Tonawanda News —
Every time the “animal” hears the bridge they must go back to the trainer and get the reinforcer. The reinforcers could be human cookies shaped like tiny dog bones, M&Ms, pennies, shots of a drink or trail mix. Keeping the reinforcers small allows the “animals” to do multiple behaviors without getting full. This is like a complex game of hot and cold. If the trainer is giving away pennies or shots, you can bet that the animal will really want to learn the behavior quickly.
The behaviors that are to be trained need to be large physical behaviors that everyone can see. Turning in a circle, pouring or drinking water, turning on a light switch, picking up something, sitting in a chair, opening or closing a door or window, or marking on a blackboard or sketch pad are all great ideas. Try to avoid complex, multiple step behaviors.
There shouldn’t be any talking during the training game by the trainer or the “animal.” The point of the game is to learn how to communicate with your pets through a non-verbal process, using only a bridge and treats. The people watching the process are encouraged to make a lot of noise, like cheering, groans, laughter and applause. The trainer and the spectators will most likely burst into applause once the behavior is finished.
To start the game, one “animal” is chosen and they step outside of the room or out of hearing range as the group decides on what behavior the trainer will attempt to train. Once everyone has played the parts of both the trainer and “animal,” the game is completed. You could also have races with two trainers trying to train their own “animals” the same behavior with whatever “animal” completing its skill first named the winner.