Thursday, February 12, 2009

Introducing TAGteach to Fishermen Part 2

This is the second installment of ,
TAGteach, Parrots and the Men from the Bering Sea!

Part 2
Cascade company co-owner Tim: Burly Bear or Behaviorist Extraordinaire?

Tim said it was time for a shift in the way the management and crew communicated with each other on the boat and in the shipyard." Tim speaks and people jump, literally.
He is not only the co owner of the company; but a big guy with a booming voice and personality. He is also open to ideas that will benefit his employees and has great trust in Amy's recommendations, so when she told him about her idea, he listened.

"Why don't you listen to this CD and tell me what you think"Amy said. She handed over an audio book of Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor. "This is about the science of teaching and learning, it doesn't matter whether it is dogs, cats, dolphins or fishermen. It's just science. I've done the preliminary research by contacting Karen Pryor Clicker Training and explaining our situation. They sent me to TAGteach International which is the company that caters to the human branch of clicker training. I think they could really help us".

After hearing the CD, Tim was cautiously optimistic. Cascade had tried offering traditional `management training' in the past with less than ideal results. Men in suits laden with personality quotients and powerful buzzwords just weren't bringing the right ingredients with them. This I understood. I've been to a few of these seminars and while the information was interesting, it was nearly impossible to bake that cake.

This TAGteach stuff piqued Tim's interest but he wanted to attend a seminar first to assure it would be a proper fit for his guys. Tim is not the kind of guy that will keep forcing a square peg into a round hole….We found a seminar close enough that despite a crazy schedule, Tim, Amy and an engineering manager could attend.

The seminar was held at Terry Ryan's dog training facility in Sequim, Washington. The seminar had open enrollment including 2 behavior analysts, a flight instructor from Australia, 2 classroom teachers, 3 people who teach people to train dogs and of course Tim, Amy and B.

TAGteacher, Keri Gorman and I often teach seminars together and she agreed to help plan and teach this one. It's wonderful to have friendly, knowledgeable co teachers like Keri. I often look to her with a stumped look on my face and say, uh…why don't you answer that question!

Well, the seminar must have been acceptable as we started discussing plans for a Cascade event while at dinner the first night. Terry (the owner of the facility) joined us for dinner and conversation during which her achievements not only a dog trainer but a "chicken camp" director came out. The idea of being able to train chickens to discriminate in a short period of time was intriguing to Tim. It would be fun and certainly entertaining for the guys and maybe tie into the TAG training somehow. He threw the suggestion out for consideration.

I was horrified.
Haunted by "You can't train me like some kind of dog with that clicker thing", I had spent the last 4 years trying to build a great big wall between animal clicker training and TAGteach. Now there would have to be an explanation for "Are you trying say we are only as smart as chickens?". Well, there are stories circulating that Tim gets what he wants and can be intimidating but he used his charm and positivity to convince us to give it a try…The TAGteach seminar would partner with Terry Ryan who would present a lecture on operant conditioning and a chicken training introduction.

Stay tuned for part 3...
Egg laying and Clicker Training Give a Bear Hug to TAGteach and Poker Chips

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