learn more about advanced training. Gary Wilkes' articles add little if anything to this collection. The Marrin-Cooney article needs extensive editing to improve the grade-school writing. There seemed to be confusion between predatory behavior and aggression in the Turner, Tompkins paper. I would have liked to see musth at least touched on in elephant articles. The "Animal Index" should be arranged by either scientific name (vs "rat" "mouse") or taxon for efficient use.
The editor and some of the authors are obviously literate, but the poor editing job diminishes the standing this book might have achieved. Overall, it leaves the reader with the impression that people involved in the animal field lack academic education, which is not entirely true. Ironically, the section on how to get a job advises that one's resume "represents you" and should be "grammatically correct".
Language is one way humans communicate. This book builds the case for scientific education in those editing keeper-written papers, if not for keepers and trainers themselves.