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Preview: Science



5 Reasons Behavioral Science Nerds Love ClickerExpo

Fri, 09 Sep 2016 20:45:50 +0000



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Clicker Training in the OR: Karen Pryor’s Latest Research

Thu, 24 Mar 2016 14:17:10 +0000


As Research Director for KPCT, Karen Pryor has been as involved as ever with positive rei


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Clicker Trained Rodents “Rat Out” Deadly Disease

Wed, 08 Apr 2015 13:54:15 +0000

We have all heard of the countless ways dogs have been trained to use their extraordinary sense of smell to save human lives.


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You Knew It: Dogs Have Feelings, Too

Thu, 17 Oct 2013 20:49:04 +0000

Science is showing what animal trainers, owners, and lovers have known forever: dogs feel some of the same emotions as humans.


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What Sea World has Taught Us

Thu, 25 Feb 2010 20:28:01 +0000

We at KPCT are deeply saddened by the death of Sea World Trainer Dawn Brancheau. It is a very unfortunate accident that has left many wondering how can something like this ever happen. The argument that this should never have happened is misguided.

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Dog Debarking? No Way

Mon, 08 Feb 2010 06:00:00 +0000

Like most greyhounds, my 13 year-old greyhound, Sydney, has a quiet, gentle soul. But boy, can she bark! She barks when she wants to go out and she barks when she wants to come in. She barks when she’s happy and she barks when she is bored. I admit, it can be irritating, particularly at 5am when I want to relish that last hour of sleep before my alarm sounds. But would I consider permanently silencing her so that I can get that last hour of sleep? No. So what to do?

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Gorilla gets his blood pressure taken, thanks to positive reinforcement training!

Wed, 11 Nov 2009 19:55:24 +0000

Discovery News reports that the Zoo Atlanta has used positive reinforcement training methods to teach their gorilla, Ozzie, to accept the "Gorilla Tough Cuff". The Tough Cuff is a blood pressure cuff that was recently designed through partnership with the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. Cardiac disease is the leading cause of mortality in male gorillas living in captivity, and this invention will help to monitor high blood pressure in older gorillas, which is a frequent precursor to Cardiac disease.

Click here to read the full article!

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Survival: Why Reinforcement Can Determine if You Live or Die

Sat, 08 Aug 2009 23:35:12 +0000

One thing I can't get out of my own mind after reading Karen Pryor's new book, Reaching the Animal Mind, is the fascinating neuroscience about how the click follows deep physiological, non-cognitive pathways involving the amygdala. Combine this with the "seeker circuit" physiology, and you have a big part of what make the clicker training process so powerful—it's permanent and impossible to resist.

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Wolf Park—a Howling Good Time!

Fri, 22 May 2009 05:00:00 +0000

I have always wanted to go to Wolf Park, a nonprofit education and research facility where you can get up close with wolves and learn about their behavior. Having heard about it for years, and having met people who raved after attending one of the seminars offered there, it was on my list of places I'd most like to see.

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Cuddle up with your dog—but wash your hands, too!

Tue, 24 Feb 2009 18:07:28 +0000

These days, if it's not worry about the economy, it's worry about our health. The news is full of stories about superbugs and new illnesses—never mind the flu and other common viruses. One piece of positive news stands out—our pets can continue to offer comfort against these worries.

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Aversive training techniques create aggressive dogs; deemed risky

Thu, 19 Feb 2009 16:17:49 +0000

In case anyone reading this needed confirmation, treating your dog with aggression creates aggression in your dog. In an article published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science earlier this year, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania released their findings on aversive training techniques and suggested that veterinarians warn pet owners about the associated risks. The abstract:

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Monkey business? Go fish!

Sat, 02 Aug 2008 03:50:32 +0000

Clicker trainers know that old dogs can learn new tricks. And so, apparently, can monkeys. From the Associated Press, as reported by LiveScience:

Long-tailed macaque monkeys have a reputation for knowing how to find food - whether it be grabbing fruit from jungle trees or snatching a banana from a startled tourist.

Now, researchers say they have discovered groups of the silver-haired monkeys in Indonesia that fish.

Groups of long-tailed macaques were observed four times over the past eight years scooping up small fish with their hands and eating them along rivers in East Kalimantan and North Sumatra provinces, according to researchers from The Nature Conservancy and the Great Ape Trust.

The species had been known to eat fruit and forage for crabs and insects, but never before fish from rivers.

"It's exciting that after such a long time you see new behavior," said Erik Meijaard, one of the authors of a study on fishing macaques that appeared in last month's International Journal of Primatology. "It's an indication of how little we know about the species."

Read the full article here.

Concerned about chemicals? Consider your pet too

Fri, 18 Apr 2008 21:51:56 +0000

Concern about chemicals in our environment—especially those inside our homes—is growing. From water bottles, baby bottles, and Teflon pans to cleaning chemicals, products that many of us rely on may be making us sick. This may be even more true for our beloved animals. Unfortunately, the US does not regulate the chemicals that pets are exposed to, including those used in manufacturing chew toys and pet accessories.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization. Founded in 1993, EWG works to protect human health and natural resources. EWG's groundbreaking investigations into human body's toxic burden led to the creation of Pets for the Environment.

In a study released April 17, 2008, EWG reveals that pets are indeed carrying a toxic burden—one that is even higher than their human owners.

"In the first study of its kind, Environmental Working Group found that companion cats and dogs are polluted with even higher levels of many of the same synthetic industrial chemicals that researchers have recently found in people, including newborns.

"Dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people, according to our study of blood and urine from 20 dogs and 40 cats. Average levels of many chemicals were substantially higher in pets than is typical for people, with 2.4 times higher levels of stain-and grease-proof coatings (perfluorochemicals) in dogs, 23 times more fire retardants (PBDEs) in cats, and more than 5 times the amounts of mercury, compared to average levels in people found in national studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EWG.

"Just as children ingest pollutants in tap water, play on lawns with pesticide residues, or breathe in an array of indoor air contaminants, so do their pets. But with there compressed lifespans, developing and aging seven or more times faster than children, pets also develop health problems much more rapidly. Pets, like infants and toddlers, have limited diets and play close to the floor, often licking the ground as well as their paws, greatly increasing both their exposures to chemicals and the resulting health risks."

Wondering how to protect your pets? Here's a list of tips to keep your pet healthy. You can also read EWG's press release or visit Pets for the Environment for more information.


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Operant conditioning and the creative artist

Tue, 04 Dec 2007 21:46:34 +0000

Robert Genn is a painter who hosts the website and sends out a semi-weekly e-newsletter on various art-related topics. I've been a subscriber for a few months now. When I received a newsletter on the connection between operant conditioning and creativity, I chuckled. I think you'll enjoy it. The letter is reprinted here (click "read more"), with Robert Genn's permission.

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Register by 9/30 for ClickerExpo Los Angeles and save $50

Wed, 26 Sep 2007 05:00:00 +0000

Only a few days Left to save $50 on ClickerExpo!

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