03 Mar

Bob Bailey and Marian Breland Bailey receive the 2016 Edward L. Anderson Jr. Award

2016 ASAT ORCA conference bannerAt the 2016 Art and Science of Animal Training Conference, we were thrilled to honor the first recipients of a new award, the Edward L. Anderson Jr. Award. The ceremony took place at our Saturday night banquet dinner.

If you’ve been part of the animal training community for any amount of time (or even if you’re not an animal trainer), you are probably aware that animal training has evolved A LOT over the past century. We have a much greater knowledge of basic behavior principles and also a much better understanding of the behavior of both domesticated and wild animals. Modern trainers regard animals as intelligent, emotional creatures that are able to learn all sorts of complex behaviors and concepts!

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18 Jan

Something wicked this way comes: A brief history of the “Wicked Minds” Conference

The ORCA conference…

The Art and Science of Animal Training Conference…

The Wicked Minds Conference…

Over the years, our conference has been known by a few different names. In this post, we’ll share a bit more about the history of our conference and why it truly is a “wicked” event.

The six wicked minds of the Wicked Minds Conference

The ORCA Conference

The first Art and Science of Animal Training Conference was organized in 2009 by ORCA, the Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals. The conference has two main purposes. Its first goal is to increase our understanding of animal training and of the science of animal behavior. Its other main objective is to create a conference that will be useful and inspiring for both experts and beginners.

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18 Dec

An introduction to PORTL: The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab

PORTL polar bear

By Mary Hunter and Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz

Have you heard about PORTL?

The Portable Operant Research and Teaching Lab (PORTL) is a tabletop shaping game that teaches individuals about behavior and shaping. Through playing the game, individuals get to see the principles of behavior in action and practice applying those principles to change behavior.

Three individuals, deep in conversation, during a PORTL game at a shaping workshop in Germany

Where did PORTL come from?

PORTL had its beginnings in another tabletop shaping game, called GENABACAB, which was developed by English dog trainer Kay Laurence. Kay developed GENABACAB and a series of GENABACAB exercises as a way to teach her students about the basics of shaping and to improve their timing and observation skills.

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03 Dec

Movement versus outcome: Where is your focus during shaping?

The Messe in StuttgartI recently spent a week in Germany at the Scientific Symposium of The BHV, a German dog training association. I was privileged to get to give a lecture about errorless learning at the symposium. Then, after the symposium, Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz and I gave a two day workshop about shaping to a wonderful group of about two dozen trainers.

During part of one of his lectures at the workshop, Dr. Rosales-Ruiz discussed the concept of shaping movements versus shaping outcomes. This is not a topic often discussed by animal trainers, but it is a really important one. I know that when I first heard about it, it changed the way I think about shaping and clicker training.

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02 Dec

Welcome to our blog!

ASAT logo green squareThanks for visiting our new blog. On this blog, we are planning to share lots of great information with you about the science of animal training, animal behavior, and behavior analysis.

Do you have questions about animal behavior, animal training, clicker training, or the science of behavior? Or, do you have a particular topic that you’d love to see featured on our blog?

Leave a comment on this post or contact us by email and share your questions and thoughts. We would love to hear from you!

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