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Podcast: Excerpt from Agility Right From the Start by Emelie Johnson Vegh

Swedish authorities Eva Bertilsson and Emelie Johnson Vegh have been teaching and competing in the exciting sport of canine agility since the early 90’s, using reinforcement technology to develop their teaching methods and reach new levels of teamwork. In this audio selection from their new book Agility Right from the Start, Emelie Johnson Vegh talks about how you can use the basic principles of classical and operant conditioning to teach your dog to do anything! To learn more about the powerful modern training system that has made them leading agility teachers in Norway and Sweden, order your copy of Agility Right from the Start today!

On Being a Changemaker

So you've become a clicker trainer! Naturally you are very excited. You want other people around you to stop using punishment-based methods and start clicking. So you introduce the clicker at your dog club or high school or wherever you are using it. And guess what: people not only don't change, they get mad at you.

On My Mind: It's Not What You Do. It's How You Do It.

It’s a sunny spring afternoon in New England at the annual meeting of a group of animal behaviorists. I’m sitting on a folding chair alongside a small corral, watching some demonstrations with horses. My friend Tim Sullivan, curator of behavioral husbandry at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, is sitting on my left.

We’re watching a demonstration of clicker training. A calm old police horse is led into the corral and turned loose. The trainer stands on our side of the fence. She has a clicker, a bucket of feed, and a huge target stick that looks like a toilet plunger, with a big padded lump on one end.

Podcast: The Phoebe Chronicles V: Learning amid Skateboards

In this classic Podcast written and read by Gale Pryor, the subject of training a dog admist the chaos of everyday family life is addressed. Listen to hear how Gale learns how to train an energetic border collie in a household of three energetic boys. You can follow along and read the original article here.

On My Mind: Paying Kids to Learn

Last week TIME magazine ran a cover story about paying kids cash money to get better grades.

The objections to cash ‘rewards’ for schooling have been around for a long time and can lead to tremendous political uproar. There are moral objections—children should do what’s expected of them without reward. There are philosophical, theoretical, religious, and of course financial objections.

Well, this fellow at Harvard, economist Roland Fryer Jr., decided the first thing to do was to find out if paying kids to do better in school actually worked or not. Forget all the existing studies and opinions. Forget those specific schools where reinforcers, large and small, are built into the system. According to TIME, Dr. Fryer “did something education researchers almost never do: he ran a randomized experiment.” (Just think about THAT for a minute. They opine stuff and put it into the schools and they don’t TEST it?)