How Do You Know if Behavior is Fluent?

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Episode - 08 December 2019

Host: Barbara Heidenreich

​Fluency may seem intuitive ….on the surface. In behavior terms it is currently defined as the fluid combination of accuracy and speed that characterizes competent performance, in other words doing the right thing without hesitation. However doing the right thing in real life application can involve many different measures.  In this podcast Barbara Heidenreich discusses what criteria to measure to evaluate whether a behavior is being presented with accuracy. The benefit of measuring is that it highlights what aspects of the behavior have been successfully trained and what particular aspect(s) still need work to achieve fluency. Barbara shares examples relevant to both zoo and companion animal trainers. Scroll down for video examples from the podcast.

Here are some video examples ​relevant to this episode:

​Think about what aspects of the open mouth behavior can be measured? How wide open the mouth is, the duration, the position of the head, etc. These are all criteria that can be considered markers of whether the behavior is fluent or not. All trainers working with the animal will want to aim for ​a behavior that has the same other words consistency. This is how measuring can help us achieve fluency.

​Fluency also means the animal understands the cues and presents the correct behavior when cued. It also means not jumping the gun and anticipating what may happen next. Watch Laverne learn her criteria is she must wait until cued to present the behavior of jumping onto the cube.

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