Tonawanda News — Having a full set of tools in your toolbox is essential. You can use a screwdriver to pound in nails, but a hammer would be a better tool for the job.
Just like carpentry, animal training using operant conditioning has many different tools. And choosing the correct one is essential.
Here is a story about a woman walking down a sidewalk on a Thursday afternoon after leaving work. The following day is pay day, and she is on a bi-monthly schedule. She hasn’t been paid for nearly two weeks and is very short on cash. Her car is almost on empty and she has no food in her refrigerator. Just as she is about to enter her gasless car, she notices something moving underneath a nearby bush. She walks over and discovers that it’s cash — and not just a $1 note, but a $100 bill. She looks around the parking lot and no one is visible. So she picks it up and fills her gas tank and pantry.
What do you think she is going to do the next time she walks by that bush?
Behavior can change because of one simple consequence. Training your pet is like providing them with a puzzle, and they get the fun task of figuring out how to get their own $100 bill.
One of the tools in your animal training toolbox should be form and frequency. In order for pet owners to change behavior, we need to be able to predict, change and control the environment. By changing the environment, (where you stand, the placement of your toys/props, the proximity of your pet, etc.) you can change the behavior of your pet. You can change how often it happens and what the behavior looks like.
By rewarding specific behaviors, you can increase the probability of that behavior happening again. The reward can be your voice changing, a back scratch or a treat. Another tool is probability.