From rabbits to rhinos! Have fun with practical application and get mental with behavior science. Animal training expert Barbara Heidenreich helps you solve your behavior problems and reach your training goals.
31-Is The Future of Animal Training Constructional? With Sean Will and Maasa Nishimuta
Have you been hearing the word “constructional” a lot lately? There is a reason for that! The animal training community is evolving, and it is extremely exciting. It has a lot to do with a different way of looking at behavior change that is known as "the constructional approach". My special guests this episode are Sean Will and Maasa Nishimuta from the Constructional Approach to Animal Welfare and Training, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free services to individuals and organizations that cannot afford them, with the goal of enhancing their lives through applications of the Constructional Approach. Sean and Maasa share the five elements that are essential to a constructional program. They also provide insights into the history of the constructional approach and how it differs from some of the programs currently popular in animal training. We also discuss what a constructional program can do to improve animal welfare and why this is such great news for the future of animal training. We also go over numerous resources to continue your exploration of this inspiring topic. The future of animal training looks very bright.....and constructional!
30 - Effective Reinforcement with Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter
My special guests this episode are Dr Jesus Rosales-Ruiz and Mary Hunter. As hosts of the Art and Science of Animal Training Conference, they bring together behavior scientists and animal trainers to inspire both communities and elevate the conversation. The theme of the most recent conference was negative reinforcement. In this podcast we revisit this topic and so much more. Our discussion of negative reinforcement meant more exploration of Constructional Aggression Treatment (C.A.T). Jesus and Mary shared some great stories from the lab (even one about training a cockroach!) that are important for trainers to hear. Sometimes what occurs in a laboratory experiment looks very different from what trainers do. A great example was our discussion of counter conditioning. We also discuss the importance of function-based interventions and how positive reinforcement can have better effect once you take care of the negative reinforcement contingency already in place. This also tied into the issue surrounding coercive applications of positive reinforcement and how to remove those barriers. Jesus and Mary share some relatable real-life examples to help illustrate these issues trainers face, for example when animals show fear responses to new objects or household items. This episode is full of science and practical application, and I love that it left me thinking “I have so much more to learn!” Visit the episode webpage for a video clip and link to more resources.
29 - CAT with Kellie Snider
Constructional Aggression Treatment, also known as CAT, first debuted in the animal training community in 2007 when Kellie Snider made the procedure the focus of her thesis. Since then it has been fine tuned, practiced, applied and successfully replicated countless of times with a wide variety of species. Kellie and I discuss what inspired her studies and why it is such an important procedure for improving animal welfare. We also get into the mechanics of practical application and some points to consider for those new to the procedure. If you have been on the fence about CAT, we also clear up the confusion by diving into the behavior science behind function based interventions. CAT fans and fans to be, will love this episode. Visit the episode webpage for links to Kellie's book and webinar on CAT.
28 - Improving Animal Welfare with Science with Eddie Fernandez and Rickey Kinley
Do you have a feeling something you are doing or would like to do could improve animal welfare? Have you thought about collecting data, evaluating your results, and publishing it so others can benefit? My guests in this episode are Dr Eddie Fernandez and Rickey Kinley. They share how zoos can participate in scientific studies to improve animal welfare. They give great tips on how to establish crucial relationships, what is required to conduct a study, how studies can be accomplished with one or many animals, and how to get the ball rolling! Behavior, enrichment, and animal welfare are hot topics in our field. Facilities caring for animals large and small have the potential to keep providing data and information that supports progress. Learn how you can get involved. Visit the episode webpage for links to publications and lots of additional resources.
27 - Training Marine Mammals with Andy Ferris and Maggie Gonio
Working with marine mammals is often identified as the dream job for many pursuing a career in animal training. Although I personally went a different direction to learn about training, I have had a number of good friends gain their training chops working with marine mammals. My guests in this episode are colleagues from my early days in the zoological field who became seasoned pros working with a variety of marine mammal species as well as many other animals. Andy Ferris and Maggie Gonio give us insights into the differences of working with species typically seen in managed care, share some fascinating behaviors trained with marine mammals, surprise us with marine mammal ingenuity and most importantly provide advice for those interested in becoming a marine mammal trainer. We cover much more, including tips for getting fish smell off of your hands! Visit the episode web page for additional resources on marine mammal training,
26 - Training Orangutans for Cardiac Care
Whether you work with great apes or not you have to listen to this episode! Here is why. This episode is all about making a difference. It is also a great reminder that everyone has the power to make changes that can have a tremendous impact on animal welfare. As you listen to this episode, I encourage you to think about the similarities to training a new behavior. It all starts with what you can do now and how you can build upon that beginning. My special guests Emily Ellison of Cameron Park Zoo and Laura Klutts of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo took the inspiration they experienced from a learning opportunity and helped grow this into an in-depth Great Ape Cardiac Workshop. If you are working with primates, you will be further inspired by the information that is being collected and shared at this event. We covered a lot of details in the podcast, including the dates for the next event. Visit the episode web page for links to the workshop and super inspiring video clips courtesy of Waco City Cable Channel.
The Best Podcast for Deep Dives into Animal Training Concepts!
When it comes to learning about animal training, this one of my favorite podcasts! What I love about this podcast is that the host, Barbara Heidenreich, explores and explains training concepts much deeper than any other podcast I've listened to! I especially enjoy the episodes when Barbara has guests on, to round out our understanding, too! Thank you for creating another way for me to continually sharpen my training knowledge and understanding! With each episode, I always learn something new, and look forward to the next!
I am a longtime animal care professional and truly appreciate this podcast! I always come away with great tidbits that strengthen my training skills. Highly recommend to anyone looking to up their training game!
Great Resource for Animal Training
This podcast is fantastic for anyone interested in learning more about training topics throughout the zoo community. Barbara’s passion for training and helping others train shines in this program. It’s a rare resource to have such an accomplished professional share their personal experiences to help others grow their passion. I highly recommend this to my coworkers and friends interested in training. Keep up the great work!