GIMME SHELTER! CREATIVE, EFFECTIVE INTERVENTIONS WITH BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE
Lindsay Wood Brown • Washington DC (in-person)
Shelters endeavor to be lifesaving safety nets, comfortable landing places for animals in need. Excellence in sheltering relies on the ability to provide high quality of life during a shelter stay and along with the commitment and ability to reduce the length of that stay.
The shelter population has changed in the last few years; there are fewer “ready-to-go” animals and far more animals in need of behavioral support. Philosophies have also changed; we are more committed to supporting a greater number of animals within the shelter population, including those we may not have elected to rehome in the past, those that would not have received behavioral support, stray animals that will likely be reclaimed, and animals in our care that are in court-hold or protective custody.
To support the growing and complex population in shelters and to meet the increasing commitment to the entire population in the building, shelters need creative and effective strategies, a dual, seemingly daunting, challenge. But it doesn’t have to be so daunting.
For Lindsay Wood Brown, the development of shelter solutions that are both creative and effective is catalyzed by behavioral science. Behavioral science is the springboard from which her curiosity, in the form of questions, launches. How can we apply behavioral science in new ways to support behavioral welfare? Where does our power lie in facilitating behavior change for a large number of animals? Behavioral science simultaneously defines the boundaries for what is worth trying, what is likely to be effective, and what bets are worth making. In a world of limited resources, the value of behavioral science in choosing what “bets” to place is priceless.
In Lindsay’s extensive experience working in and on behalf of shelters, her success in improving sheltering outcomes has been enabled by behavior science in general and two tools in particular—the power of antecedent arrangements and the conditioning of new reinforcers. These two tools are so powerful that small but smart changes can give rise to transformative outcomes.
Join Lindsay as she describes how she uses behavioral science as a springboard for creativity and how she has applied these tools to create excellent shelter interventions that paid off in enhanced quality of life during, and reducing the length of, multiple animals’ shelter stays.
From dogs to penguins to rhinos to alligators, behavior analysis has universal relevance across species, settings, and behaviors! At ClickerExpo LIVE, you’ll get the opportunity to observe a live behavior consultation between Susan G. Friedman, Ph.D. and the team at The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, as they teach a rhino and a “congregation” of alligators to participate in husbandry and medical care in real-time.
Until then, enjoy this short clip from their 2021 live consult, which focused on giraffes and penguins!