Animal Training

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I have always been fascinated by the idea of animal training. Having never had a dog, and not really being able to train my cat to do anything cool, reading about this topic was very interesting to me. It's one thing to see a dog do the generic tricks like rolling over, sitting, or shaking for a treat, but what I am really drawn to is the training of the animals at Sea World. How does one go about training a whale or a dolphin that's ten times their size?! After doing some research on animal training at Sea World, I learned a lot of interesting things pertaining to this topic. In all animals, they can only be trained to do what they are capable of doing. They learn through observation, which can occur without any outside reinforcement. At Sea World, killer whale calves learn much of their behaviors by following their mothers. They copy what they do and by age one, it is possible for them to have already acquired up to ten performance behaviors. As I continued to read, I came across the section of learning called "Classical Conditioning," which reminded me of what I had read in the textbook. In Pavlov's case, he trained dogs to salivate using a conditioned stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus which elicited conditioned and unconditioned responses. This same technique is used in training the dolphins and whales at Sea World, as well as Operant Conditioning, Positive Reinforcement, and Stimulus Discrimination. It really intrigued me to see how Pavlov's findings have remained in effect throughout all these years and are still used today.

http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/training/index.htm

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This page contains a single entry by plier002 published on February 18, 2012 7:27 PM.

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