(how fortunate!) to be invited by my colleague and friend, Miki Saito to speak at the BAW conference on animal training and behavior in Tokyo, Japan. I was specifically presenting on my two specialties: separation anxiety and deaf dogs. However, of course we generalized to include positive reinforcement training encompassing antecedent arrangement, behavior, and consequences, thus setting the dog (rhino, polar bear, elephant) and person up for success!

It is always a great pleasure to talk with new as well as former colleagues about the science of learning and teaching. By sharing our ideas and thoughts we can continue to expand our repetoir of comprehension and knowledge so that we might always improve upon how to interact clearly and positively.

The theme of BAW was understanding how to use the science of applied behavioral analysis whether at beginner or at an advanced student/teacher level to arrange the environment and orchestrate appropriate consequences to teach and modify behavior.


We discussed using desensitization and counter conditioning to slowly acclimatize to stimuli in order to help the animal (and/or human!) to feel comfortable and confident. We talked about appropriately reinforcing behaviors that we wanted to see continue or increase. We brainstormed and modeled ways to incorporate each of these tactics into daily interactions.

Creating a global network can help in the realization that none of us are “alone” in our journey towards better cooperation and understanding. As Dr. Susan Friedman states, we are a “tribe” together.

Together we can build and create an ever greater network of support and knowledge which will enable us to better our comprehension of, enthusiasm for, and commitment to best practices in effective and efficient force free communication with all species!