105 - Animal Training Technology

Course Title: Animal Training Technology 105

Instructor: James O'Heare, DLBC, CDBC, CABC

Course Description:

Animal Training Technology 105 will present the strategies, tactics and procedures utilized in training companion animals. Training animals follows a common set of steps including establishing a conditioned reinforcer, identifying target behaviors and unconditioned reinforcers, establish training objectives, prompting and reinforcing the behaviors or shaping approximations of the behavior, thinning the schedules of reinforcement, differentially reinforcing to improve rate or frequency, or shaping to improve form, fading prompts where necessary, transferring stimulus control to a cue, working toward maintenance, including generalization and discrimination training. This course will explore each of these steps in detail. This course provides both hands-on and academic elements with an emphasis on hands-on exercises. Shaping and behavior chaining will be explored in detail as well. This course does not explore specific sports but provides information on training skills, techniques and strategies, concentrating on animal friendly approaches (being creative and avoiding aversive stimulation). Species specific content is provided for dogs, cats and parrots and the student studies only the species specific content related to their program of study. Students can expect to do some studying and writing in this course but also to do actual training (with your own pet or that of a friend). The Training Game with friends or relatives. You will require a companion animal for this course. The assignments involve specific training tasks that you will report on in written assignments. You will also require access to at least a couple other people (friends, relatives, coworkers etc.) for the 'training game' assignment.

Behavioral Objectives:

The objective of this program of study is to measurably expand the student's repertoire of behaviors in relevant areas of focus for the program of study. To complete this course of study, the student will:

  • Explain how to choose, establish and utilize a conditioned reinforcer
  • Define target behaviors and training objectives
  • Define prompts and explain when they might be appropriate and inappropriate
  • Explain why it is important to fade prompts quickly and how to fade prompts 
  • Explain why physical prompts are often counterproductive
  • Explain how to transfer stimulus control 
  • Explain, under which conditions shaping, chaining or simple differential reinforcement would be an appropriate procedure
  • Apply the principles of behavior and training strategies and tactics to training animals to perform common behaviors, such as: either walking on a loose leash, come when called and sit for dogs, or step up, come when called and target objects for parrots, or come when called and walking on leash for cats.
  • Carry out a shaping program for one's own companion animal, analyze results and identify problem areas and likely solutions
  • Carry out a behavior chaining program for one's own companion animal, analyze results and identify problem areas and likely solutions
  • Carry out the Training Game with friends or family members, analyze results and identify problem areas and likely solutions
  • Develop and implement a formal training plan
  • Generalize performance to new environments
  • Effectively deliver reinforcers
  • Analyze one's own training programs and identify ways to improve training performance 
  • Communicate effectively about training tasks
  • Define behavior chaining and explain the behavior chaining process
  • Contrast and compare total task chaining, forward chaining and backward chaining
  • Differentiate between chaining (single trainer delivered cue) and "sequencing" (in-chain cues producing a series of separate chains)
  • Dog training equipment and its proper and improper use.

Texts: 

  • Course Notes from 104 and 105

Course Evaluation:

This course will be evaluated by short essay assignments that will reflect and demonstrate mastery of the course topics and achievement of the learning objectives. The final grade will be the mean average of the assignment grades.

CEUs: Continuing Education Credits Available. See Course Approvals page for credits

Prerequisites:

Taking Courses Individually:

Courses may be taken individually rather than as components of a diploma program. See the program page for details.


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