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Opportunity or Avoidance? Should we, as horse trainers, combine positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement?

Hi Guys, Shawna here! I am often asked about the feasibility of combining positive reinforcement(R+) and negative reinforcement(R-). It is not a simple answer. Some people have referred to this practice as combined reinforcement, but this is not a scientific term or construct. I think the thing we […]

One at a time; more on how to be an effective positive reinforcement trainer following shaping guidelines

Last week we started talking about Karen Pryor’s ‘Ten Laws of Shaping’, and what those look like in terms of real-world examples. The second guideline identified by Karen Pryor in her book, ‘Don’t Shoot the Dog’, is as follows:

“Train one aspect of any particular behavior at a time; don’t try […]

What is Shaping?

One of the seminal books on positive reinforcement training with animals (and humans, too!) is ‘Don’t Shoot the Dog’, by Karen Pryor. When I was a zookeeper, this was required reading, and really has been the manual of this method of training for exotic animals since it was published. For […]

2019-11-07T12:51:06-07:00By |Blog, R+ Training|0 Comments

Thank you, Sarah!

One of the participants in our last workshop was Sarah Matlock, an instructor of Applied Equine Behavior at Colorado State University. We originally met Sarah at CHATTcon (Convergence of Human and Animal Training Technologies) in Seattle in July and were lucky enough to have her come learn with us earlier […]

2019-11-12T13:58:00-07:00By |Blog|0 Comments

Meet the Minis!

At Terra Nova, we inherited a fully-functioning equestrian boarding facility from the previous owner. Part of this community included “The Minis,” our collective title for the 4 burros, 2 miniature horses and 2 goats who live together in the Mini-Pen.

Woodstock (left), Linus and […]

2019-11-03T21:26:48-07:00By |Blog|1 Comment

Not-So-Angry Birds!

We weren’t sure it would work. We love the barn swallows that return every year to nest in the Main Barn. High up. Thirty feet high, on beams and wires that cross above the stalls, aisles and grooming bays. We welcome them (they eat tons of flies!) but we needed […]

2019-11-03T21:26:49-07:00By |Blog|2 Comments