The behaviors you see in our animal presentations are all highlights of the animals’ natural behaviors. In order to teach our animals how to do these amazing behaviors, we use what’s called positive reinforcement. All that means is that when an animal does the correct behavior, they get a reward. Now, in order to teach complex behaviors, we break it up into smaller steps and teach the animal each step, and eventually they put it all together to get something awesome! This is Maya the kinkajou learning to do a simple target. I’m starting with her simply touching the target on her own, and she eventually figures out that if she touches it when she sees it, she gets a treat. This is a very simple behavior, but this cue-behavior-reward concept can be used to train anything the animal is physically capable of doing. #TakeoverTuesday - Justin Eckelberry, Keeper II, Program Animals
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