Jurassic World and Training Dinosaurs

 

You might not have noticed, but there’s been a bit of a reaction in the animal training community to the blockbuster release of Jurassic World. And not just the recreations of actor Chris Pratt’s pose — which I absolutely love, by the way. (No way I’m picking a favorite pic. Go scroll through them.) Continue reading

Training & Gaming at Gen Con

This entry is part 19 of 25 in the series Service Dog Training

Mindy joined me at Gen Con this year. Because you can’t buy that kind of socialization experience. What is Gen Con, you may ask? Well, “Gen Con, LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction and adventure game convention in North America. Gen Con, The Best Four Days In Gaming!™”

(Actually, I think it’s the world’s largest?)

A girl in a wheelchair is accompanied by a Golden Retriever wearing a service vest and carrying a plushed terrier on his back, dressed as Sir Didymus from the film Labyrinth.

Mindy wasn’t the only service dog at Gen Con. Here’s an assistance dog appearing as Sir Didymus (from Labyrinth).

It’s a gaming (and SFF, miniatures, film, etc.) convention which takes over much of Indianapolis each year. I posted on Facebook that Mindy wasn’t impressed by the 60,000 people, but that was an exaggeration; this year’s actual count was 56, 614 attendees. But of course, most of those people came more than one day, so turnstile attendance was 184,699. The con runs five days, but Mindy attended only three, including the two busiest. And she was a rock star. Rock star, I tell you. Continue reading

Dice as Training Tools

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Training Tools

To train an animal, you really need only two things: a marker it can recognize, and something it wants as reinforcement.

To train an animal efficiently, you need a way to track and plan your sessions, or you’ll waste time in moving too quickly (confusing your learner) or moving too slowly (frustrating you both).

Dice five

(Photo credit: @Doug88888)

There are many ways to do this, of course, but I just got home from Gen Con, the world’s largest gaming convention, and I thought I’d mention some less common planning tools you might not have seen. Continue reading

Training Dinosaurs: Watching Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park (film score)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember a little film called Jurassic Park? It was recently re-released in 3D. I had forgotten that it first came out 20 years ago; it’s fun to re-watch it with my older, behavior-savvy eyes.

I went to the theater with Alena (also blogging regularly here), and as it was a late-night showing and we were the only patrons in the theater, we could indulge in a little chat as we watched. Continue reading

Behavior Concepts — from The Avengers!

Avengers movie posterIf there’s anything I’m particularly known for, it might be the integration of nerdy geekdom and behavior analysis. So in the spirit of “you got chocolate in my peanut butter!“, here’s some of what of I was thinking during the Avengers opening night six-movie marathon.

No, really, I was. Along with the, “Awesome!” and all that.

Continue reading

Angry Birds and Addicted Gamers

I was crumpling old newspaper into the fireplace when a familiar graphic caught my eye.  I glanced down and noticed the phrase, “the appeal… it doesn’t punish.”

I immediately pulled the page out of the fire and blew it out.  What can I say?  I’m a behavior junkie.

The article (I will provide a link, rather than the charred fragment) was a Wall Street Journal piece about the incredibly popular mobile game Angry Birds.  Continue reading