2014: The year in review

2014 looking back collage horizontal - small

Happy 2015! I hope that the new year is starting off wonderfully so far for you, your family, your friends, and your pets.

I have many wonderful things planned for the Stale Cheerios blog in 2015 and hope that you’ll join me as we continue to explore all things related to animal behavior, animal training, and enrichment. A big thanks to all of you who read my blog and my weekly newsletter and an especially big thanks to those of you who leave blog comments, send me emails, and chat with me on social media. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts and questions and our discussions inspire many of the posts on this blog.

Before we jump into 2015, here’s a quick look back at some of my favorite moments and blog posts from 2014.


Henry and his new toyThis past year kicked off with lots of fun animal training adventures. One of my older rats, Amy, learned how use an “elevator” to ride up and down from the rat play area. This was probably one of the coolest behaviors I trained in 2014 because it was both a lot of fun and SO practical! (Unfortunately, I lost both Amy and my other senior rat, her sister Chloe, in the second half of 2014.)

In February, foster dog Henry came to stay with me. We had a wonderful three months together, full of many adventures and lots of interesting training. In addition to basic obedience skills (such as learning to lie down on cue) and a few tricks (such as shake), Henry conquered his intense fear of meeting new people. He made many new friends during his time with me, including my friend Regan (photos), my friend Emily (photos), and many more! Because he made so much progress with his training, Henry was able to find an awesome home with the perfect family.


Flower the rat goes through the tunnelSpring of 2014 was busy, busy, busy! I attended the 6th annual Art and Science of Animal Training Conference and it was awesome, as always! You can find all of my notes from the conference part way down on my conference notes page. I loved Ken Ramirez’s talk about working with groups of animals, Kay Laurence’s talk about treat delivery, and all of the other wonderful presentations that we got to hear at the conference. I’m looking forward to the 2015 conference which is coming up in March!

As well, Flower the rat learned her super cute “Inside Out” trick and some of my friends from the University of North Texas who train exotic animals were featured in the Dallas Morning News and on the NBC evening news.


PORTL objects - croppedThe blog post I wrote last summer about behaviors that occur “randomly and all the time” was probably one of the most popular posts on my blog in 2014, judging by the number of views and shares it got. I also wrote two fun posts about how bunny rabbits and pesky squirrels can be used as reinforcers.

I did some traveling and speaking during the summer, including a wonderful trip to St. Louis, Missouri to give a two day workshop about animal training for an organization called HALO and a presentation about my thesis research that I got to give at the Dallas Zoo.

I’m looking forward to joining Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz again this summer in 2015 for another two day workshop about animal training and animal behavior in St. Louis. (More information available here.)


Horse clicker training - Standing on a matThis fall, Flower the rat and I had fun with some nose work training. I also wrote a post outlining the basics of canine nose work, if you’re not familiar with this fun (and fast growing) dog sport.

I also attended a wonderful three day horse clicker training clinic in Arkansas with horse trainer Alexandra Kurland. Lots of great photos from the clinic can be found in this blog post and all of my notes from the clinic can be found on this page.

I also started writing my Sunday science posts, which I plan to continue writing in 2015. If you have particular training concepts or topics that you’d like to see featured in a Sunday science post, just let me know!

And just recently….

Pinterest - animal enrichment board 1In the second part of 2014 I joined Pinterest and just recently I joined Instagram! If you’re on either of these social media networks, please come check out my pages and follow me. You can follow me on Pinterest here and on Instagram here.

I was initially pretty skeptical about joining Pinterest — I didn’t want one more social media site to keep up with! But, I absolutely love Pinterest and have found so many cool training and enrichment ideas on Pinterest so far.

What’s in store for 2015

I have lots of ideas for things I want to do in 2015 and blog posts I want to write! In particular, I’m hoping to share more about animal enrichment on my blog in 2015. (I’m currently reading a really interesting book about enrichment called Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals.)

I also have lots of ideas for training projects and enrichment projects to do with my two rats, Flower and Annie. So, stay tuned for lots of great articles on the Stale Cheerios blog in 2015!

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