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Clicker vs. Traditional Training: What's the Real Difference?

Questions and answers

I was talking on the phone recently to a magazine writer—a nice guy who used to be a working cowboy. He spends a lot of time thinking about kind versus cruel animal training.

"So, is that the real difference between clicker training and traditional training?" he asked. "Is it that one is more positive than the other?"

Not really. And, it's not just the food. It's not just the absence of punishment. It's not even the marker, the click itself. All of those are powerful tools for making this training technology work for you. But the real difference is this:

In traditional training, animals learn what to do and what to avoid around people from the reactions of people. It's the same way animals learn what to do around other animals in the wild, from the reactions of other animals.

In OUR kind of training, animals learn how to find food, increase their skills, and discover new ways to have fun the same way they learn in naturefrom exploring the world itself.

Seeking—and reaching—the animal mind

We are tapping into what scientists call the SEEKER system: the part of the brain that governs the urge all living beings have to explore their environment and get good things from it. The SEEKER system has absolutely nothing to do with dominance theories or any of the faux-science around avoidance and punishment-based training. It's a better way to reach the animal's mind.

Reaching the Animal Mind comes out this month. The official publication date is June 16, 2009. I'll be in New York that day, demonstrating clicker training and TAGteaching on Good Morning America. Wish me luck!

Happy clicking,

Karen Pryor

Click here to order autographed copies of Reaching the Animal Mind.

About the author
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Karen Pryor is the founder and CEO of Karen Pryor Clicker Training and Karen Pryor Academy. She is the author of many books, including Don't Shoot the Dog and Reaching the Animal Mind. Learn more about Karen Pryor or read Karen's Letters online.

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