30 Days of ZooFit: Day 27- Least Reinforcing Scenario

Today I presented a class on Creativity for my writing group. While listening to the section on dealing with “trolls”, I was reminded of a powerful lesson I learned as a zookeeper in dealing with setbacks. To be truly successful and to maintain a positive mindset, you must deal with setbacks and mistakes with only a positive approach. In animal training, we typically use the Least Reinforcing Scenario. Continue reading 30 Days of ZooFit: Day 27- Least Reinforcing Scenario

30 Days of ZooFit: Day 20- Watoto’s Rumble

I’ve often wondered how it would feel for someone to love me so much, they peed whenever they saw me.

This was how Bamboo, a fifty-year old Asian elephant, greeted her best friend, retired zookeeper Chuck, whenever he visited. She would squeal with excitement, and when she couldn’t contain herself anymore, Bamboo would relieve herself. It was a sight to see. Continue reading 30 Days of ZooFit: Day 20- Watoto’s Rumble

30 Days of ZooFit: Day 16- Double Workout, a Healthy Obsession

A few years ago, when I became serious about getting in shape, I was gung ho. I joined a gym, signed up for a weight loss challenge, and began a journey which would lead many friends (but mostly non-friends) to claim I was obsessed. Continue reading 30 Days of ZooFit: Day 16- Double Workout, a Healthy Obsession

30 Days of ZooFit: Day 8- The Exceptions to the Rules

The animal training book Don’t Shoot the Dog is a must read for anyone wanting to change behavior. It doesn’t matter if the behavior you are wanting to change is your own, your pets, your kids’, or your spouse’s behavior. Continue reading 30 Days of ZooFit: Day 8- The Exceptions to the Rules

30 Days of ZooFit: Day 5- Focus on the Positive, Learn from the Animals

If you would like a glimpse into my inspiration and what influenced me for ZooFit’s first cornerstone, Fitness Through Operant Conditioning, look no further than the book Don’t Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. I really love this book because every time I read it, I find something new I never before considered with ZooFit. Continue reading 30 Days of ZooFit: Day 5- Focus on the Positive, Learn from the Animals

Burpee Bonus

I hadn’t been this proud since my days as an animal care specialist working with young dolphins and whales. It was a proud mama moment, even though I’ve never had children. The moment your pupils, animals or humans, finally get it. The moment the light bulb goes off and they do what you’ve been trying to teach them for so long. Without prompting, guiding, or leading them. Continue reading Burpee Bonus

Dealing With the Negative Nancy

This month for North Sound Writers book club, we are reading Don’t Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor. Karen is the mother goddess-dragon of all animal trainers, and she is attributed to developing positive reinforcement training which zoos and aquariums adhere to in working with their animals. The book she wrote is considered the animal trainer’s bible. 

But Karen didn’t write the book just for animal trainers. She wrote it specifically for people outside the training world. She wrote it for people looking to change their pet’s behavior. To change your kids’ behavior. Your spouse’s habits. Even your own. Karen shows how a shift from negative focus, punishment methods to a positive reinforcement mindset will bring life long changes in habits. Continue reading Dealing With the Negative Nancy

Reinforcement Versus Reward

It’s strange how inspiration works. For my book club selection next month, I chose an oldie but a goodie, Karen Pryor’s Don’t Shoot the Dog. I chose it for a variety of reasons. It is what animal trainers sometimes call “the Animal Training Bible”. This is a book I grew up reading in my career. It influenced me as an animal care specialist and zookeeper, and it is one of the inspirations for The Zookeeper’s Guide to Fitness (or whatever I’m calling it these days). I was curious how my friends in the book club would appreciate a self-help book over their normal selections of science-fiction, fantasy, and occasional memoir/autobiography. I am writing a self-help book. It’s kind of important for me to know how people will potential review my own book. Continue reading Reinforcement Versus Reward

Event Training with ZooFit

I am a part of an amazing team competing in the Whidbey Island Triathlon this Saturday.  In my continuous effort to practice ZooFit in all my affairs, I figured training for this event utilizing the principles of operant conditioning, enrichment, and even conservation would be a great experiment. While we are definitely a competitive team, I feel confident that event training with ZooFit will prove beneficial and effective. Continue reading Event Training with ZooFit

Interpretive Nature Run

Being an avid non-runner, I look for opportunities to avoid the exercise at all costs. However, with the Sloth Army Running Club in full swing and meeting twice a week for runs, I can’t escape it. Coming up with running workouts on Thursdays is pretty easy, I have a slew of them. Coming up with interesting longer runs for Sundays is somewhat more difficult. I decided for today’s trail run, I’d revert a little to my background as an educator/naturalist and give an interpretive narration throughout the 2 mile run. Continue reading Interpretive Nature Run