Zebra Training, Day 7 & 8
Day 7, session 1
The nice thing about targeting is it's such an easy behavior that most animals take to it right away. Not only that, but it quickly becomes a functional behavior, as can be seen here with Stripes. I can now use the target to get her attention and move her around as needed.
Since Stripes still won't eat food out of my hand, and training would be so much easier if she would, I decided to train that behavior much like I train any other behavior. I mark for any interaction/investigation of the food in my hand and reinforce her in her bucket, as usual. It's a work in progress!
Lastly, we've started working on stationing. Rather, I've put the mat down and left it there, waiting for Stripes to get used to it and be ok with interacting with it. At the moment, the mat is made of hot lava (according to Stripes) and there is NO WAY she's putting her dainty little feet on it! the funny thing is, I'm pretty sure she has already figured out that putting her feet on it is what I'm looking for. She just hasn't decided yet if she's going to actually oblige 😉
Day 7, session 2
In the afternoon, I put a lot more attention in to getting Stripes to step on the mat. At one point, she did a whole lot of investigating - sniffing at the mat, and I can't imagine what I was thinking or why I didn't mark and reinforce for those investigative behaviors! On the other hand though, it might be better that I didn't, only because it would have meant marking behaviors that ultimately I don't want. Great for getting her attention on the mat - not so great for getting her feet on the mat!
Stripes is very interesting in that she seems to understand the behavior I want quite a bit before she decides to participate. I'm pretty sure that she can learn just by watching me do a thing, but I haven't really tested this theory out. Once she has a few more behaviors and is much more comfortable with me, I might see if I can test it. In the meantime, we're getting closer to putting feet on the mat!
We didn't have much time today, but we did get feet on the mat! I wasn't able to get back for an afternoon session, but we made great progress with the mat, so all in all it was a really good day.