Monday, March 8, 2010

Clicker Carnival

My recent post about Poisoned Cues was featured in the Stale Cheerios Blog

Clicker Carnival # 6

Thanks Mary for featuring us! I love reading her blog as she has so much great information about horse training. She also shares great articles about other animals, other trainers, and the science behind training.
I have had several commenters lately asking questions about Operant conditioning, clicker training, etc. I love to discuss and will continue to do so but I also want to emphasize that I am new to many of these concepts and by no means an expert! The cool thing about operant conditioning, behavioral shaping, and clicker training is the wealth of scientifically tested and verified information there is about it. Here are some great places to find more information about it for those curious readers...

Karen Pryor
- She is one of the original scientists that brought the science to the public. Her book "Don't Shoot the Dog" is now used in many educational and psychology college class rooms. That is where I first heard about her; during my bachelors. Her website has great articles.

Alexandra Kurland
- She (as far as I know) was the first really well known "clicker" horse trainer. She has collaborated with scientists and has done great work for applying behavioral concepts to equines. She also publishes great introductory books for the non professional trainer.

But I would highly suggest on one of these rainy days to skim through some research manuscripts! Head over to Google Scholar for instance and search away! For an example search you could go to my favorite journals; Applied Animal Behavior and do a search for Equine Behavior. See? A ton of fun stuff!

You can find real scientific research being done on so many topics relevant to horses! Not just training either, but nutrition, breeding, genetics. Horses are big business so you name it someone has researched it. Don't forget to read carefully and be a good skeptic. Did they make any unrealistic assumptions? Was their sample size n=1?

On days I feel like everyone has their own opinion and it is so hard to separate the facts out of all the jargon I enjoy doing a little "Light research"


  1. Oooo, those are some great search ideas for those of us who are thirsty little equine knowledge sponges!
    I've only done a small amount of clicker training with Salem, bu I have seen great results. And it does NOT make him nippy about food, because he figured out pretty quickly that looking for treats is not acceptable.
    And I never even knew about Google Scholar -- thanks for the tip!

  2. Thanks for linking to the clicker carnival! I was glad to include that article, it was a great discussion of poisoned cues.

    Karen Pryor's website and Alexandra's are wonderful resources. I know I spend a lot of time on both of them!

    Do you know of Katie Bartlett's website?
    It's another great place I like to send people who are looking for info on clicker training, especially people who already are somewhat familiar with the basics.


  3. Mary-- Nope! I will check her out! That is why I love your blog I learn something new from you all the time!

  4. Be warned---

    her articles are QUITE lengthy!

    But they are well worth reading. Very well written and lots of food for thought. I like to print them out so I can read them at my leisure.

    Her indepth view on the 4 quadrants article is one of my favorites on the site. (It's the first one on this page: