joh09532: February 2012 Archives

Training Animals

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One part of psychology that we've all seen constantly is training animals to make them do amazing tricks. They have become an important circuses and shows as animal training has become a million dollar industry. Animal trainers have been successful at training animals to perform a wide variety of tasks like skateboarding, running through hoops, skateboard, sell car insurance, and do flips. However, many people (maybe even you) don't know how they do it and aren't sure how long it takes to get these animals to do what you want.
The way most trainers change the behaviors of the animals is through operant conditioning as first done by Skinner. When an animal is first trained, the trainers give the animal positive reinforcement to make the animals repeat the desired behavior. One of the most common reinforcers is food. Because animals want to eat as often as possible, food strongly motivates animals to do extraordinary tasks Animals also get through negative reinforcement when they fail to listen to their trainers. Over the course of several months, animals can be trained to perform incredible tasks on demand with few problems.
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