Clicker Training Blog

Chicago-area benefit to aid pets devastated by Hurricane Katrina

MARDI GROWL: The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association, Steve Dale, host of Pet Central and in cooperation with the House of Blues Hotel, will host a benefit to support the efforts of the animals affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Girl Chimps Learn Faster Than Boys

"Girls are often considered to mature faster than boys. The same appears to be true among chimpanzees, according to new research to be published in the journal Animal Behavior. Elizabeth Lonsdorf of Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, observed young chimps in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, along with their mothers over a period of four years. She found young female chimps tended to watch intently as their mothers fished termites out of earthen nest mounds using sticks. As a result, young females mastered the technique at about a year and a half old. Males, on the other hand, paid little attention to the finer points of termite fishing. As a result, they needed about two years longer to acquire this skill. The findings are supported by Lonsdorf's preliminary research on captive chimps at the zoo. " (California Wild This Week)

Animals Get The Giggles Too

"Tickled rats emit supersonic chirps. Chimpanzees pant during play. These expressions of animal joy, according to a new study, demonstrate that laughter evolved very early in the mammalian brain. In 2003, Jaak Panksepp of Bowling Green State University, Ohio, reported that rats let out squeaks of joy when tickled by human fingers. The rats not only tried to elicit play sessions, but also began chirping when their handlers wiggled fingers at them. Panksepp likened the response to children who begin giggling even before a tickling finger touches them. The fact that both rats and humans emit sounds of joy, Panksepp reports in the journal Science, suggests the brain circuits involved in laughter are very ancient. The last common ancestor of rats and primates lived about 75 million years ago. Human laughter certainly appears similar to the giggles of romping chimps, who make pant-pant sounds that imitate the heavy breathing of exercise." (California Wild This Week)

Getting yourself in the news

This month's letter from Karen Pryor to the clicker training community - Minneapolis, Money, Oprah and More - is part of an ongoing effort to get clicker training into the news. Karen's view is that we should all mobilize to get clicker training into the local news, local papers, local TV, and that word will spread upwords to the national media from there. Read the whole letter for her full insight.

Training a puppy ... on a Nintendo!

Nintendo has released an incredibly cute game named Nintendogs for their touch-screen enabled portable, Nintendo DS. In this game, you can train your dog or dogs to do everything from learn their name to compete in agility! And though I haven't played the game (yet!), from a newly-released video it looks like all the training is done through operant conditioning; dogs are given cues and reinforced with praise, petting and treats when they get the behavior right, and when they have learned the behavior, a light bulb goes off over their heads.

Boston Globe praises clicker training

Gina Spadafori, writing in the Boston Globe (9/1/05) describes the 'boot-camp mentality' of many pet owners, who view training and training classes as "a way to break the dog of annoying behaviors, bark commands at him, and correct him for being 'bad.' "

Mass. area residents can support Katrina relief fundraiser

MasterPeace Dog Training, located in Franklin, Mass., is holding a Doggie Yard Sale on October 1 at 9:00 a.m. to benefit dogs impacted by Hurricane Katrina.

MasterPeace is seeking the following: Donations of new or gently used (but clean) dog items, such as beds, toys, equipment (sealed food OK, but no medication). Please drop donations off to MasterPeace by September 26. Volunteers and monetary donations are needed too. You can also support this effort by shopping at the yard sale. Funds raised (and leftover goods) will aid in fostering dogs rescued from the devastated area, or will be donated to a responding animal relief organization.

Lisa Clifton-Bumpass, APDT Outstanding Trainer of the Year Award Winner!

APDT press release: It is APDT's pleasure to announce Lisa Clifton-Bumpass has won the 2005 APDT (Association of Pet Dog Trainers) Outstanding Trainer of the Year Award. The APDT offers yearly award contests because the organization feels very strongly about awarding and encouraging trainers and the animal community to the offer the very best to the animals and pets they love and respect. Lisa receives an all expense paid trip to the APDT 12th Educational Conference and Trade Show on September 14-18. She will benefit from the education and experience of world class trainers, ethologists, veterinarians, and scientists.