Trainers Use Several Tools Help Them Work With The Animals Essay example

Trainers Use Several Tools Help Them Work With The Animals Essay example

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Trainers use several tools to help them work with the animals. One is a bridge which is a stimulus, usually a whistle or saying “good”, that the trainer uses to communicate the precise moment an animal does something correct.2 The term bridge is used to describe the stimulus because it bridges the gap between the behavior and the reinforcer. This immediate feedback is important because the animal may be in the water far away from the trainer and needs to know which behavior was correct. With marine mammals, a high-pitched whistle is often used as a bridge because it can be heard above or below water and is always the same. Consistency is important. Through Pavlov’s classical conditioning, the bridge stimulus is paired with a primary reinforcer, like the food or a rubdown. After the numerous trials, the bridge becomes associated with reinforcement and becomes a conditioned reinforcement. The animal has learned that a whistle means it has done something correctly and that it can expect a reinforcer of some sort.
Another training tool is a target. The target is usually either a trainer 's hand or a small ball at the end of a pole.3 The ball acts as an extension of the trainer 's hand. Most often, animals are trained to touch the target with their nose or mouth. The trainer can move the target up, down, left, right, forward, backward, etc. Each time the animal touches the target, the bridge stimulus is given which means “yes” or “good job” to the animal. The target is reinforced through operant conditioning. In operant conditioning, the animal 's action that is reinforced will become more frequently performed. Through positive reinforcement of operant behaviors, and the conditioning of a bridge and target, almost any behavior is possi...


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...goal of the desired trained behavior.
If a behavior is not reinforced, it decreases. Eventually it is extinguished altogether. This is called extinction. Animal trainers use the technique of extinction to eliminate undesired behaviors. In animal training, when a trainer requests a particular behavior and the animal gives no response, this is also considered an undesired behavior. To eliminate the behavior, they simply do not reinforce it. Over time, the animal learns that a particular behavior is not producing a desired effect. The animal usually discontinues the behavior. When using the extinction technique, it is important to identify what stimuli are reinforcing for an animal. The trainer must be careful not to present a positive reinforcer after an undesirable behavior. The best way to avoid reinforcing an undesired behavior is to try to give no stimulus at all.

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