2013: The year in review

2013 was an exciting year, full of lots of adventures and also some big changes for me. I had lots of fun training dogs, rats, horses, and other critters, as well as sharing training articles and stories on my blog.

First, here are three of my favorite training articles from 2013, in case you missed them.

1) Using breaks to improve your training
2) Your opinion doesn’t count
3) Waiting to capture a behavior?

Now, here’s 2013 in review, as well as links to some of my favorite blog posts from the past year.

walking in the snow at clickerExpo

Winter. Winter 2013 brought with it lots of wonderful opportunities for learning more about animal training and the science of training. I attended my third ClickerExpo and also the 5th annual Art and Science of Animal Training Conference at the University of North Texas, where I got to hear Dr. Susan Schneider (author of the Science of Consequences) give the keynote address. This is always one of my favorite conferences! All of my notes from the conference are available here. I think my favorite talk was Alexandra Kurland’s presentation, Clicker Training Clever Hans.


Spring. Spring was busy, busy, busy! I finished data collection for my master’s thesis and also madly started writing my manuscript. I took a break from thesis work to attend a weekend seminar with dog trainer Michele Pouliot and also to travel to Minneapolis for the annual convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). At the ABAI conference, I presented the data from my thesis research, helped lead a six-hour workshop about shaping, and heard lots of awesome presentations, including some research about shelter dog behavior.

In not so fun news, I lost two of my older rats this past spring, sweet Izzy who had been quite ill and my smartie Georgie, the first rat I clicker trained. Georgie loved learning tricks and playing shaping games.

Mary Hunter - UNT graduation

Summer. I graduated! I spent the spring and summer finishing writing my thesis, just in time to defend my thesis in June and graduate in August with my master’s in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas.

In July I also got two new young rats, Annie and Flower, who joined my two older girls, Amy and Chloe. The rats learned lots of new tricks this year. Amy learned quite a few new behaviors, including the bucket trick and learning how to interact with the ipad. Even my shy girl Chloe learned some tricks and got started doing some rat agility.

Mary Hunter and Ginger - square

Fall. I started a new job at the end of 2013, working full time doing dog training and behavior consultations for a company called Pappy’s Pet Lodge. They’ve kept me quite busy and I’m having lots of fun so far working with all of the dogs and owners who need training. My parent’s dog, Ginger, even got to do some training, including field trips into the community and learning advanced leave it games. I also did a presentation about reinforcement for the Online Equine Clicker Conference. I had a lot of fun putting my presentation together and sharing the information with the conference attendees.

So, that was 2013 in a nutshell. I’m excited to see what 2014 has in store! I have lots of ideas brewing for training projects and blog articles, as well as several bigger projects that I’m working on. So, I think 2014 is going to be a great year.

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