What a Cue Can Do: Developing Cueing Skills

Effective cueing is essential for achieving reliable responses. The process of adding cues in clicker training is different than in other training methods. Getting behaviors on cue is often the most difficult concept for new clicker trainers to understand because the process is somewhat counterintuitive.

This Session is about choosing and maintaining effective cues for operant behaviors as well as about understanding how cues are integral to more advanced training applications. Kathy Sdao will show you how to use cues to gain control of operant behaviors. You'll learn what a cue is—and isn't—and how cues differ from commands. We'll discuss how to choose cues to maximize clarity and how cues function in behavior chains. You'll also learn how to avoid the “good enough” syndrome.

Please note: This Session was recorded in 2016; content presented in 2018 may vary slightly.  

Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She has spent more than 30 years as a fulltime animal trainer, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. Kathy received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Hawaii. The United States Navy then hired her to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Kathy next worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Later, Kathy co-created Tacoma’s first dog-daycare facility, where she began teaching clicker-training classes.

Since 1998, Kathy has owned Bright Spot Dog Training. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching private lessons, and mentoring professional trainers. Kathy is proud to be an original faculty member at Karen Pryor Clicker Training’s ClickerExpo conferences.

Kathy has traveled extensively across the United States, Canada, and Europe, and to Australia, Israel, Japan, and Mexico, educating students about the science of animal training. Her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace was published in 2012.