Addressing Frustration in a Gorilla

By Barbara Heidenreich

In this clip we were discussing how a bridge can be used to capture behavior. However sometimes when we capture behavior it may result in gaps of time in which there is limited opportunity to reinforce behavior while the trainer waits for the animal to present action to reinforce. Bangui was quite new to training in this clip and waiting was not something he was accustomed to as this point in time.This meant in order to prevent presentation of undesired behavior it would be my responsibility to periodically reinforce desired behavior. This could be behavior that was cued, or any behavior he presents that is acceptable. If he presents undesired behavior that is an indicator to me that I have made an error. It could mean I triggered an undesired response by my actions or waited too long to cue or reinforce desired behavior. Overtime Bangui can learn to wait longer between reinforcers. However, this was only his second or third training session ever.When undesired behavior is presented, I can wait a few seconds and wait to see if he presents acceptable behavior to reinforce such as sitting calmly. However ideally, I am proactive and avoid the presentation of undesired behavior in the first place. As I get to know him better and learn his triggers I became better at helping him maintain a calm and relaxed demeanor throughout the session. By taking responsibility for this we can help the animal be successful.

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