How to train an animal.

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Chapter 6 describes many ways to train an animal. The first of those ways is Operant Conditioning, a technique that was invented by B.F. Skinner (Strongly associated with Behaviorism). Operant Conditioning is a method that involves rewarding an individual for completing a given task, or an "operant." This technique is effective because of the Law of Effect. The Law of Effect states that if an individual receives a reward for a given action, they are more likely to repeat this action. Operant Conditioning differs from Classical Conditioning in that Operant Conditioning is voluntary and conscious, while Classical Conditioning is more automatic. An example of Operant Conditioning is asking a dog to sit, and giving that dog a treat every time it sits. An example of Classical Conditioning is that a stove gets hot while red so an individually will automatically know not to touch the stove. However there are more factors that play a role in Operant Conditioning than just Operant and Reward, a third factor is known as Reinforcement. Reinforcement was added to this method by B. F. Skinner. A reinforcement is any outcome that strengthens the probability of a response. Chapter 6 gave me a further understanding of the science behind training an animal.


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I am interested in learning more about operant conditioning and classical conditioning. There are conditioning things that we face everyday. For example, through operant conditioning, I get paid every time I write my name on the dishes sheet and do the dishes at my fraternity. We adapt to these conditions and learn through them. Reinforcement is interesting to me too. The fact that reinforcement can strengthen the probability of a response.

It is truly amazing what operant conditioning can allow us to do. Can you imagine life without this? Something we take for granted like a well trained dog would be impossible to have without operant conditioning. They would not sit when you tell them to and would be hard to keep under control.

Without operant conditioning, I think it's safe to say we probably wouldn't be having pets because there would be no simple way to train them. Long before I took this class, I trained my dog in an operant conditioning way without even realizing it. Just to prove to my family that I could train my dog to a trick, whenever I had food and my dog wanted it, I would tell her to roll over and when she would I would give her a small piece of the food. We've done this so many times that now when I have food, she rolls over without me having to tell her a single thing! It's really hard not to give her at least a little piece.

What made you decide to write on this topic?

Training animals using Operant Conditioning has also been interesting to me. After doing research on it, it is really amazing on what some people have been able to train animals to do. I am curious to see how long it would take to train different animals and if every animal is capable of being trained.

I agree with you that training an animal using operant conditioning is very effective because we apply both the reinforcement and punishment on them in order to them to be trained. I used to have a dog, and I taught him giving handshake by place a treat in my hand and have him place his paw on mine every time I put the treat out. Later on, he got used to it and I only gave him treat only after he gave me handshake.

This topic is very interesting to me because I have horses and it is easy to see how operant conditioning plays into their training. For example, my horse used to very afraid of flyspray and would act very wary whenever she would see me with a spray bottle. To get her used to it, I would rub her neck (which is comforting to horses) and offer her a treat while she was being sprayed. By doing this every time I saw my horse she eventually came to stand calm for me while getting sprayed with flyspray. This is just one of the many examples I see in my horses that is an example of operant conditioning.

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This page contains a single entry by renn0112 published on February 26, 2012 9:14 PM.

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