Behavour Science Camp
with Alexandra Kurland, Jesús Rosales-Ruiz, Mary Hunter, and Michaela Hempen
This event is sold out. If you would like to be put on the waiting list, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first virtual Science Camp was held over Labor Day weekend 2020. It was originally supposed to be a live event held in May 2020 at my barn. I was busy buying tents and other equipment for it when the corona virus shut everything down. I had been imaging tents popping up in the arena. I was looking forward to sharing the barn with the attendees. I could hear their laughter. I could imagine them joining me for early morning goats walks and late night camp fires. The virus changed all of that, but we were still able to go ahead and have Science Camp 2020 - just virtually and without the mosquitoes.
Science Camp was a wonderful success. It went beyond anything I was imagining, so we are holding another, this time in February.
Here is what we have planned.
Thursday evening 6:00 to approximately 9 pm central time: "Camp Fire" gathering
Friday - Sunday:
Stimulus Control - It's So Much More Than You Think - Dr. Jesús Rosales Ruiz
Atomic Shaping - Mary Hunter
Balance Matters - Michaela Hempen
Shaping on a Point of Contact - Alexandra Kurland
7 pm Central time Saturday night: "Camp fire" gathering
1 pm central time Feb 27 our second camp fire gathering
Thursday evening attendees will transport themselves via zoom to my barn for the first of our “Camp Fire” gatherings. Thursday evening is perhaps the most important part of the event. It’s for introductions. At clinics I ask people about their training background and what they hope to get from the weekend. The answers very much shape the experience we are about to have. This will be true for Science Camp, as well. If you have been to my clinics you know the value of this first evening together.
The overall focus of February's Science Camp will be Stimulus Control. We’ll be giving Jesús plenty of time to take us down this "rabbit hole". His work on stimulus control is truly ground breaking. When you listen to his presentations, you quickly realize that for the most part our current understanding of this topic is at the level of “See Dick Run”.
I keep telling Jesús that he needs to give this work another name. When you say stimulus control to most trainers, they immediately think the four criteria that need to be met to determine if a cue is under full stimulus control. That is NOT what Jesús is talking about. Last fall he introduced us to the four quadrants of stimulus control and in February he is going to go even deeper into this subject. It is definitely changing the way I think about training strategies.
Mary Hunter will also be joining us again. She’ll be going even deeper into what constructional training means. In fact she’s going to be introducing us to a new term - atomic shaping. With her extensive background in PORTL Mary always brings a fresh perspective to teaching.
Another Science Camp favorite will be joining us, Dr Michaela Hempen. Michaela has been conducting a research project on cribbing. She now owns the horse who was the primary subject of that study. Blondie wasn’t just a cribber. She was a shut down, out of balance, very stiff, very defensive individual.
Michaela has been documenting her training. She is applying the concepts of stimulus control to every aspect of Blondie’s training. Through her videos you will be able to see how the concepts Jesús describes can be used in real world training both to problem solve and to build new skills.
I will of course be carrying on with my obsession on balance. Michaela and I are both balance obsessed so her work with Blondie crosses into this aspect of training as well.
Science camp is enormous fun. Group size is kept small. This is not a standard conference where you are in the background asking your questions through chat. We take full advantage of zoom to get everyone involved. Questions definitely drive the process. The days will be filled with discussions in which everyone can participate. I will be getting you up out of your chair to explore balance. We will have PORTL sessions, training sessions, presentations and lively discussions.
Those are the overall topics we'll be covering. The format is designed to be flexible. We don't have a "normal" set schedule where one speaker stops and another begins a different program. This year we'll be beginning with Jesús and we'll be following him down whatever "rabbit hole journeys" he wants to take us on. It will have all of the good learning, the great conversations, the laughter, the discoveries, the connecting with friends that an in person Science Camp would have. It just won’t have the mosquitoes, and you’ll get to sleep in your own bed instead of a tent.
This informal schedule creates the perfect conditions for a deep dive into the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and its practical training applications. The total group size is limited. You are not attending a large conference where tight schedules make it difficult to ask questions or to take a topic further than the allotted time allows. Here the schedule belongs to all of us. That means we can explore in depth how research findings from the field of ABA help us to explain what we are observing with our animals. We can also flip it around to see how observations of our animal's behavior can question established beliefs and identify concepts that need further research.
Space is limited. We are keeping the group size small for this event. If you are interested in attending, email me about the event. It will be a weekend of great learning, great discoveries, great conversations, and great fun.
Sign up before Dec 31, 2020 to get the early bird price of $480. After January 1, 2020 we will be charging $550 for the Virtual Science Camp
If you have any questions about the event, do please let me know.
This event is sold out. If you would like to be put on the waiting list, email me at email@example.com
Jesús, Mary, Michaela and I are looking forward to our winter Science Camp getaway. It’s going to be quite an adventure! We are exploring the leading edge in behavior science, so we might as well zoom ahead into the world of Star Trek with a virtual Science Camp.
Who Should Attend?
You! (That is - if you enjoy exploring new ideas, like to stay up late engaged in interesting discussions, enjoy being around animals, love training and hanging out with like-minded people, then this is the event for you.) It's a different kind of conference! Come join us at this year's Clicker Science Camp!
During Science Camp, we'll be exploring both practical training and research topics with an open mind, ready to deviate from the well-trod path of "that's how it's done". We'll be teasing apart the strands of what we think we know to expose ideas we didn't even know were waiting for us! We'll be guided by very experienced and highly skilled practitioners and teachers, by our peers, and the best teachers of all, our animals!
We'll make use of inspiring lectures, dynamic discussions, engaging PORTL games, and enlightening body awareness exercises. We'll have an evening "campfire" discussion to deepen our knowledge, and ignite our curiosity. And we'll ask our animals for feedback. Are we on the right track or do we need to go back, look at a certain question from another angle, explore another approach?
This is NOT meant to be another conference where you just sit and listen. We will all explore, discover, learn and teach. YOU will shape the course content, based on your questions and your discoveries. Accompanying you on this journey of discovery will be an exciting group of presenters and attendees, each bringing their own experiences to inspire even more questions.
Maybe you thought you knew what stimulus control means. You learned the four criteria for stimulus control and then moved on to other topics. Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz is going to take you back for another look. Stimulus control is so much more than any of us ever imagined.
If this were the Clicker Expo we would have to call Mary Hunter's presentation: Atomic Shaping - What a Blast! Instead we'll just call it Atomic Shaping and let you imagine what that means.
Do you wonder how all this focus on behavior analysis fits into practical training? Michaela Hempen will share the current status of her research project on cribbing. How do you apply these concepts to the retraining of a horse who was started badly in a command-based system?
And since everything is everything else, Alexandra Kurland will guide us through the beauty of Shaping on a Point of Contact. Loopy training, stimulus control, errorless learning: these are much more than interesting academic concepts. They are the cornerstones of great handling and teaching. We'll be looking at how you apply them to training through the lens of connecting with horses. For people who prefer animals that come in smaller packages - dogs, goats and any other critters you work with - the concepts definitely cross species lines.
is a pioneer and leading voice in the development of clicker training for horses. 2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the publication of her first book and the “official” introduction of clicker training to the horse world. Since then, Alexandra has published two other books on clicker training, including the recently revised edition of "The Click That Teaches: A Step By Step Guide in Pictures". She has written hundreds of articles on clicker training, produced The Click That Teaches DVD lesson series and an online course (click here for details).
She is a regular speaker at animal training conferences. She is one of the original faculty members of the Clicker Expo and a founding member of the Art and Animal Training Conference.
She publishes regularly on her blog theclickercenterblog. She produces Equiosity, a weekly podcast with Dominique Day. And she is the founder of Horses for Future, a group dedicated to helping horse owners learn how to make a positive difference in the climate change crisis.
To find out more, visit her websites:
For Clicker Training:
For Climate Crisis Action:
Horses for Future (a facebook group and podcast)
Mary Hunter and Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
is an associate professor at the University of North Texas in the Department of Behavior Analysis. He is one of the few scientists in the world studying animal training from both the theoretical and applied perspectives. He, along with his students, has greatly contributed to the understanding of the science and practice of animal training. Jesús studies: the antecedent control of behavior; generalization; behavioral cusps; fluency-based teaching; treatment of autism; teaching of academic behavior; rule-governed behavior and contingency-shaped behavior.
Jesús is a regular speaker at animal training as well as scientific conferences, as both communities can benefit from each other.
Jesús was invited several times to the Equiosity webinars organised by Alexandra Kurland and Dominique Day. You can access the recorded webinars here
is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas.
She also provides dog training services and behavior consultations through her company DogTrainingology and publishes regularly articles about positive reinforcement dog training, the science of dog behavior, and clicker training on her blog Stalecheerios.
As if this was not enough, Mary also serves as the president of The Art and Science of Animal Training (ASAT), a non-profit organization that exists to improve relationships between humans and other animals through educational programs that increase the understanding and use of behavior analytic principles. Mary organises, very successfully, the annual ASAT conference, which brings together academics from the field of behaviour analysis and practical trainers.
The 12th conference will be held 22-23 February 2020, in Dallas (TX). Check out the program and you will realize why this conference is selling out so quickly.
holds a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine and an MSc in equine science, specialising on equine behaviour. She is working as a scientist which made clicker training especially appealing to her.
She is working on a research project that is looking at behavioral interventions for horses that crib. Her work is under the guidance of Dr. Rosales-Ruiz.
She has studied with Alexandra Kurland since 2010. She is now one of Alexandra’s Click-That-Teaches coaches. She runs the German version Alexandra’s online course and provides coaching support.
Apart from clicker training, Michaela has a strong interest in classical dressage, particularly inspired by Anja Beran, applied behaviour analysis, and the work of Moshe Feldenkrais, all which are closely interlinked with Alexandra’s work.