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Reaching the Animal Mind: Clicker Training and What It Teaches Us About All Animals Hardcover – June 16, 2009
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About the Author
Karen Pryor is a behavioral biologist with an international reputation in marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. She is a founder and leading proponent of “clicker training,” a training system based on operant conditioning and the all-positive methods developed by marine mammal trainers. In addition to her bestselling Don’t Shoot the Dog!, Pryor is the author of Nursing Your Baby, as well as several other books and many sci- entific papers and articles on learning and behavior. Karen has three grown children and lives in Boston with two clicker-trained dogs and a clicker- trained cat.
" Karen Pryor explains positive training methods in an easy-to-understand manner that can be quickly learned by all animal lovers." -- TEMPLE GRANDIN, Ph.D., author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human
"Karen Pryor has been at the forefront of humane and science-based training for decades, and this book shows us why. With compelling stories and accessible science, Reaching the Animal Mind is an inspiration for everyone who loves animals and wants to train them with compassion and respect. Whether you're an experienced clicker trainer or someone who just wants their dog to stop barking without having to yell, you really, truly want this book!" -- DR. PATRICIA McCONNELL, author of The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
"Karen Pryor explores new discoveries in animal learning, looks at old concepts with a fresh perspective, and tells a masterful story throughout. I would put this on the required reading list for everyone who works with or cares about animals." -- KEN RAMIREZ, Shedd Aquarium, and author of Animal Training
"Karen Pryor shows how clicker training has solved problems that traditional training methods could not solve, or worse, that those methods caused. The more that people follow the principles in this book, the better off the world will be." -- JULIE VARGAS, author of Behavior Analysis for Effective Teaching
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Top customer reviews
One thought-provoking observation -- scientists traditionally have balked at ascribing to non-humans emotions like "love" regardless of the evidence (though MRI scans are changing this), considering it to be unfounded anthropomorphism; yet many are willing to stipulate that animals have "base", negative emotions like anger or rage. Another -- a surprisingly large variety of species are tool users. The difference between homo sapiens and the rest of the animal kingdom is simply smaller than many of us want to admit.
I enjoyed this book so much that I read it three times, and I'll probably read it again in a year or so. Get it for yourself, or for your animal-loving friend.
This is not a book just about dog training.
The broad spectrum and anecdotal stories actually give the content a more robust feel without being overly technical or self promoting.
Now I need to start practicing.
She starts out by saying that she won't regurgitate what is found elsewhere or rephrase other people's experiences, instead she uses her own very wide experience to illustrate how she became a pioneer of a new way of teaching dolphins, dogs, zoo animals and finally people.
Here you will meet a wolf named D'Artagnan who had learned that he could make people back away by rushing his fence and showing what big teeth he had. With a coffee can full of kibble and a dolphin-trainer's whistle, she convinces him that it is much more fun to show off how fast he can run to a tree and back. And for that the no-longer-scared humans give him kibble. Good deal.
There are videos taken during some of the experiences described so that you can meet some rare birds whose looks only a mother (or a zoo biologist) could love. If they are too stressed to eat by being in captivity, they may well be last of their species. Enter a keeper trained in the new methods who teaches them not only to eat, but to let themselves be weighed and most rewarding, to play with toys.
And you will meet sports coaches who stop yelling at the athletes and telling them what they are doing wrong. Instead they are able to pinpoint exactly the moment when the legs are perfectly straight or the shoulder is exactly aligned or the toe is pointed and turned out correctly. All by applying the same methods in a system called TAG Teaching.
And as a bonus, there is a section describing the latest work by neurological researchers into the physical why this all works.
The only drawback is that you find yourself dropping everything and starting to work with the nearest dog, cat, ferret, tropical fish or teenager. Be warned.