Not too long ago I told you about the first behavior I trained with Smoke. Now that Smoke's inverted bottle behavior is solid, I moved on to Lana, Smokey's partner in crime. For my first behavior with Lana I chose one where she goes to the exhibit's window on cue. We figured it would be a good one because it allows visitors to get a closer look at the seals.
Before training the new behavior I came up with a training plan. Training plans include what you want your finished behavior to look like and the steps, or approximations, that you will take to reach your goal. In Lana's case, I wanted her to go to the window in the exhibit and touch her nose to the glass while also putting her flippers on the window. And here's the hard part...She has to hold that position until I bridge (see Erin's previous blog about training terms), by saying the word "good".
In this video you can see the steps (approximations) I took to reach the finished behavior:
At first I had to get her going to the window on cue. Next I increased the amount of time she was holding at the window. After that I reinforced when her flippers touched the window while she was holding the position, until eventually she would automatically put her flippers on the glass right away. Next we worked on holding that position for up to 10 seconds. The last step was getting her to go to the window from a far distance. All in all it took 1 - 2 months to train this behavior. I wonder what I'll try to train next ...