I’ve been going through my blog this past week and picking out my favorite blog posts from the past year. 2012 was quite a year! I acquired several new rats, did plenty of training with my rats and with the rescue horses, and completed another year of my behavior analysis master’s program at the University of North Texas.
StaleCheerios also launched a weekly e-newsletter near the beginning of 2012 which, in less than a year, has grown to nearly 300 subscribers. I really love connecting with all of you through e-mail and blog comments and learning about your animals and your training. Whether you are a new reader of the StaleCheerios blog or have been reading the blog for some time, I hope you’ll enjoy this list of the top posts from 2012. And please let me know if there are topics you would like to see on my blog in 2013!
Looking forward, I think 2013 is going to be another great year. I have several fun conferences that I am really looking forward to attending, including the 5th annual Art and Science of Animal Training Conference in February, ClickerExpo in March, and the annual convention for the Association of Behavior Analysis in May. (I’ll post notes from all of these on my blog.) I should finish up my master’s program this spring and graduate in May. I also have lots of fun ideas for training projects this year, several of which I have already begun.
StaleCheerios: The top posts of 2012
What is clicker training? This was a post that was long over due! I had a lot of fun writing this in-depth introduction to clicker training and have received lots of positive feedback out it. Check it out, and if you have friends new to clicker training or who are interested in clicker training, please feel free to share it.
Amy comes when called Coming when called is a standard behavior to teach a dog. But what about a rat? Amy proved she was quite capable of learning how to do this!
Halter training success! This was one of my big accomplishments of the summer. Beau, a rescued horse with a history of abuse, learned how to wear a halter.
Blossom’s recycling day ride Here’s another rescue horse, but one much further along her in training. Many horses hate riding out alone, but (thanks to clicker training) Blossom got a great start to trail riding this summer.
Does your animal “have to?” What do you do when your animal says “no?” I wrote this post about horses, but the ideas apply equally to any animal.
Clicker training Q&A: When to click? This post is a great example of how you can use the timing of when you click to influence the animal’s behavior. What looks like “late” clicking in the video is actually very much on purpose.
Clicker training goes to the zoo Zoo animal care is one area where clicker training and positive reinforcement training have made a huge difference in improving the lives of animals. Later in the year I also wrote about how some zoos are teaching gorillas to trade.
Animal training research: Teaching trailer loading with positive reinforcement Jaana Pohjola’s dissertation explored ways to used positive reinforcement training techniques to improve horses’ trailer loading behavior. Guess what? The horses liked the training!
Why train with protected contact? Protected contact is a useful training technique when working with zoo animals, horses, and many other species.
Don’t Shoot the Dog (a book review) This was one of the first positive training books I read, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s one I often recommend to friends who want more information about animal training or even improving their relationships with people.
Conference and Clinic notes: I posted notes on my blog last year from a clinic I attended with Alexandra Kurland and from ORCA’s 4th annual Art and Science of Animal Training Conference. You can find both sets of notes at the top of this page. I especially loved Joe Layng’s talk at the ORCA conference.
And… just for fun! A clicker trained cat goes to the beach I loved this video when I first found it! Who else but a clicker trainer would practice crate training a cat on the beach?