Some of the most popular items sold through the Karen Pryor Clicker Training (KPCT) store are custom-printed clickers. KPCT staff members have often wondered about the final destinations of the custom clickers that have been purchased. One order of custom clickers ended up in a faraway location as part of an exciting project.Target Training A Dog
Dr. Anne Savage, Conservation Director of Walt Disney World’s Animal Programs, traveled to Colombia in 2013 with Proyecto Tití, an organization whose mission is to conserve the cotton-top tamarin in Colombia. Cotton-top tamarins, endangered and only found in Colombia, are tiny (one pound!) and have flowing white hair that determined their “cotton-top” name. Disney’s Animal Kingdom hosts an exhibit of the cotton-top tamarins.
In Colombia, conservationists, Disney’s animal team members, and veterinary professionals worked with the local population to educate them about the health, habits, care, safety, and propagation of not only the cotton-top tamarin, but also pet dogs and cats. The messages of the visit and the many associated activities were to “keep wildlife in the wild,” “say no to pet monkeys,” and “say yes to canine and feline pet bonding.”
One of the program’s activities geared to the local children emphasized understanding dogs’ behaviors and signals. That’s where the clickers come in—the children learned and played the Training Game! Placing themselves in the role of both trainer and learner, the children experienced some of the frustration and success related to training their own smart dogs. Understanding that a click means success—and then a treat!—resulted in clear jumps in motivation and achievement.