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We are celebrating Gambit's 43rd year this weekend.  What an honour to know this incredible gentleman.  It is true to say that he has been one of the greatest inspirations in my life and I know I don't speak only for myself when I say this.  Conservation action - as a result of the privilege of knowing him.  Thank you Gambit!


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Is Choice the real deal?

Some fellow animal trainers and I presented on this concept at an international animal behaviour conference a few years back. The paper was met with appreciation. The term “Choice and control” has gained a life of its own. In 2018 October, Dr Susta and I presented once more on a similar topic, and the topic was met with some scepticism.Initially I was perplexed.I wondered why anyone would disagree about providing animals with choice.I have read more on the topic, and now find that there is potentially good reason for the debate.So, I need to clear up what I believe choice to be all about.
The goal always is to provide us with an opportunity to be ethical in relationship – not only with animals, but with people too.So, here goes… What does choice mean?Dictionaries elaborate similarly Merriam Webster defines it as “…the power or right to choose” This is the definition that Dr Susta and I have been focussing upon in our presentations.Basically if there is no choice, the animal or person is fo…

listen ...

I take Fridays off so am able to sleep in for a half hour extra. I lazily breathe in the morning and enjoy the slow start. From my original normal waking time I am aware that the dogs are a little restless. Sage is usually so subtle with her communicating to get me up. She will simply sit at my bed side and stare me down. Occasionally offering a high pitch quiet request. This morning she was a little more impatient. I was probably slower off the mark.  She tried her subtlety to no response. She jumped up behind me, lay down and pushed all four legs onto my back to urge me off the bed. That set my day off with a giggle. I love it when the animals make their wishes clear.  Then I realise - that is usually what they are doing all the time. We simply need to tune in better. I could have mistaken Sage's request for an inconvenient stretch. I know however that it is not so. I showed people through the aquarium the other day and was amazed that at times I had to point out to them how th…

What is really going on?

Click treat.  Click treat.  Click treat.  The theory tells us that this is secondary and then primary reinforcement.  Is this the whole story? There is always more going on, and if we pay attention - when we hit a snag - what we know will assist us to troubleshoot - because we will be aware of what we are up to and what our animal souls may be experiencing.

In every interaction we have with the world, we are experiencing many things, both intrinsically and extrinsically.  Some days we are motivated to go for that run just for the joy of movement...  Intrinsic.  Other days it is so we can get away from the office or a troublesome argument... Extrinsic.  Then there are the days where we run so that we can get fit...  Extrinsic.  We always love the feeling after the run - when the endorphins sing through our system, or in my favourite case - when I jump into the ocean to cool down - Extrinsic(the feel of the ocean as a reward for the run) and Intrinsic(the sing of the endo…