What Happened to the Science in Science-based Training?

What Happened to the Science in Science-based Training?

The study of learning and behavior as a natural phenomenon is in its infancy. Yet today, this complex science is increasingly reduced and weakened with human rationalizations that practitioners of behavior change need “simple tools” to make sense of its complexity. How do we rescue this immense science from a world where recipes and overly simplistic roadmaps tempt trainers to become instant experts? Where does a trainer turn when day-to-day (year to year) observations from demanding hands-on work with animals in their care tell them that something is missing from the “scientific information” provided in the latest well-intentioned opinion?

This lecture explores this and other questions with information about the history of the still fledgling field of behavior analysis and how such questions and challenges have been examined by behavior scientists and practitioners over the last half century. What does this scientific history teach animal trainers about what behaviorists do, the procedures they use and the ethical struggles they have faced? And how can we continue to make progress in the application of a science when pressures by colleagues, organizations, and even certifying bodies threaten personal and professional punishment if individuals or organizations do not adopt the newest shortcut to education and experience?

Parvene Farhoody, PhD

Dr. Parvene Farhoody started training animals in 1974 and began training professionally in 1992. Today, she owns and operates Behavior Matters,® Inc., a behavior consulting, training, and education service in New York City that specializes in teaching people to better understand learning principles and how these principles are applied to teach all species—human and nonhuman.

In 2008, Parvene continued to train and teach while earning a doctorate in Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and a Master’s in Psychology with a concentration in Animal Behavior and Wildlife Conservation from Hunter College in New York City.

Dr. Farhoody trains animals across species, consults, coaches and designs training programs. Her comprehensive approach to training nonhuman species always includes teaching human caregivers how to work with the animals in their care. The goal is to implement effective and efficient behavior change procedures that go hand in hand with safe and enjoyable learning environments.

She has conducted scientific research on minimally restrictive and least aversive behavioral interventions to reduce inter-dog aggression and published research on the effects of spay/neuter on the aggressive behavior of domestic dogs. She continues to research low-stress behavioral interventions that can improve the lives of human and nonhuman animals.

From 1992 to 1996, Parvene worked extensively with children from Kindergarten through 5th grade in public and private schools in Baltimore, Maryland. She designed and implemented teaching systems that facilitated maximal learning with minimal stress. The curricula were designed to motivate students to learn using the same scientific principles she applies to all training.

Dr. Farhoody shares her passion for the experimental analysis of behavior and its application through her research, writing, and private coaching of professional trainers across disciplines. She also gives lectures, seminars and workshops designed to improve the understanding of scientifically validated learning principles and how to directly apply these principles to any field.  Read more here

Relevant Links:

Bollard, J., & Nettelbeck, T. (1982). A component analysis of dry-bed training for treatment for bedwetting. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 20(4), 383-390.

Skinner, B. F. (1966). What is the experimental analysis of behavior?Journal of the Experimental Analysis of behavior, 9(3), 213.

Exotic Animal Training and Learning, An Issue of Veterinary Clinics: Exotic Animal Practice, Volume 15-31st Edition Dr Farhoody has two chapters in this text. Download Table of Contents at bottom of page.

Scroll to the bottom of the page for many downloads relevant to this course.

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