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Is Chet Womach a Clicker Trainer? (Updated 6/08)

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Note: This entry was originaly written in December of 2006.  I want to update it now in June of 2008. 

My original article said" Is Chet Womach a clicker trainer?  Chet produces a series of videos and manuals and sells them on his websites (you can Google it).  Whether he is a clicker trainer or not is a bit confusing though.  I would say that he is - but you wouldn't know it from his videos."

Update 6/08: At this point, I would say, no Chet Womach is not a clicker trainer - the materials do talk about using a clicker, but that does not make you what I think of as a clicker trainer.  A clicker trainer has a commitment to positive reinforcement and the principles of operant conditioning based on the animal chosing to participate.  The BirdTricks.com course does not have that commitment.  If it did, the course would have been pulled from the market until the non-positive techniques were edited out.

My original article said, "Here's the thing - Chet's videos show him training his birds using a voice bridge and a lot of luring.  He does introduce the clicker in one video as a bridge, but then states that the bird would learn faster if he used the voice bridge instead.  From this angle, I would say that he is not doing clicker training - at least not very effectively."

Update: There are many other areas where the videos show techniques that clicker trainers do not endorse - flooding being one.

My original article said, "However, Chet's training manual is a different story - he clearly explains clicker training and the importance and effectiveness of clicker concepts.  He appears to be "right on" in his writings.  It seems like Chet learned a lot in between the time he made his videos and the time he produced his manual.  He says in the introductory material for the course that it is essential that you read the manual before you view the videos.  I agree."

Update: So, what the manual says is pretty good - but the videos are what is being marketed and none of the harmful techniques have been removed.

And, originally, I said, "Chet looks like a clicker trainer today - but his videos don't show it.  I hope that he redoes his videos some day - and even more that he changes his marketing strategy."

Update: Chet does not look like a clicker traner today.  His videos don't show it and his lack of commitment to the methods and science don't show it and his promotion of other people's teaching as being something he invented doesn't show it.  People who do show it are Karen Pryor, Barbara Heidedreich, Linda Morrow, and Melinda Johnson - stick with them.