18 Dec

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

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. read more

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. read more