I’m sick and it won’t stop raining, but wow! What a great weekend. I spent the weekend at the 2010 Art and Science of Animal Training Conference, which was hosted by ORCA, an animal training lab in the behavior analysis department at the University of North Texas.
(I am still adding notes from the conference. Be sure to check back or sign up for e-mail updates to stay informed. As part of ORCA I also got to spend extra time with the speakers. I learned a lot and will post a bit about what I learned and, importantly, how I plan to apply it to my training.)
Links to some of my thoughts and notes on each speaker:
Robert Epstein, who presented on creativity and engineering novel behavior in animals
Alexandra Kurland, who discussed the loopy training model
Kay Laurence, discussed assessing your training skills
Bob Bailey, who discussed some of the history of animal training
Ken Ramirez, who talked about how good animal trainers need people skills too!
Steve Martin, who talked about motivation and trust
The panel discussion also included:
Jesús Rosales Ruiz
I’m exhausted, a bit sick with a cold and tired of the rain, but what a great weekend. The fun started Thursday with picking up Alexandra Kurland from the airport and then listening to Janet Twyman lecture during my autism class. The weekend was really a whirlwind of lecture, discussion, occasionally a bit of debate. I got up before dawn this morning and drove Bob Bailey to the airport in the rain and then came home and collapsed.
I’m still processing the weekend and need to spend some time going back over my notes. I’m really starting to understand the power of loopy training and notice when good training takes advantage of it. As well, we had some really good discussions on shaping, prompts and lures. Basically, I’m understanding better how to quickly and efficiently get behavior with minimal guessing or frustration from the animal. As well, my understanding of negative reinforcement is becoming more refined. The key now is to really play around with some of these ideas and see how they apply to training the horses, dog and goldfish I work with.