In this podcast episode I re-connect with Debbie Marrin, Director of training and behavioral husbandry at San Francisco Zoo, California, USA. You can learn more about Debbie in a previous podcast episode we did together by clicking HERE. In this episode we discuss some important elements involved in writing animal training plans. We cover 5 main areas, these are as follows (See below podcast);
THE FIVE ELEMENTS ARE;
- Learning about your animal including;
- Natural history.
- Behavioral repertoire.
- Environmental arrangement/Feng Shui including;
- Physical environment.
- Setting goals and prioritizing.
- Writing shaping plans including;
- Successive approximations.
- Getting input from other trainers and organizations.
Animal training plans can be highly beneficial when training any animal. Ideally they are prepared prior to the commencement of your training. In this podcast episode we discuss their value. For example, Debbie identifies how they can assist in problem prevention and alleviating frustration. An example Debbie gives is investing time in training a zoo animal to voluntarily participate in a medical procedure. Let’s say that after a month or two you get to the end of your training and realize that you hadn’t thought about specific aspects. You might for example get to the day of the procedure without realizing the vet needs the animal trained to participate at 10am not 4pm as you have practiced. This time change might affect the animal’s cooperation. What if you didn’t train the animal to accept a substance that needs to be applied to the skin during an ultrasound exam? Or maybe the animal needs to hold still for 5- 10 minutes as opposed to the 30 seconds you trained? Practicing all of the details of any behavior will set you and your animals up for success. Additionally, animal training plans help prioritize your goals and can be extremely beneficial when working in a team that collectively manage animal behavior.
To learn more about how to write good shaping plans for new behaviors CLICK HERE for a free lesson on the subject.
EXAMPLES OF ANIMAL TRAINING PLANS FROM SAN FRANCISCO ZOO
- Training Plan Approval Form
- Snow leopard subcutaneous fluids training plan
- Minnie ultrasound
- Hand injection lion
- Maggie hand injection 2 people