The feature photo is our group photo – taken by Keith Johnston – the conference organiser and supplied by Kay Laurence. Here is a link to Keith and Neela’s site and you will find some video of our trip!
This is why my head was spinning! These were some of the topics explored:
What is means to be a positive trainer – Ken Ramirez
Questions: are we playing or working? – Alexandra Kurland
1% difference: reinforcement delivery – Kay Laurence
Extinction and Resurgence: learning to master them – Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
Each one was so interesting – but it was the talk by Jesús Rosales-Ruiz that sent my brain into a complete spin. So much was over my head -but as he talked I was thinking to myself “Now this is really important!!!! ”
Fortunately Alexandra Kurland took brilliant notes – and published it on her blog in a 15 part series. You can find it here. It is something to be read – over and over!!! It also includes reference to PORTL and Kay Laurence’s microshaping talk.
I remember as he was talking I REALLY realised that the term ‘clicker training’ wasn’t enough to describe the depth and detail of positive reinforcement training. What would I call it? I think Kay Laurence came up with a good term – ‘thoughtful training’. It certainly is that!
Now my other ‘moment’ came when we were invited to ask questions. I think we may have written them down. Each day there was a prize for what the Fab Four deemed the ‘best question’. I had a question – and I think I wrote something like this:
“In that moment just after the ‘click’ I’ve noticed my horses squeeze their eyes, seemingly in delight at solving the puzzle. Can you tell me what is going on there?”
They answered that could indeed be delight – the joy of solving the puzzle – the anticipation of the reward….
I had noticed that little squeeze not long after I started clicker training and wondered what it was about. As I’ve since learnt, the horses would much rather have the puzzle solving , than just be fed treats in a bucket.
To my surprise, on that day, I won the prize for the ‘best question’. Ken handed me a bottle of champagne! What a moment! I won the prize!! “Me!!!” I thought! Now talk about being positively reinforced – it was a great boost to my confidence!
So this cruise seminar not only gave me more information on animal training, it helped me in my personal growth!!!
But apart from that – oh the people I met!!! This is really the true reward for going on these adventures.
So I listened to amazing discussions, I enjoyed the Caribbean, I snorkelled with sea turtles….. and I gained confidence – and most importantly I found ‘my people’!!
Now it was time to head home and start applying some of my new found knowledge!!!
COMING UP – WHERE DO I START?
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