An Alternative, Efficient, and Powerful System for Training Complex Behaviors
By Barbara Heidenreich
Animal caregivers often have goals of teaching complex behaviors such as blood sampling, hand injections, voluntary hoof care, free flight and more. A traditional approach often focuses on a single shaping plan with the desired identified behavior as the final objective. The Precision Teaching System developed by Ogden Lindsley emphasizes establishing, analyzing, and measuring fluent “component” behaviors to attain “composite” behaviors. Component behaviors can be thought of as foundation skills or smaller behaviors required to accomplish a more complex or composite skill. When component behaviors are practiced and reinforced, they can become more automatic and fluent, leading to smoother execution of composite behaviors. Additionally, strengthening component behaviors can contribute to the generalization and transfer of skills. When animals become proficient in performing individual components, they can more easily apply those skills to a variety of situations and contexts, supporting the broader application of composite behaviors. By paying attention to and improving component behaviors, animal caregivers can enhance the performance and development of composite behaviors. Teaching fluent component behaviors makes it possible for new composite skills to emerge quickly, without intentional prior training of that skill. Animals can be better prepared for a lifetime of learning many complex behaviors with what might be described as beginning with training foundation skills to fluency. This course explores this alternative approach and its many benefits to training complex behaviors.
Heidenreich, B. E. (2023). An Alternative, Efficient, and Powerful System for Training Complex Behaviors. AnimalTrainingFundamentals.com. https://animaltrainingfundamentals.com/courses/systems-for-training-complex-behaviors/
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