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How to Train Your Friends...or Pets!
What is Positive Reinforcement?
Give Them a "Cue"
Tell Them "You Did It!"
An Example - "Be Quiet!"
You can try this same thing with family pets to teach them to sit, stay, roll over or other behaviors.
The Training GameBest suited for kids aged 6 to 10
Explain to everyone that they are going to see how animals are trained. The goal is to get the "animal" to stand on a particular spot in the room.
This is much easier said than done! Since animals don't communicate with words like humans do, the trainer in the game can't use any words or body movements to communicate with the "animal" in this game.
Since the "animal" doesn't know any cues, the point of this game is to "capture" a good behavior by giving the animal a bridge, in this case a clap, when they move in the right direction.
Zoo trainers use this technique to build behaviors step-by-step. If they want an animal to place their foot in a tub of water, for example, the trainer starts by simply rewarding the animal for shifting their body slightly towards the tub. After this, the trainer rewards them any time they move closer to the tub. The trainer continues this process until the animal does the full behavior, in this case, putting their foot into the tub.
1. Choose one trainer and one person to be trained, the "animal."
2. Have the "animal" leave the room.
3. The group decides a location in the room where the "animal" should end up. Be simple to start, like going to one of the corners. It can get more complicated after you've played the game a couple times.
4. Have the "animal" start out at the door.
5. Each time the "animal" takes a step in the right direction, the trainer claps (the bridge) to let them know they have done the right thing. If the animal heads in the wrong direction, the trainer doesn't do anything at all, and waits for them to try other directions.
6. Once the "animal" gets to the right spot, the trainer claps a whole bunch to let them know that they have found it.
7. The trainer gives the "animal" a treat! It can be a prize, a food treat, pats on the back, or anything else your "animal" enjoys.
8. Change animals and trainers and play again!
Duncan is sponsored by the Duncan Family.