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Preview: Off the Beaten Path

Off the Beaten Path


A Tribute to Listo—and Michele

Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:25:15 +0000

A busy and talented clicker friend


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A Raven’s Tale: Cues that Reduce Stress

Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:00:00 +0000

A note from Karen Pryor:

Sherri Lippman was an early adopter of clicker training. She is co-author and co-star, with Virginia Broitman, of the award-winning clicker training video, The How of Bow Wow! Sherri has been a presenter at ClickerExpo and at APDT.

While working in California at a wildlife rehabilitation center with a public display of educational animals, one of the challenges Sherri took on was the training of a long-term resident, a crippled raven that was fearful and unapproachable. The following account is, in my opinion, a dazzling example of ingenious behavioral management. Sherri taught the bird to recognize cues for necessary upcoming events, negative (netting the raven for veterinary care), harmless (cleaning and feeding), and positive (training). More to the point, she taught the staff and the many volunteers to present the cues reliably. Read on to see what happened.


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HOPE AACR Pets Bring Smiles to Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Sat, 05 Jan 2013 00:04:37 +0000

Editor's note:

Many people are familiar with the heroic stories of the search and rescue dogs that have helped victims of disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy. However, few people know about the canines that are still helping victims and families long after disasters have left their devastating impact. These canine heroes are the specially trained canine crisis response teams of HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response (HOPE AACR).

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A Training Update: Niabi Zoo One Year Later

Tue, 01 Feb 2011 17:00:00 +0000

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Welcome back! Wow, it is hard to believe that one year has passed since the two-part series about our animal training programs at Niabi Zoological Society was shared on the Karen Pryor Clickertraining website. (Click here to read Part One of Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo, and click here to read Part Two.) We were also honored to have our training program featured in Quad-Cities Online this year. Click here to read that article.

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Weight Pull: A Positive Introduction

Sat, 01 Jan 2011 15:00:00 +0000

Are you and your dog looking for something new and different? Have you been wishing for a fresh activity to learn with your dog, something that can be started even in the cold winter months? Canine weight pull is a competitive sport offered by three organizations in the United States: the United Kennel Club (UKC), International Weight Pull Association (IWPA), and American Pulling Alliance (APA). Although the rules differ from group to group, the general idea is the same in each venue. A dog, wearing a specially-designed harness, pulls a weighted vehicle a distance of sixteen feet in sixty seconds or less. Dogs earn qualifying scores, championship points, and other awards based on the percentage of their body weight that they pull.

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Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo: Part Two

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 16:00:00 +0000

Welcome back to Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo, Part Two!

Teaching cooperative husbandry behaviors is critical to excellent animal care. The many benefits of trainer patience, a shaping plan, excellent observation skills, clicker mechanics, and the ability to modify training sessions based on the animals’ needs can be seen in this the video just below of a cotton-top tamarin. In the video, the 14.4-ounce female tamarin calmly follows the target onto the scale for voluntary weights. Even as the scale moves slightly, she remains calm and fluent.

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Fun with Your Dog: Mushing on a Bike

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 14:00:00 +0000

Mushing with your dog is exciting—and a great workout for both of you. Here's everything you need to know in order to get started.

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Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo: Part One

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 17:00:00 +0000

The spring of 2008 was one of those times in my professional career when two wonderful opportunities merged into one. I was a few months away from completing the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Program, honing my skills as a clicker trainer to help both animals and people. Just as my hard work began to come to fruition and I was about to graduate from the course, I received an e-mail from Niabi Zoological Society asking if I wanted to be considered as an applicant for their recently available Animal Training & Behavior Consultant post.

The previous Consultant is a dear friend and colleague of mine. I met Meg Hudson Dye in 1991 while we were both marine mammal trainers with the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Her career path moved her toward exotic animal training consulting, which led her to Niabi Zoo. When Meg moved to North Carolina, she resigned her position with Niabi Zoo to pursue other amazing opportunities (one as the training consultant for Duke University’s Lemur Program). Why is this relevant? As a result of the amazing groundwork that Meg began with Niabi Zoo, I joined a team of proactive and positive trainers, a team that already had great learning experiences with Meg. My thoughts went from, “Wow, this is such a treat to be Meg’s successor!” to “Wow…I have some big shoes to fill!”

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Podcast: Kindness First

Mon, 01 Feb 2010 14:00:00 +0000

Listen to Melissa's podcast (available at the bottom of the page) to find out why putting kindness first is a start to improving your behavior. Read the original article here.

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Media Files:

Making Music Together

Fri, 01 Jan 2010 23:10:24 +0000

When Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) Laura Monaco Torelli began her training career, she knew she would meet many interesting animals—and humans. In the past she has worked with beluga whales, dolphins, sea otters, seals, river otters, and penguins (at the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago), primates, large cats, birds of prey, horses, parrots, macaws, tree kangaroos, and red pandas (at the San Diego Zoo and Brookfield Zoo), and, of course, dogs (just about everywhere).

A recent referral from the Shedd Aquarium led Laura to one of her newest, youngest, and most interesting clients—an 8-year-old girl named Emily Bear. Emily and her family have worked with Laura over the past year training the family dog, Winston.

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A Valentine Letter to the Obama Girls

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 18:00:00 +0000

Authors and clicker trainers Evelyn Pang and Hilary Louie—who happen to be kids themselves—encourage Sasha and Malia Obama to choose clicker training.

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The Life of One Clicker Trained Dog: A Love Story

Sun, 01 Feb 2009 15:00:00 +0000

In 1995 a little papillon was born. Thanks to an impressive overbite, she was labeled "pet quality" and made available to a "pedestrian" like me. Papillons can be hard to come by, so I jumped at the chance to meet her. After a long drive to the breeder's home (sadly, more like a puppy mill), I found a litter of pups cowering in the corner of an oversized terrarium. The room's pervasive odor must have choked the voice of reason in my head, as I found myself handing over $500 (cash only, please) to rescue a two-pound bundle of fuzz.

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Podcast: Marley and Us—Clicker Training on the Movie Set—Part 2

Mon, 01 Dec 2008 13:00:00 +0000

This month's podcast is Part 2 of Helen Schwarzmann sharing her experiences on the set of the upcoming film Marley and Me. Listen to the podcast (available at the bottom of the page) to learn more about the film and the dog training behind the scenes. You can also read the accompanying article here.

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Media Files: Us_2.mp3

Podcast: Marley and Us—Clicker Training on the Movie Set—Part 1

Sat, 01 Nov 2008 14:00:00 +0000

This month's podcast was recorded by Helen Schwarzmann for KPCT to share her experiences on the set of the upcoming film Marley and Me. Listen to the podcast (available at the bottom of the page) to learn more about the film and the dog training behind the scenes. You can also read the accompanying article here.

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Media Files: Us_1.mp3

How to Raise a Good Pirate

Mon, 01 Sep 2008 05:08:00 +0000

On a recent beautiful autumn morning (I'm writing from Tasmania, Australia), my wife and I took our daughter, Charlotte, on an outing to the park. There were half a dozen other kids there, all scrambling over the fort and slide together.

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