Advanced training is rarely about increased complexities but exploring the complexities that are within simple behaviours.

Since the dawn of clicker training in the 1990s, training has become much more accessible and less of a specialised, or mysterious activity. This has been largely due to learning from video, the wider understanding of the technology of training and instantly appealing outcomes.

Not all training we see is clean, much of it is mucky, confusing the both the teacher and the learner. If we are looking to progress we need to be sure our foundation skills are sound.

Clean training is about really clear communication between two different species. Both listening and learning during the interaction. An exchange that leaves no doubts, no confusion and no uncertainty.

Clean trainers show self-discipline and self-awareness with their cues, precision marking, a focussed and very effective reinforcement process and an ability to adapt the environment to meet their learner’s needs.

Clean training naturally develops learner confidence, a perpetual joy in learning and strong sense of achievement for both participants.

Your learner is a mirror, reflecting your skills as a trainer. If there is confusion or uncertainty then we look at the trainer for the source.

Your clean trainer check list:

1. Knows what and where the reinforcers are at all times.
Can collect and prepare to deliver without needing to pause or break the flow of teaching.
2. Fully engages in the process.
Is not absent or distracted at any time.
3. Can adapt the reinforcement process to suit the learner and the behaviour.
Can change the reinforcer, the delivery and pace, add interaction when needed.
4. Delivers cues cleanly, without ambiguity and when the learner clearly indicates readiness.
Consistently gives the minimal, without repetitions, add-on prompts, and looks for the right timing, cadence and delivery.
5. Monitors how the environment is affecting the learner and makes changes to enable optimum learning.
Continually aware of what may become a disruption, or when the learner may be getting tired or need a change of activity.
6. Can adapt markers to suit the learner and the behaviour.
Using a range of markers from sounds, words and signals to let the learner know precisely what they have achieved.
7. Paces the learning to suit the learner’s needs.
Reading the learner to know when to slow down, or when to increase the pace, when to up the energy and when to cool it.
8. Values the process of learning more than the achievement of outcomes.
Being able to see and respond to progress, rather than measure by the job done. Training is not best measured by time but by progress along the route.


9. Can clearly indicate when the learner needs to fully engage with the trainer (open session) and when the learner can take a break (close session).
10. Can build a fluent rhythm during the learning, where the antecedents, behaviours and reinforcers develop a natural pattern.
11. Uses training equipment, lures, targets, that communicate effectively demonstrated by the prompt response of the learner.
12. Can train under a variety of conditions.
13. Sets a learning programme that develops the individual skills of that learner at a pace that is beneficial to that learner.
14. Can train a variety of different types of programmes: for lifeskills, for performance, for rehabilitation, for husbandry, for the pleasure of interaction

Skilful training takes time and practice to develop. To achieve this list I would allow a 2 year investment. (1-8 for one year, and 9-14 for the second year).

Why should you want to clean up your training? It reinforces both teacher or trainer and learner in the process – once you become a clean trainer you are not going to want to stop.

Join the online course:

Clean Training

Online 8 lesson course on learning the component skills that develop clear communication with training that leaves no doubts, no confusion and no uncertainty. Starts Jan 3 2019

EarlyBird Discount 15%, plus Members discounts

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If you would like to add your own
considerations of what constitutes clean training
please use the comments.


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