It was with a bit of trepidation that I set out to teach my four-year-old daughter to ice skate. At about the same time, I was learning to clicker train. Why not put the principles into action on the ice? Well, because I might make a real mess of things. "Fear not!" said Karen Pryor. So I went forward.
I am a hospital volunteer. One day I arrived and was told immediately that the patient in 4B was giving candy to anyone who came into her room. Well, you can imagine the rapid response she got when her bell rang. Indeed, staff and volunteers began to offer behavior by sticking our heads in just to see if she needed anything. Since that day, I have called it a "nurse trap."
My students grasped the idea of tagging immediately. "It's either a click or it's not a click," noted Jake Corcoran, 9, after a tagging class. The results have been astounding. How many times have you told your dancers to keep their heels down in demi plie? With a group of twenty-five 7- to 9-year olds, each child was able to master the skill after one tag session. Subsequent classes focusing on everything from grand jete's to battements met with similar success.
NEW YORK - May 2003, CNN's Jeanne Moos caught up with Karen for an interview while she was speaking to the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo. The resulting piece, which ran on CNN News world wide, makes Karen's point clear: the lives of cats, big and small, are benefiting from the positive effects of clicker training.