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Karen's Articles

The Poisoned Cue: Positive and Negative Discriminative Stimuli

Why clicking and correction don't mix.

Behavior analysts refer to a learned stimulus that triggers an operant behavior as a 'discriminative stimulus.' The behaviorists do not, as far as I know, differentiate between a discriminative stimulus that was trained through positive reinforcement and one that was trained through negative reinforcement.

Making Cats Friendly, Clicker Style

Clicker training, the science-based system of teaching behavior with positive reinforcers and a marker signal, is becoming immensely popular, world-wide, with some dog owners and trainers, while still being rejected by others. It seems so alien, so different from traditional training, that many are very reluctant to try this new system on their already well-trained dogs. Why not leave your dogs out of the picture for the time being, and explore the clicker experience for yourself, with an animal you don't really need or expect reliable performance from: Your cat.

History of Clicker Training II

Yes, it is charming; but it is also rather sad. We have been training animals for thousands of years, and we almost never ask them to DO this! To bring their own abilities to the table. To think. If you'll excuse the expression. ((laughter)).

History of Clicker Training I

Behavior analysis is the science that underlies the technology of reinforcement training. Applications of behavior analysis include performance management, in industry and business; precision teaching, in schools; behavior modification, in clinical practice; and clicker training. The annual meeting draws some 2000 psychologists, from around the world. The speech reproduced here was given as part of the opening ceremonies. Karen Pryor's address at the Animal Behavior Society convention in Chicago, May 1997

101 Things to Do with a Box

101 Things to do with a Box: A Good Exercise for an Older, Suspicious, or Previously Trained Dog

This training game is derived from a dolphin research project in which I and others participated: "The creative porpoise: training for novel behavior," published in the Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior in 1969. It has become a favorite with dog trainers. It's especially good for "crossover" dogs with a long history of correction-based training, since it encourages mental and physical flexibility and gives the dog courage to try something on its own.