Clicker Training Blog

Dog-gone discipline--TAGteach in the news

From the Swampscott Reporter:

The move to begin using the clicker with humans happened almost by accident. Gymnastics coach Theresa McKeon had been using the clicking system with her horses, and one day she began to wonder if she could use it with her students. She took the device with her to the gymnasium and knew almost immediately she was onto something.

A podcast about clicker training

Check out episode #4 of K9Cast, it's all about clicker training. They seem to like us!

Anyone else know of other dog-related podcasts, perhaps others that have covered clicker training?

Hamster and snake best friends at Tokyo zoo

A dwarf hamster named Gohan, and a yard-long ratsnake named Aochan, are happily cohabiting in a cardboard box at the Mutsugoro Okoku zoo in Tokyo. Zookeepers had intended Gohan to be a tasty treat for Aochan--who had refused to eat frozen mice--but the snake apparently decided that the furry hamster would make a better friend than meal.

Operant conditioning to retrain the human brain

An interesting story about neurofeedback (formerly "biofeedback") making a comeback in therapeutic settings. Now much more sophisticated, the therapy involves asking patients to essentially play a video game whose controls are the patient's own brain waves:

TAGteach Introduces Its 2006 Certification Seminar Line-Up!

TAGteach International has nine seminars lined up for professional certification in 2006. Attendees will learn how to apply the TAGteach method and will receive standing as TAGteach certified teachers upon successful completion of the 2-day program.

KPCT Underwrites Public Radio

Karen Pryor Clickertraining (KPCT) is underwriting National Public Radio broadcasts in Tucson AZ beginning January 11th on KUAZ 89.1 FM/1550 AM. The underwriting, will help spread the word in the local community about Karen Pryor's ClickerExpo, "where pets and people learn together" January 27-29th at the DoubleTree Hotel at Reid Park in Tucson. "It's great to be able to sponsor a valuable show like Morning Edition and other great programming on this NPR affiliate", said KPCT president, Aaron Clayton. "NPR broadcasts and clicker training appeal to people who know the value of good observation; I'm sure we'll get a few more people and their dogs introduced to the power of clicker training through affliation with KUAZ and NPR".

Clicker training a robot to blog...?

Clicker training, technology, and business management come together in a humor column from Express Computer, India's business weekly: "As I [the developer of Chaibo, the corporate robot] watched real dogs being put through their paces, I started thinking of ways to make Chaibo here more appealing and a better corporate creature. I realised that one strategy might be to give it a new instinct—the desire to please a trainer. Then its personality really would be shaped by the experience shared with a human....We had to have a model to train the corporate robot. Animal behaviourists suggested several options, including a technique called clicker training that has proved very successful with all sorts of animals from guide dogs to dolphins. I was keen to try it, so I got Nina to reprogram a standard Kibo puppy at Robotica with the instinct to please its trainer.....Clicker training allows a trainer to mould an animal's behaviour by letting it know when it is moving closer to a goal. It's a bit like the children's game 'hotter, hotter, colder, colder.' Animals learn to associate the sound of the clicker with a reward that they'll receive once they accomplish a new routine....They also know that they'll carry on hearing the click as long as they are moving in the right direction. In Chaibo's language that meant using the words 'Good Chaibo' instead of a click and rewarding him with a pat when he obeyed."

Clicker Trained Dogs Detect Cancer

This is absolutely amazing to me. Dogs have been clicker trained to detect breast and lung cancer by smelling the breath of patients! And they're really good at it, too! Standard, humane methods of dog training employing food rewards and a clicker, as well as assessment of the dog's behavior by observers blinded to the identity of the cancer patient and control samples, were used in the experiment. The results of the study showed that dogs can detect breast and lung cancer with sensitivity and specificity between 88% and 97%. The high accuracy persisted even after results were adjusted to take into account whether the lung cancer patients were currently smokers. Moreover, the study also confirmed that the trained dogs could even detect the early stages of lung cancer, as well as early breast cancer. The researchers concluded that breath analysis has the potential to provide a substantial reduction in the uncertainty currently seen in cancer diagnosis, once further work has been carried out to standardize and expand this methodology.