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“How" refers to the teaching method you select. “What" refers to the behavior you are going to teach. “Why" refers to the function of the behavior. You need to consider all three. Positive reinforcement training is wonderfully powerful. That’s part of its appeal. But you need to be careful how you use it. It’s easy to think you are looking out for an animal’s best interest because you are training with clicks and treats. But what are you asking your animal to do and why?
“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” This presentation helps to line those three elements up so they satisfy the trainer's needs as well as the animal's welfare. It looks beyond the layer of methods to explore why we are drawn to certain training choices.
As pet owners and animal trainers, we live in a world that divides. There are people who make similar training choices to ours and then there are “the others”. Seeing how “others” treat animals can be hard. We want to defend animals, to protect them, to teach others “better ways”, but the more we push against what “others” are doing, the greater the divide becomes.
This presentation is intended to help us understand better how these different training belief systems emerge. Alexandra will be introducing you to the work of the cognitive linguist, George Lakoff. Through an understanding of primary metaphors and cognitive frames, we gain tools for understanding one another. Instead of creating a deeper divide, we gain better ways to communicate with one another. In the process we become better trainers.
George Lakoff is not an animal trainer, but his work certainly relates directly to training. Alexandra will be introducing you to his work and making the direct connections to horse training but the presentation will also be invaluable for all pet professionals!
Alexandra Kurland is a graduate of Cornell University where she specialized in animal behavior. She began teaching horse training in the early 1980's. Her area of particular interest is the development of a horse's balance: physical and emotional. Helping horses stay sound and happy throughout a long lifetime is the goal. The result are beautiful horses that feel like heaven to ride.
In 1998 Alexandra launched the rapidly growing field of clicker training for horses with the publication of her book, "Clicker Training for Your Horse".
Alexandra's work helps you apply clicker training to any equine need or sport - including developing a gentle and companionable riding horse, halter training foals, training advanced performance horses, and retraining difficult to manage horses. Her own riding interests align most closely with classical dressage.
Alexandra travels widely, giving clicker training seminars and presenting at conferences in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe.
In addition to "Clicker Training for your Horse", she has written "The Click That Teaches: A Step–By–Step Guide in Pictures" and "The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker". She has also produced The Click That Teaches DVD lesson series, and The Clicker Center On-line Training Course. She maintains a very active blog, theclickercenterblog.com. She has published a book: "JOYFULL Horses" in her blog and most recently "The Goat Diaries". Her current project is Equiosity, a weekly podcast which she produces with Dominique Day, one of the co-founders of Cavalia.
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