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.
From Karen Willmus: All this last year my children, (boy age 7 and girl age 5) have been taking Suzuki violin lessons. We've had pretty good progress even though I never push them to practice every day. (Mom usually doesn't have time to supervise and forgets.) Well, as you all can imagine, kids that age don't practice on their own. Anyway, as the year's gone on, the kids have been more and more resistant to practicing. I don't like to fight, so the practice is becoming less and less. (Classical conditioning, you say!)
I've recently begun using the technique of backchaining in my daily flute practice routine. What I have found is an efficient, stress-free, and satisfying way to learn music, which also makes it more enjoyable to perform, as many of the elements that cause performance anxiety are no longer present when a piece is prepared this way.
If you want better employees, maybe what you need is a little dogged pursuit. That strategy has worked for years in Karen Pryor's world.
When I got Josey, my first horse, I was thirteen and she was six months old. I trained her myself, without any experience or experienced help. How on earth did I do it? I wonder now. I had some books, but they were much farther down the road of understanding than I was. As I say in my new novel, Shaper, it was like trying to read Shakespeare without even knowing the alphabet. Josey and I survived.