Pryor, Karen 1932-

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PRYOR, Karen 1932-

PERSONAL: Born May 14, 1932, in New York, NY; daughter of Philip Gordon (an author) and Sally (an antiques dealer; maiden name, Ondeck) Wylie; married Taylor A. Pryor, June 16, 1954 (divorced, November, 1972); married Jon Morrow Lindbergh (an aqua-culture consultant), May 14, 1983; children: (first marriage) Tedmund Wylie, Michael A., Gale T. Education: Cornell University, B.A., 1954; graduate study at University of Hawaii—Manoa, 1957-59, and New York University and Rutgers University, 1977-82.

ADDRESSES: Home—Watertown, MA. Office— Sunshine Books, Inc., 49 River St., Suite 3, Waltham, MA 02472.

CAREER: Behavioral biologist and author. Sea Life Park and Oceanic Institute, Honolulu, HI, cofounder and developer, 1960-71, curator and head trainer, 1963-71; Fawcett-McDermott-Cavanaugh, Honolulu, copywriter, 1972-76; U.S. Tuna Foundation, Washington, DC, scientific adviser, 1976-82; Sunshine Books, Inc., Waltham, MA, chief executive officer, publisher, and editor in chief. Member of national Marine Mammal Commission, 1984-87; Cambridge Center for Behavior Studies, member of board of trustees; principal investigator on dolphin behavior for Office of Naval Research, National Marine Fisheries Service, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration; consultant on marine mammals and behavioral biology, 1982—, including work for National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution, and National Geographic Society. Keedick Lecture Bureau, lecturer, 1965-75; presenter of "clicker training" seminars throughout the world; guest on radio and television programs since 1954. Member of board of directors of Hana Ranch, Inc., and Hana-Maui Hotel, 1969-71.

MEMBER: International Association of Marine Animal Trainers, Authors Guild, Authors League, Marine Mammal Society (charter member), Association for Behavior Analysis (chair of animal trainers special-interest groups), Animal Behavior Association, Society of Women Geographers, Cosmopolitan Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Award for Excellence in the Media, American Psychological Association, 1984, for Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training, and 1996; Communication in Science Awards, Association for Behavior Analysis, 1995 and 1997; Ralston Purina Award, best cat behavior book of the year, and Award of Excellence, Cat Writers Association, both c. 2001, for Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats.


Nursing Your Baby, Harper (New York, NY), 1963, revised edition, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1973.

Lads before the Wind: Adventures in Porpoise Training, Harper (New York, NY), 1975.

Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1984, 16th edition, 2002.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Frisbee, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1985.

(Editor) Phil Wylie's Stories of Florida Fishing, 1990.

(With Gale Pryor) Nursing Your Baby Today, 1990.

(Editor, with Kenneth S. Norris) Dolphin Societies: Discoveries and Puzzles, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1991.

Karen Pryor on Behavior: Essays and Research, Sunshine Books (North Bend, WA), 1995.

A Dog and a Dolphin 2.0: An Introduction to Clicker Training, Sunshine Books (North Bend, WA), 1997.

Clicker Training for Dogs, Sunshine Books (Waltham, MA), 1999.

Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats, Sunshine Books (Waltham, MA), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Alive in the Wild, edited by V. H. Catalance, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1970; Readings in Psychology, Psychology Today, 1978; Cetacean Behavior: Mechanisms and Functions, edited by Louis Herman, Wiley (New York, NY), 1980; and Georges Bank: Past, Present, and Future of a Marine Environment, edited by George McLeod and J. H. Prescott, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1982. Contributor to scientific journals and popular magazines, including New York, Readers Digest, Friends, Psychology Today, Science, and Omni, and to newspapers. Drama and music critic, Honolulu Advertiser, 1972-75; editor, Trainer's Forum News.

SIDELIGHTS: Behavioral biologist Karen Pryor is the author of a number of books that have helped pet owners live happily. Utilizing applied operative conditioning, Pryor helps trainers teach dogs, cats, and other animals appropriate behavior through the use of positive reinforcement. Among her books is Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training, which was first published in 1984 and was in its sixteenth printing in 2000. She has also helped popularize "clicker training" for both dogs and cats through several books and through her Web site, Clickertraining.

Pryor once told CA: "Since childhood I have had two vocations: writing and field natural history. As a pioneering dolphin trainer in the 1960s, I was also an early developer of applied Skinnerian conditioning techniques. Both my scientific and my general writing reflect a practical merging of learning theory (or behavior as the psychologists see it) and ethology (or behavior as the naturalists see it). My major influences and personal friends have been [behaviorist] B. F. Skinner, [ethologist] Konrad Lorenz, [anthropologist] Gregory Bateson, and my father, Philip Wylie.

"I consider my gifts as a scientist to be the ability to synthesize apparently opposing fields of thought and to apply theory in the real world. As a writer I try to use an intimate 'voice' which draws the reader in and gives confidence, and to use my knack as an 'explainer.' Nursing Your Baby has sold nearly two million copies and taught many, many mothers to breastfeed, but it is not just a how-to book. It is also intended to be a philosophy lesson, an attitude changer. Similarly, Don't Shoot the Dog!: The New Art of Teaching and Training (the publisher's title, not mine) explains technical information to the people who really need it—parents, hospital caregivers, and all kinds of trainers of humans as well as animals—and also is meant to be an attitude changer. It offers permanent and effective alternatives to punishment.

"[In my writing] I … use humor and verbal clarity to teach the useful aspects of the synthesis between behaviorism and ethology—learnings and leanings, a synthesis which is central to my scientific work."



Choice, March, 1992, review of Dolphin Societies: Discoveries and Puzzles, p. 1108.

CoEvolution Quarterly, spring, 1984.

Library Journal, June 15, 1991, review of Dolphin Societies, p. 100; October 1, 2001, Florence Scarinci, review of Getting Started: Clicker Training for Cats, p. 135.

New Scientist, April 24, 1999, review of Dolphin Societies, p. 48.

Science, May 1, 1992, review of Dolphin Societies, p. 681.

SciTech Book News, October, 1991, review of Dolphin Societies, p. 16.


Clickertraining, (January 5, 2002).

Nova Online, (January 5, 2002).*