Are you and your dog looking for something new and different? Have you been wishing for a fresh activity to learn with your dog, something that can be started even in the cold winter months? Canine weight pull is a competitive sport offered by three organizations in the United States: the United Kennel Club (UKC), International Weight Pull Association (IWPA), and American Pulling Alliance (APA). Although the rules differ from group to group, the general idea is the same in each venue. A dog, wearing a specially-designed harness, pulls a weighted vehicle a distance of sixteen feet in sixty seconds or less. Dogs earn qualifying scores, championship points, and other awards based on the percentage of their body weight that they pull.
Off the Beaten Path
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.
Mushing with your dog is exciting—and a great workout for both of you. Here's everything you need to know in order to get started.
The spring of 2008 was one of those times in my professional career when two wonderful opportunities merged into one. I was a few months away from completing the Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Dog Trainer Program, honing my skills as a clicker trainer to help both animals and people. Just as my hard work began to come to fruition and I was about to graduate from the course, I received an e-mail from Niabi Zoological Society asking if I wanted to be considered as an applicant for their recently available Animal Training & Behavior Consultant post.
The previous Consultant is a dear friend and colleague of mine. I met Meg Hudson Dye in 1991 while we were both marine mammal trainers with the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Her career path moved her toward exotic animal training consulting, which led her to Niabi Zoo. When Meg moved to North Carolina, she resigned her position with Niabi Zoo to pursue other amazing opportunities (one as the training consultant for Duke University’s Lemur Program). Why is this relevant? As a result of the amazing groundwork that Meg began with Niabi Zoo, I joined a team of proactive and positive trainers, a team that already had great learning experiences with Meg. My thoughts went from, “Wow, this is such a treat to be Meg’s successor!” to “Wow…I have some big shoes to fill!”