Science Camp was held over the weekend of Feb 19-21. What a wonderful, head spinner of an event that was! Dominique and I didn’t want it to end so we invited one of the participants, Lisa Clifton Bumpass to come share an afternoon’s conversation with us. Lisa is a dog trainer turned zoo consultant. She’s been a regular attendee at the horse clinics I give in Half Moon Bay CA. What Lisa learns from the horses she takes back to the teams she works with in zoos. It is so much fun to think that the work we’re doing with horses is helping giraffes and alligators and other exotic animals to live more comfortable lives.
Our conversation with Lisa began with a discussion of constructional; training - one of the main topics of Science Camp. That developed into a consideration of whose needs are being met in a training plan. Just because we are using positive reinforcement doesn’t mean the needs of the learner are being met. The overall training goals may still revolve around meeting our needs.
Or we can swing the pendulum the other way so everything is centered around meeting our learner’s needs - often at the expense of our own well being.
Or we can be truly constructional and meet the needs of everyone. As always, balance is everything. Good constructional training helps us to consider what each member of a training partnership needs to get from the interaction.