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Showing posts from September, 2017


I wrote this post as a guest post for Zoospenseful. 

Animal trainers?Behaviourists?Zookeepers We debate what to call people who work with and train animals.It may be more pertinent to call us Animal Behaviour Managers.Here is why. Anyone can train a trick.It is basic conditioning 101 that enables our ability to do this.Ensuring the welfare of animal’s in our care is greatly enhanced because we can train tricks.Examples of tricks that are good for welfare of animals in human care: -Easeful medical behaviours that enable proactive animal care -Fun engaging mental stimulation in the process of ‘talking to animals’ -Animal’s exercising in the game of training Is training ‘tricks’ enough?The best animal care specialists out there say no.In the larger scheme of things, we need to take full responsibility for the psychological welfare of the animals in our care. To illustrate, let us look at our family pet – Scruffy the Labrador.He has some trick training in his day.He knows how to do a few things …

one thing at a time - really really - only one thing at a time

I am guilty – woman-can-multitask label that I have worn as a 'compliment' too often.  It does not work!!!  Especially when I project my stuff onto animals while trying to communicate with them.  Not only am I guilty of multi-tasking, I have another confession.  I communicate with humans by expecting them to read my mind. Those that are still around in friendship with me have become really good at reading me and making up what they think I mean. Animal behaviour management is a fun game in self reflection. It has taught me to STOP!  And focus – and see one thing at a time.  Sometimes... It has taken years for me to learn to break behaviours into simple understandable steps. You may think this is fundamental. I would like to challenge you to reconsider.  I learned from some really good people last week. While watching I realised that an animal's attitude to a behaviour is a part of the learning process. At some level I knew this, but I had never considered attitude to be a par…