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Encyclopedia > Animal training

Animal training is a method to teach animals to perform specific acts in response to conditions or stimuli. Training may be for the purpose of companionship, detection, protection, or entertainment.

An animal trainer will usually use the control of food or other rewards desired by the animal to condition to the animal to respond in a desired way. Generally, animals are selected for training to make maximum advantage of their natural attributes, sometimes far in excess of those of humans. For example, the very sensitive olfactory (sense of smell) abilities make dogs excellent candidates to train for hunting or search and rescue functions. Olfaction, the sense of smell, is the detection of chemicals dissolved in air (or, by animals that breathe water, in water). ...


Service Animals

Service animals, including service dogs such as guide dogs, are carefully trained to utilize both their sensory skills and their relationships with humans to bond with a human and help that person to offset a disability in daily life. The use of service animals, especially dogs, is an every-growing field, with a wide range of special adaptations. A service dog is a type of assistance dog that is specially trained to help people who have disabilities other than visual or hearing impairment. ... Labrador Retriever guide dogs resting. ...

Film and television

Organizations such as the American Humane Association monitor the training and use of animals such as those used in the entertainment industry. The Patsy Award (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) was originated by the Hollywood office in 1939. They decided to honor animal performers after a horse was killed in an on-set accident during the filming of the Tyrone Power film Jesse James. The American Humane Association is an organization founded in 1877 dedicated to the welfare of animals and children. ... The Patsy Award was originated by the Hollywood office of the American Humane Association in 1939. ... Tyrone Power Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. ... Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... Jesse James. ...

The award now covers both film and television and is separated into four categories: canine, equine, wild and special. The special category encompasses everything from goats to cats to pigs. One famous animal trainer, Frank Inn, was the proud owner of over 40 Patsy awards. Frank Inn (May 8, 1916–July 27, 2002) was an American actor and animal trainer. ...

Patience and repetition are critical components of successful animal training. Inn's most famous animal was Higgins, who came from the Burbank, California Animal Shelter. Inn began training animals while incapacitated due to an automobile accident. Higgins starred in the Petticoat Junction sitcom in the 1960s and the first two Benji films in 1974 and 1977. Higgins (?-1975) was the unnamed dog actor from the television sitcom Petticoat Junction. ... This article or section should be merged with Burbank, Los Angeles County, California This article is about the Burbank in Southern California. ... Petticoat Junction was an American situation comedy that was produced by Filmways, Inc. ... Benji is the name of a fictitious dog who was the focus of several movies in the 1970s and 1980s. ...

In the United States, use of selected inmates in prisons to train service dogs has proved a valuable resource to service animal agencies. In addition to adding to the short-supply of service animals, such programs have produced benefits in improved socialization skills and behavior of inmates.

Lifetime bonds are often made between trainers and animals. The ashes of Higgins were buried with trainer Inn when he died in 2002.

Zoological parks

Animals in public display are typically trained for educational, entertainment, management, and husbandry behaviors. Educational behaviors may include species-typical behaviors under stimulus control such as vocalizations. Entertainment may include display behaviors to show the animal, or simply arbitrary behaviors. Management includes movement, such as following the trainer, entering crates, or moving from pen to pen, or tank-to-tank through gates. Husbandry behaviors facilitate veterinary care, and can include desensitization to various physical examinations or procedures (such as cleaning, nail clipping, or simply stepping onto a scale voluntarily), or the collection of samples (e.g. biopsy, urine). Such voluntary training is particularly important for minimizing the frequency with which zoo collection animals must be anesthetized or physically restrained.

Marine Mammals

In a public display situation, one emphasis is often on focusing the audience's attention on the animal, rather than the trainer. Therefore the discriminative stimulus is generally gestural (and hand sign) and sparse in nature, bridges are the unobtrusive dog whistles, and positive reinforcers are either primary (food) or tactile, and not vocal.

Companion animals


Main article: Dog training

Basic obedience training tasks for dogs include walking on a leash, attention, housebreaking, nonaggression, and socialization with humans or other pets. Dogs are also trained for many other activities, such as dog sports, service dogs, and other working dogs. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Obedience training involves training an animal, most often a dog, to obey basic control commands such as sit, down, and heel. ... Housebreaking is the process of training a domesticated animal that lives with its human owners in a house to urinate and defecate outdoors, or in a designated indoor area, rather than all over the house. ... This article belongs in one or more categories. ... Dog sports are activities that involve dogs. ... A service dog is a type of assistance dog that is specially trained to help people who have disabilities other than visual or hearing impairment. ... This working dog is a border collie mix. ...

Positive reinforcement for dogs can include primary reinforcers such as food, or social reinforcers such as vocal ("good boy") or tactile (stroking) ones. Positive punishment, if used at all, can be physical, such as pulling on a leash or spanking, or may be vocal ("bad dog"). Bridges to positive reinforcement include vocal cues, whistling, and dog whistles, as well as clickers used in clicker training, a method popularized by Karen Pryor. A dog whistle is a type of whistle used in the training of dogs. ... Clicker-training clickers come in various shapes and forms. ... Most dogs love it when the clicker comes out. ... Karen Pryor Karen Pryor is an author and a scientist with an international reputation in the fields of marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. ...


Typical training tasks for companion birds include perching, non-aggression, halting feather-picking, controlling excessive vocalizations, socialization with all household members and other pets, and socialization with strangers. The large parrot species frequently have lifespans that exceed that of their human owners, and they are closely bonded to their owners. In general, parrot companions usually have clipped wings, which facilitates socialization and controlling aggression and vocalizations. A common misconception among new bird owners is that a companion bird with unclipped wings possesses a better quality of life than one with clipped wings, but it is often the case that unclipped birds with novice owners frequently spend relatively much more time confined to their cage than a comparable clipped one that has consequently become better-socialized.


  • Dressage is a form of competitive animal training, specifically for horses.

Dressage (a French term meaning training) today is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to Olympic. ... rachel is bong eyed | color = pink | name = Domestic Horse | status = Conservation status: Domesticated | image = Holsteiner Apfelschimmel-2005. ...


Animal training is generally performed in adherence to the theory of operant conditioning, although modern training methods frequently utilize tools not included in the original Skinnerian conception. Operant conditioning is the modification of behavior brought about over time by the consequences of said behavior. ...

Two primary types of training philosophies are those that emphasize positive reinforcement, and those that use more positive punishment. Certain subfields of animal training tend to also have certain philosophies and styles, for example fields such as companion bird training, hunting bird training, companion dog training, show dog training, dressage horse training, mahout elephant training, circus elephant training, zoo elephant training, zoo exotic animal training, marine mammal training. The degree of trainer protection from the animal may also vary. The variety of tasks trained may also vary, and can range from entertainment, husbandry (veterinary) behaviors, physical labor or athleticism, habituation to averse stimuli, interaction (or non-interaction) with other humans, or even research (sensory, physiological, cognitive). Definition: Positive Reinforcement: the presentation of something pleasant or rewarding immediately following a behavior. ...

Training also must take into consideration the nautral social tendencies of the animal species (or even breed), such as predilections for attention span, food-motivation, dominance hierarchies, aggression, or bonding to individuals (conspecifics as well as humans). Consideration must also be given to practical aspects on the human side such as the ratio of the number of trainers to each animal: does one animal have a dozen different trainers, and does one trainer attend simultaneously to many animals in a training session?

Other important issues related to the methods of animal training are: operant conditioning, stimulus control, SD (discriminative stimulus), desensitization, chaining, bridge, and the s-delta.

List of notable animal trainers

Anatoly Durov Junior Anatoly Anatolievich Durov (sometimes spelled Durow) (Russian: ) (1887 - 1928) was a renowned 20th century animal trainer. ... Nadeshda Durova in officers uniform Nadezhda Andreyevna Durova (Russian: ) also known as Alexander Durov, Alexander Sokolov and Alexander Andreevich Alexandrov (1783, Kiev - March 21, 1866, Yelabuga ) was a woman who became a decorated soldier in the Russian cavalry during the Napoleonic wars. ... Gunther Gebel-Williams (1934-2001) was a world-famous animal trainer for Ringling Bros. ... Frank Inn (May 8, 1916–July 27, 2002) was an American actor and animal trainer. ... Karen Pryor Karen Pryor is an author and a scientist with an international reputation in the fields of marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. ... Nell Shipman (October 25, 1892–January 23, 1970) was a Canadian actress, screenwriter, producer, animal trainer, and a Canadian pioneer in early Hollywood. ... Frank Weatherwax (June 23, 1902 – December 17, 1991) was an American actor and animal trainer. ... Ruddell Rudd Weatherwax (September 23, 1907 – February 25, 1985) was an American actor and animal trainer. ...

See also

Behaviorism or behaviourism (not to be confused with behavioralism in political science) is an approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior can be researched scientifically without recourse to inner mental states. ... It has been suggested that Acrobalance be merged into this article or section. ... Look up Cognition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Dressage (a French term meaning training) today is a path and destination of competitive horse training, with competitions held at all levels from amateur to Olympic. ... Falconry (occasionally referred to as falconeering) is the art or sport involving raptors (birds of prey) to hunt or pursue game. ... Lion taming is the practice of taming lions, either for protection, whereby the practice was probably created, or, more commonly in the west, entertainment, particularly in the circus. ... A mahout is a person who drives an elephant. ... A U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program dolphin wearing a locating pinger, performed mine clearance work in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq War. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Operant conditioning is the modification of behavior brought about over time by the consequences of said behavior. ... In operant conditioning, reinforcement is any change in an animals surroundings that (a) occurs after the animal behaves in a given way, (b) seems to make that behavior re-occur more often in the future and (c) that reoccurrence of behavior must be the result of the change. ... The concept of reinforcing successive, increasingly accurate approximations also called shaping is a done by first setting a target behavior, such as having a sheep dog to round up sheep and move them into a barn, then you set define sub goals such as running around the sheep after each... A Lipizzan horse in the Winter Riding School The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, is a traditional riding school for Lipizzan horses. ... A show is a judged event or display in the hobby of animal fancy or in the occupation of animal husbandry. ... Burrhus Frederic Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist and author. ...

External links

  1. APDT: Association of Pet Dog Trainers
  2. IMATA: International Marine Animal Trainers Association
  3. AAZK: American Association of Zookeepers
  4. ABMA: Animal Behavior Management Alliance
  5. Moorpark College EATM Exotic Animal Training and Management Program
  6. Herding dog links
  7. American Kennel Club Purebred show dogs
  8. British Dressage
  9. Mahout training Elephant Welfare Association
  10. Changthai National Elephant Institute of Thailand
  11. The Dolphin Insititute Dolphin cognition research laboratory of Louis Herman. Animals trained for the learning of abstract concepts as well as echolocation research.
  12. US Navy Marine Mammal Program
  13. Guide Dogs of America
  14. Moudouken Japan Guide Dog Association (link to English page)
  15. International Guide Dog Federation
  16. British Falconers Club

Look up Cognition in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Louis Herman is a researcher in of dolphin sensory abilities, dolphin cognition, and humpback whales. ...

Further reading

  • Ramirez, K. (1999). Animal training: Successful animal management through positive reinforcement. Shedd Aquarium: Chicago, IL.

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Apopo - FAQS (1466 words)
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