Saturday, May 12, 2012

For King Of Aquaria--This Is What Is Known As "The Patch."

The "downside" to operant conditioning/protected contact exclusively, is that the animal has the "option" of doing it or not doing it.  I don't think a "true" trained dog is the one who come's when he is called, because you are holding a dog biscuit.  I think a "true" trained dog is the one who come's when he is called, because he is called.  Giving him a biscuit is your option, not his.  In a live performance, part of a 2 hr. show, you can't stop your performance in the middle and "alibi" for why the animal is not performing.   You can't "patch" or make an excuse for why the people are not seeing what they paid to see.  That is a luxury exclusive to sea mammal shows.   If an act is hired because of what it does, you better be damn sure you can guarantee that they do it, or you don't get a pay day.  Simple as that.


Jim A. said...

Lighten up a little. First of all, I've seen an entire whale show done without primary reinforcement (fish). I've often seen many behaviors done in marine mammal shows when the animal didn't get a primary reinforcer. There's more to working a marine mammal than waving a mackeral at them. Do they blow, get aggressive, don't respond - yes, just like terrestrial mammals. Those of us that have been around have seen circus acts cut short leaving out tricks or not even making it to the ring. It better not happen often. My sea lions had some behavior issues in some of my shows, sometimes we had no show - not very often. The Zoo hasn't kept the show for over 40 years because the public has to wonder if the animal will perform or they're just going to hear some guy "cop a plea" again.

Well trained marine mammals are trained and respond for many different reinforcements and on different schedules of reinforcement. It's more than a goof with a microphone and a bucket of fish.

I'll bet they cancelled the whale show in the video and if the guests returned in a few hours for the next whale show they got a good show. Sea World hasn't sold expensive tickets for nearly 50 years based on animals that probably won't work.

(Now I feel better.)

Wade G. Burck said...

Jesus, where is Kathy? She need's to pull your panties out of your crack!!!!!! Granted you are almost 100% correct. With rare, rare exception if an act is "cut short leaving out tricks or not even making it to the ring, it is because a "goof with a microphone and a bucket of fish", or a reasonable facsimile was presenting/in charge of them. They don't go many show's without that "primary reinforcement" just like an elephant doesn't do many show's without that bull hook in the wings. Or the nitwit tiger trainer who does a show with two balloon sticks, to illustrate the "love" only to get the whips out for the next show. None of the "primary reinforcement" is absent very long. It is dispensed with just for flash. I get just as agitated at the insinuation that circus animal's are beaten to get them to do what they do, or beaten until they finally attack. Who beat the whale that attacked the trainer? Well, they had them in captivity. What about the whale's out in the ocean? Well the boat agitated them. Fine, so there are many different reason's besides the obvious, they are bigger and they can. Then why does the reason end up being the one that makes your agenda look good, at the expense of others?
You hold a fish in your hand and "wave" it in the direction of or over a seat. The sea lion get's on you blow the whistle and bridge him with the reward of the fish. It's called operant conditioning. As you know, that's exactly how a tiger is taught to sit on a seat only he is fed meat instead of fish, and it is put on a stick instead of fed with the hand, and he is verbally told "good boy/girl" as a bridge instead of a whistle as he is rewarded with the meat. Only it's called subjugation and not operant conditioning. If it has been determined that a tiger need's 20 lbs of meat a day to stay fit and healthy, 6 lbs is fed to him in 2 training sessions cut in ice cube size pieces for a total of 12 lbs. At the end of the day he is fed an additional 8 lbs of meat in his cage, sorry habitat, sorry holding tank but in this case cage for a total of 20 lbs. of meat a day. Similar to sea mammal training/presentation, is it not. If he/she has leaned the word/hand signal for seat and refuses to mount it, after all avenues of "why not" have been explored, if it is chased to the seat, and then rewarded instead of baited to the seat, does that not give you a "control" that is invaluable to the animal working well and consistently the rest of it's life, dealing with sexual maturity as it arises?

(Now I feel better, too)

Much respect my friend,