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Yes, But Does This Work with Kids? How TAGteach Made a Difference at School and Home

Editor's note:
Karen Pryor introduces Stephanie Tagtow's success story.

I hear this question often: "Yes, but does it work with kids?"

Do you think of clicker training as something that's good for dogs and other animals, but not right for people? The principles of learning are always the same. The technology of training without punishment, and with a marker, works with any organism with a nervous system.

Adapting positive reinforcement training to human problems just requires slightly different methods. For example, you can tell your learner what you will click for. We call these special techniques for humans TAGteaching. We call the marker sound a TAG. We call the criterion being clicked a TAG point. Beyond that, the training is the same: being sensitive to reinforcement choice, breaking behavior down into successful units, creative thinking, and timing.

The outcome? Just what you'd expect. The learner is thrilled. Long-standing problems vanish, to be replaced with good new behaviors. Even the beginning teacher has success, so the teacher is thrilled, too.

The story below is a great example of TAGteaching—see what you think! Is there anything going on in your life that could use a little tagging?

Treibball: Give it a Try!

New fun

If you follow dog behavior and training blogs or articles, YouTube videos, or other popular electronic media, it’s likely that you’ve heard of a recently imported European dog sport that is sweeping North America—treibball (pronounced “try-ball”). While the sport is very much still in development here, classes are popping up around the country quickly, most with a strong emphasis on clicker training to teach and refine the foundation skills associated with treibball.

A Training Update: Niabi Zoo One Year Later

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Welcome back! Wow, it is hard to believe that one year has passed since the two-part series about our animal training programs at Niabi Zoological Society was shared on the Karen Pryor Clickertraining website. (Click here to read Part One of Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo, and click here to read Part Two.) We were also honored to have our training program featured in Quad-Cities Online this year. Click here to read that article.

Patriot Paws: Helping Dogs Help Heroes

Quiet and shy were the words used to describe Army veteran Scott Ramsey when he visited the service dog training program at a Texas state women’s prison. Scott had come to the prison to meet his new canine partner. 

Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo: Part Two

Welcome back to Building Behaviors at the Niabi Zoo, Part Two!

Teaching cooperative husbandry behaviors is critical to excellent animal care. The many benefits of trainer patience, a shaping plan, excellent observation skills, clicker mechanics, and the ability to modify training sessions based on the animals’ needs can be seen in this the video just below of a cotton-top tamarin. In the video, the 14.4-ounce female tamarin calmly follows the target onto the scale for voluntary weights. Even as the scale moves slightly, she remains calm and fluent.

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