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Methodolgy for Training


Starting my academic studies was done in college where I studied comparative psychology. From there I developed an interest in ethology, behavioral ecology and neurobiology. Therefore, I use science and the latest information and techniques with the animals that I consult about and train. There is absolutely no need to hurt, scare, or intimidate any animal in order to get desired behavior. If the pet is demonstrating behavior that is seriously undesirable and/or dangerous, I often use management techniques (antecedent arrangement) to prevent the pet from offering or practicing those behaviors. Then we train the animal to do what we find desirable (differential reinforcement of alternative, incompatible and other behaviors). Because aversive techniques often create fear responses and curtail learning other than those in the hazard avoidance category, it is rare that they are ever used or advised. Attaining and modifying behavior is about controling the consequences and the resources, not about "dominating" the pet or being some kind of "alpha" figure. These are human concepts and constructs, and are often misunderstood or unknow to animals. 


Besides dogs, cats and parrots, I have also trained with: wolves (and wolf hybrids), coyotes, foxes, New Guinea Singing Dogs, equines (horses, mini horses, ponies and donkeys), llamas, giraffes, lions, cheetahs, bison, fowl (chickens, ducks and geese), a marmoset, and even a manatee.  The more exotic species were in zoos, theme parks and research or rehab facilities. Since the 1990's, I have worked as a consultant and trainer with Wolf Park in Battle Ground, Indiana. The park has also asked me to give seminars and workshops at their location for many, many years. To date, I have trained with over 40 different species!


Most animals are trained with the use of a marker signal (some people refer to this as "clicker training" ), targets, lure & reward, capturing and a large variety of other systems based on what is best for the animal and the client.  The evaluation will help to determine which system (or systems) will work best!

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