Are you interested in animal training?

Mary Hunter and her horse Apollo


On this site I share stories of my animal training adventures, information about the science of animal training and behavior, and tips and advice to help you improve your training.

Join me as we explore the best training strategies for creating fast learning, effective communication, and enthusiastic, willing animals.

If you’re new to Stale Cheerios, I recommend that you start by visiting this page to learn more about Stale Cheerios and that you visit my Top Posts page.

~Mary Hunter



Recent posts from the StaleCheerios blog


Poisoned cues at tax time

As some of you know, I serve as the president for the Art and Science of Animal Training. In addition to organizing the annual ASAT conference, I take care of all of the behind-the-scenes administrative duties, including managing the website, answering emails, and paying the bills.   Even though nonprofits don’t pay taxes, they still […]

Continue Reading | 0

Reminder: You’re always training

Several years ago, Ken Ramirez gave a talk at the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference which was called “Training when you’re not training.” You can read my notes from Ken’s talk in this post. One of Ken’s main points was that training is always going on. We have many informal interactions with our […]

Continue Reading | 0

Offered behaviors and unwritten rules

On the Thursday before ClickerExpo, Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and I gave a one-day PORTL workshop to an excellent group of about 40 Karen Pryor Academy trainers.  Here’s one interesting idea that came up during our discussions. As we interact with our animal or human learners, the patterns of behavior we reinforce can sometimes unknowingly create […]

Continue Reading | 0

Grown-ups and initial training environments

Apollo and I have been working on Alexandra Kurland’s “the grown-ups are talking” exercise. This is a polite manners exercise that teaches the horse to stand calmly next to you for an extended duration of time with his head straight ahead. One important consideration when we first started this exercise was our training environment. When […]

Continue Reading | 1
ginger sleeping on the rug

Making alternative plans

When you are training an animal, you are working with another living creature. What happens during training is an interaction between this particular animal and your training plan. In some cases, the animal does something that you didn’t anticipate.  I’ve been thinking this week about what happens when things don’t go as planned. What happens […]

Continue Reading | 0