Last Monday night a privileged crowd of Southern Ontario dog trainers gathered at When Hounds Fly to audit Andre’s puppy class and to meet Karen Pryor, who needs no further introductions. She is the reason so many dog lovers and trainers have found the beauty of clicker training: the perfect language to communicate with any animal. Andre had invited all the KPA CTPs in the region, a bunch of other Torontonian positive reinforcement trainers as well as canine cognition researcher Krista Macpherson. For me this was also the first chance to meet the other KPA CTPs in the area!
Karen Pryor was in Ontario because last weekend she was one of the speakers at Professional Animal Behavior Associates (PABA) Conference at University of Guelph, which I also attended (see previous blog). After the puppy class we went for a lovely dinner together, and surprise surprise talked about animal training for several hours! One of the topics we discussed was Krista’s expertise, canine cognition, which was a hot topic at PABA as well because Alexandra Horowitz was one of the speakers there. A while back I posted on MB Facebook a movie from her study on ‘Dogs and Guilt’, which shows that the ‘guilty look’ that we humans have assigned to our dogs has nothing to do with whether they have done something wrong (well, in our opinion wrong anyways) or not, it is all about us scolding them and them responding to our behavior. Here is a movie from Alexandra’s study, well the first dog in the movie has nothing to do with the study, it is the second dog that really matters:
I was happy that the conversation steered towards horses as well since those creatures have been the most constant factor in my life. I look forward to the day when l have my own horse to clicker train. Another topic that came up, and a topic that I have been struggling with ever since I started clicker training, is that it is difficult to avoid constantly running into the resistance that we meet in the general public. But Karen Pryor is such a fantastic spokeswoman for changing the attitude in animal training and I am very happy to be a part of the positive training community in Toronto. As Karen says, we can change the world, one click at a time!