I read Don't Shoot the Dog many years ago and became an immediate fan. It has helped tremendously with training and having fun with our two dogs and one cat. I was also very interested in sections that talked about dealing with people. As a teacher, I implemented some positive reward systems in my classroom. It has been great!
Once again, quite a bit of time has passed since I wrote my last article. I am now an instructor at a small flight school in California. My students are young and not so young, and include college kids, retired executives, some corporate management types, a painter, and the airfield fuel-truck driver. They are bold, they are timid, they are coordinated, they are uncoordinated, they are organized and they are disorganized. Some are too smart for their own good. One or two don't know how talented they really are, laughing while performing difficult tasks that make others freeze with fear. I teach and I watch and I marvel at the complexity of the interaction: the transfer of knowledge and skills from one person to another in the crammed cockpit of a Cessna 152.
Clicker Puppy, the new, groundbreaking teaching DVD that demonstrates successful, unrehearsed puppy training performed solely by children, is winning accolades from top dog trainers and even social workers across the US and Canada. Clicker Puppy, which was recently nominated for the Training Excellence Award for 2005 by the International Positive Dog Training Association, will now be more widely distributed to parenting and pet outlets including stores, catalogs, and e-tailers in the US, through Karen Pryor Clickertraining, a leading source of dog training information, products, and services.
-Five-year-old SHIP program participant
Many clicker trainers have experienced it. You are training your dog, clicking and reinforcing for desired behavior, making swift progress toward your goal, and communicating with your animal at a level you never dreamed possible. Suddenly, it dawns on you that clicker training is so much more than a training technique; it is a powerful new way of interacting, a technology and a philosophy rolled into one-that can change lives.
I was convinced that clicker training works in the flight simulator environment, helping the instructor to be very precise in reinforcing all the "microtasks" or small behavioral skills being asked of the student. Now, I wondered, how would it work in the air? I was working toward becoming a flight instructor. I looked forward to adapting the methods of clicker training (a.k.a. operant conditioning), to the flight training industry, while still working within the Federal Aviation Administration directives and guidelines (which, interestingly, actually propose use of techniques developed by B.F. Skinnerâ€¦)