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From Your Backyard to Harvard Yard: How Animal Trainers Can Contribute to Science Specialized Topic - includes some Learning Theory and Ethology with Susan M. Schneider, PhD

  • Thursday, July 23, 2015
  • 12:00 PM
  • Sunday, July 23, 2023
  • 1:30 PM
  • Recorded Webinar


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From Your Backyard to Harvard Yard: How Animal Trainers Can Contribute to Science
Specialized Topic - includes some Learning Theory and Ethology

with Susan M. Schneider, PhD


IAABC - 1.5 CEUs
CPDT - 1.5 CEUs
KPA - 1.5 CEUs
PPG - 1.5 CEUs

Newton's apocryphal apple may be the most famous example of a long tradition in science: Make use of ordinary observations for scientific progress. These days, organized "citizen science" is everything from a minor assist to a transformational trend.

As applied scientists in effect, animal trainers are in a unique position to contribute to our understanding of behavior principles. From superstitions to unusual reinforcers to high tech learning blitzes, our animals do all sorts of interesting things. What might you look for and how might you go about it?  The focus is on dogs, but other domestic and wild animals are also included.

Webinar Objectives

  • To describe how animal trainers can become "citizen scientists."  At the end of the talk, participants will understand:
    • What sorts of topics animal trainers can usefully investigate, and
    • How they might go about their investigations.
    • Includes historical examples, clicker training, enrichment, simple research design, animal, the benefits of giving animals control, insight, tool use, and other topics.

About The Presenter

Susan M. Schneider, PhD, is a learning researcher and developmental psychobiologist who has clicker trained her pet rats and budgies. She obtained her graduate education from Brown University (mechanical engineering) and the University of Kansas (behavior analysis). Currently a Visiting Scholar at the University of the Pacific, she has been a professor at St. Olaf College, Auburn University, and Florida International University, and a visiting research fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Susan's twenty-five years of research and teaching have produced numerous scientific studies and theoretical articles, including pioneering work on generalization and choice. Her award-winning book for the public, The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World, describes fundamental learning principles, their role in the larger realm of nature and nurture, and their many applications--including the benefits of positive reinforcement-based approaches to animal training and welfare. The book received advance praise from well-known experts in genetics, neuroscience, and economics, as well as in psychology and behavior analysis. It has received worldwide recognition, including coverage in the international scientific journal Nature, The Scientist magazine, and the review magazine of the National Science Teachers Association.

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