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Kathy Sdao is one of the most gracious, kind and inspiring animal behavior experts that you'll ever have the good fortune to meet and learn from.

Imagine that your lucrative research grant was riding on whether you could get a dolphin to push a surfboard to a person on one trial and to swim under the hoop on her right on another trial? How would you design the signals you'd use to communicate these instructions to your learner? We'll discuss several cue tips that were crucial for the success of this historic project because they are relevant whenever we are requesting behavior from a learner of any species.

You'll learn to identify the five criteria for a strong cue and you'll learn how cues function as reinforcers in behavior chains.


Topics include:

- the difference between a command and a cue

- avoiding poisoned cues

- how to choose effective cues

- the five criteria for an effective cue

- how cues become conditioned reinforcers

- why cues are precious


CEUs are no longer offered for TAGteach webinars.


Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She has been a full-time animal trainer for more than thirty years, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. At the University of Hawaii, she received a master’s degree as part of a research team which trained dolphins to solve complex cognitive puzzles. She was then hired by the United States Navy to train dolphins for open-ocean tasks. Next, Kathy worked as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma Washington. After leaving the zoo world, Kathy and a colleague created Tacoma’s first dog-daycare facility where Kathy 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 who want to maximize the power of positive-reinforcement training. Kathy is proud to be an original faculty member for Karen Pryor’s ClickerExpos and has taught at thirty-six of these popular conferences. Kathy also 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. In 2012, she published her first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace.