What we’ll geek out about
From simple, everyday interactions (coming when called, cuddling on the couch, sniffing a new dog’s posterior) to unhealthy or maladaptive behavior like aggression or anxiety, everything dogs do is affected by learning.
As professional dog trainers charged with effectively installing new behaviors and modifying unwanted ones, our best success depends on understanding the science of learning. Combining science with skill is what turns a hobbyist into a pro, and a good dog trainer into a great one. I want that for you!
We’ll cover all of the basics, like:
- The biology of learning
- The basics of instrumental conditioning, including
- Thorndike’s Law of Effect
- The A-B-C sequence pro trainers rely on to get strong behaviors.
- Positive and negative reinforcement and punishment
- The side effects of and alternatives to punishment
- How to effectively and humanely increase and decrease behavior
- The science behind specific training methods (e.g. clicker training, e-collars, punishment, etc.)
- Learning and the brain
And of course, we’ll look at how to apply all these concepts to take your training results to the next level.
I believe that the most effective learning occurs when students are not only provided with the facts, but also provided ample opportunity to use that information in concrete ways, engage in challenging activities, interact with others and receive frequent feedback on their progress.
Therefore, this course will be taught using an approach that encourages collaboration and active learning. While there will be time spent lecturing, time in class will be also be spent working on interactive activities and completing brief assignments.
I began my teaching career by teaching at a university and I hold students in my online courses to the same standards. I have high expectations for engagement and quality of work. However, I also strongly feel that if I am going to set a high bar, that I need to step up and make sure my students can reach it. This means that I hold myself to a very high standard as well and I love it when students reach out if they are struggling with the material in any way. I am happy to help. If you haven’t taken a college course before, but are willing to put in the work and reach out for help if needed, then you should do well in this course.
Here’s a taste
The next course will start on Thursday, May 20th. It runs for four weeks: 5/20, 5/27, 6/3 and 6/10.
- For all students: There will be a lecture at 6 pm Eastern time each Thursday. Class runs for about an hour. Each lecture will be conducted live and will include some interactive discussion. Lectures will also be recorded for students that are not able to attend live.
- For full students:
- Discussion sessions: There will be a discussion section at about 7 pm Eastern time each week (immediately following lecture),. This session will run about an hour and we will use the time to further explore the concepts in a variety of ways. For particularly tricky content, students will participate in exercises to solidify and practice the information presented during lecture. In addition, students will have practice at applying course material directly to working with dogs. Discussions use a team-based learning format where students will be presented with a challenge then given an opportunity to discuss the challenge with their team and agree on an answer. We will then discuss the answer as a group and I will provide additional information on applications and connections to other concepts. The discussion sections are designed to create deep, transformative, and lasting learning related to course material.
- Course assessments: Full students will also receive in-class assignments and 1 – 2 quizzes to assess their understanding of course material.
- $330 for full students (8 hours of instruction including discussion, course quizzes)
- $200 for auditors (4 hours of instruction)
If you are interested in taking this course as a full student, but cannot attend live at the currently scheduled time, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred times. If I get enough requests for other time slots, I will open additional sections.
- IAABC – 4 CEUs
- CCPDT – 3 CEUs for trainers, 1 CEU for behavior consultants
- CEUs will require watching the lectures and submitting the secret words.
- IAABC – 9.5 CEUs
- CCPDT – 6 CEUs for trainers, 2 CEUs for behavior consultants
- CEUs will require watching the lectures and submitting the secret words, attending 75% or more of the discussion sections and completion of work in class as well as the completion of a comprehensive quiz. The quiz must be passed with a score of 80% or higher. If you receive less than 80% on the quiz you may retake the quiz once, and may contact the instructor for clarification on the missed questions.
- Refunds, minus a $10 processing fee, will be granted if requested up to 2 days before the start of class. After that, 50% refunds will be granted up until the start of class.
- Refunds are not available after the start of class.
- Refunds will not be granted if you are unable to attend class and therefore unable to complete the required work. Excused absences will be granted in case of emergencies and illness (with proper documentation).