- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: iReinforce.com (September 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0979681006
- ISBN-13: 978-0979681004
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Zoomility: Keeper Tales of Training with Positive Reinforcement Paperback – September 1, 2007
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Raise your hand if you've ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation while working with animals? Whether spotted by a member of the public, a work colleague, or manager, lets be honest...it's happened to most of us at some point. It's a feeling Grey Stafford knows only too well if Zoomility is anything to go by.
In the first half of Zoomility: Keeper Tales of Training with Positive Reinforcement, Grey Stafford begins by taking you on a hilarious journey of recalling those brief moments in your life when you thought nobody was watching, or at least thought nothing could go wrong during a typical training session. However, reading between the lines of the 144 pages interspersed with humorous tales, a valuable and thought-provoking message reveals itself. Here s a clue...it involves zoomility! With the ever-increasing popularity of positive reinforcement training in the worldwide zoo community and companion animal training field, it can be argued that the material in this book is a unique testament to the benefits of such a system, as it not only makes you smile, but gives you insight into learning how to appreciate the value and benefit of positive reinforcement training from a holistic point of view.
One of the features that makes Zoomility unique, is the author's effective use of anecdotes and examples to illustrate the basic principals of reinforcement schedules in a concise and simplistic manner. Furthermore, a wide range of flexible behavior recipes, using positive reinforcement, are also provided which give you the tools to construct your own behaviors with a whole range of species. This book also pays attention to the often-overlooked human aspect of working with animals. That is, Grey identifies with the frustration, commonly felt by pet owners and trainers alike, when experiencing a challenging training session, and explains how to overcome such obstacles. As a species, humans like to believe that our thoughts or actions are often infallible, when in fact we are just as likely to make a mistake as the animals with whom we work. Grey asserts that it s acceptable to make mistakes occasionally when you are learning your craft as a trainer, or merely teaching your pet to sit. As the author himself admits, living things make mistakes all the time, so long as you learn from them and remember to leave your ego at the door.
The second half of this book deals with more complex topics that illustrate how positive reinforcement can be applied to work not just with household pets that may have complicated behavioral histories, but with more experienced working and performance animals that have learned some inappropriate, or even dangerous, behavior where bad training habits may have occurred. Over the course of history, our perceived need to control an animal's behavior, rather than educate them, has prompted the invention of a multitude of devices for restraint and control. It is in this half of the story, using a little zoomility as a guide, Grey's descriptions of his own training experiences persuade the reader to question the use of aversive control and truly appreciate the power of positive reinforcement Ultimately, this book is targeted at anyone, whether you re a new pet owner, experienced animal handler, trainer, keeper, or health care professional who believes in cooperation and not coercion when it comes to building a relationship with their animal. In my opinion, when it comes to positive training solutions Zoomility provides you with the tools and motivation for the task, then hands you the reins to create a lasting change between you and the animal in your charge. --Michael Belshaw, Soundings, Spring 2008, International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA.org)
This book is full of interesting accounts of the author's animal training experience, which not only teach the principle behind each story, but also provide plenty of entertainment. The principles discussed are applicable to all types of training...The book concludes with two chapters about 'problem' animals and how to handle them, using only positive reinforcement.
...this book offers a fresh perspective... --Angela C. Binney, Animal Keepers' Forum, August 2008, AAZK.org
For thousands of documented years we've co-existed with nature and its inhabitants...oddly, there were very few individuals that could demonstrate their ability to communicate with the animals. As a race, we've been fascinated when animals can learn from us (in spite of the confusion we can create while trying to teach them). Training, teaching, classical and operant conditioning, behavioral modification, and positive reinforcement are some of several terms we've affixed to what we do when we take an idea from our heads and give it to the animal in front of us. Dr. Stafford takes the terms, the concepts, the successes, the failures, and a touch of humor, and makes a tasty bouillabaisse to consume in his book Zoomility. From beginning to end, he offers easy to grasp theories, blends them with anecdotes, and inspires others to recognize that animal training isn't a huge mystery; it's an adventure. Whether you are working with (or even planning to) large animals like elephants and orca whales, or your neighbor's Chihuahua, this book is for you. You'll find his methodologies are based in science that transfer into art form...and you my friend, are that artist. So don't hesitate another moment. Dive into this manuscript and get busy feeling the magic of partnering with animals through positive reinforcement. --Billy Hurley, General Manager and V.P. of Animal Management, Marineland's Dolphin Conservation Center
About the Author
Growing up in Cleveland, Dr. Grey Stafford started his zoological career as a marine mammal trainer at a place called SeaWorld of Ohio. For nearly 20 years, he has cared for and trained a variety of birds, mammals, and reptiles. Stafford completed his doctoral degree at Kent State University, studying New World primates. As the Director of Conservation for the Wildlife World Zoo in Phoenix, he actively promotes wildlife conservation and positive reinforcement training through weekly televised segments in Arizona and past contributions to programs such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Larry King Live, Martha Stewart, Good Morning America, and Extra. He also posts a regular pet training column on Belo Corporation's website mysweetconnection.com. Stafford has been an invited speaker for national conferences including the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) and has co-authored award winning presentations and publications on animal behavior training techniques. Stafford currently serves on the editorial advisory board for the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA). He is also a professional member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Animal Behavior Management Alliance (ABMA).
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Top customer reviews
Dr. Stafford does a wonderful job of breaking down positive training methods and explaining them in a way that can be easily understood. He progresses from explaining theory to showcasing methods that can be used to teach behaviors such as sit, stay, heel, name recalls, etc. As part of this, he also discusses what to do when the animal doesn't meet criteria, instead of using punishment. This, I feel, is so important because so many trainers are left wondering what to do when this occurs. It is also refreshing that the book highlights examples when training and animal interactions did not go quite as planned for Dr. Stafford. It is so nice to know that even the best trainers have unexpected moments when working with animals and that these events can be taken in stride.
A great book for professionals and others who would like to learn more about positive training and how to form a great relationship with their animals!