The Great Divide: Is it Operant or Classical?

Behavior consultants navigate multiple pathways as they plan treatments. At the top of the list of considerations is paradigm approach: the choice between an operant or classical conditioning treatment method. A thoughtful approach and a clear behavior-change plan are essential for effective treatment. However, we often become fixed on our learning paradigm of choice, limiting perspective and hindering the ability to take advantage of both learning processes. 

This Session will explore the impact of classical and operant learning in training sessions, procedural selection for initiating a behavior plan, and how a robust understanding of the interplay between processes can power training choices. We will consider the role of emotions in changing behavior, the benefits and limitations of classical and operant conditioning, and how we can harness both processes most effectively for the greatest success for learners.

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2017; content presented in 2018 may vary slightly.  

Lindsay Wood Brown

Lindsay Wood Brown,  is a board-certified applied animal behaviorist (ACAAB) and a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP) with a master's degree in psychology and a concentration in animal behavior from Hunter College. Lindsay works at Karen Pryor Academy  as a Course Developer and has been a member of the  KPA faculty member since 2012. She specializes in resolving behavior conditions and consults for animal shelters on the design and implementation of behavior programs, effective modification methods for a range of behavior conditions, and development of robust operational strategies to achieve behavioral health within the shelter.

Lindsay served as the Director of Operations for Lynchburg Humane Society (LHS), an open-admissions animal shelter located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Her role at Lynchburg Humane included the oversight of all shelter operations, with a strong focus on behavior and behavior modification to increase the number of animal lives saved and rehomed successfully.

Prior to her role as Director of Operations in Virginia, Lindsay served as the Director of Animal Training and Behavior for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in Boulder, Colorado. She developed Boulder Humane's Training and Behavior Department, including the curriculum for a wide array of positive reinforcement, clicker training classes for community members. Lindsay also developed the organization's comprehensive behavior modification program, which focuses on rehabilitating dogs with specific concerns, including food-guarding, fearful behavior, body-handling sensitivities, separation anxiety, and dog-dog aggression.