Presented by Kathy Sdao
CEUs: PPAB 1, CCPDT (pending), IAABC 1
But my dog isn't food motivated!. When clients say this in an initial interview, my response is “not yet.” Eating is an operant behavior. Therefore, we can increase its probability and intensity and lower its latency through structured training procedures. While this might seem laughable if you have a ravenous Rottweiler or always-hungry hound, situations abound which require skilled intervention: a senior dog whose appetite is fading; a wary dog who has learned to distrust treats; a little dog who is fussy about meals; or a dog whose health is threatened by conditioned anorexia. While various medical conditions (requiring veterinary expertise) may create finicky eaters, so can unwise behavioral practices. We’ll review several common mistakes and provide alternatives.
Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist who has spent 30 years as a full-time animal trainer, initially with marine mammals and currently with dogs and their people. As a graduate student at the University of Hawaii, she received a Master’s as part of a research team which trained dolphins to solve complex cognitive puzzles. She was then hired by the United States Navy to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Next, Sdao worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington. After leaving the zoo world, she and a colleague created Tacoma’s first dog day care facility where she began teaching clicker training classes for dog owners. For the past 17 years, Sdao has owned Bright Spot Dog Training in Tacoma. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching private lessons, and mentoring professional trainers who want to maximize the power of positive reinforcement training. Sdao is an original faculty member for Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpos and has taught at 29 of these popular conferences since 2003. She also has traveled extensively educating students about the science of animal training. Her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace, was published in 2012.