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Karen's Letters

Minneapolis and Oprah

The best way to get results is to get the producer of the show who might like the idea, to think it good enough to put on the air and fight for it during meetings on what the content of future shows should be. Check out the credits at the end of the show. Send a letter to the person named the executive producer or creative producer (not the supervising producer or associate producer, as the latter two usually are in charge of handling costs of the various shows rather than selecting content).

Bad Bob

"He's surprised, did you see that?" I said, laughing, to the watching people. It's easy to startle a horse; but this was not alarm: this was just pure amazement. That expression told me two things: first, he thoroughly understood the game we were playing. Second, in his past experience, things usually just went on and on getting worse, not better. What I wanted to do was to pat Bad Bob (which at present he would probably hate) or throw my arms around his neck, or give him a month's supply of alfalfa pellets. What I did was smile, and pay him his treat. Poor thing. Maybe Festina Lente will turn out to be a better place for you.

Hidden Reinforcers: For Things You Don't Want!

Recently I was appointed to the board of the B.F. Skinner Foundation. The annual board meeting is held in Boston, and usually there's a reception afterwards at the Skinner family home in Cambridge, for members of the board and other people who share an interest in the work of the foundation. At the most recent reception, I was talking to a woman I'd met at the same gathering two years earlier, a museum curator with a special interest in scientific instruments—an interest I share. However, on this particular evening she didn't want to talk about her work, she wanted to talk about her cat.

Teaching People Teaching Dogs

Our six class members were experienced "lure and reward" dog trainers. Some were also experienced in correction-based training. Most had been exposed to some clicker training and had used it, but had never really adopted it. Our goal was to enable these six trainers to understand enough about clicker training to be able to teach others to use the curriculum. And we had two days.

Have You Ever Been Right, 47 Times?

On about the tenth or twelfth ping, the handler took her chocolate, pocketed it, and then suddenly looked at the Clicker+, pointed at it, and said "That's for ME!" I nodded and smiled, "You've got it!" And she did. We'd finished the training, as far as I was concerned.

When she left the stage, the dog was glued to her side. She spoke to the dog before going down the steps, and she went back to her seat without jerking the leash once. Ping!