Carly and Louise – Clicker Training

September 10, 2008 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

I have officially begun the journey of attempting to clicker train Louise. The hope is that I will eventually have her under stimulus control, meaning that if I were to make the clicking noise, she would immediately begin looking around for food. For now, I am simply trying to pair the sound of the clicker with Louise’s experience of eating small pieces of food.

Thus, I have been sitting patiently next to the glass aquarium in which I am training her, waiting for her to get near a strategically placed piece of food, and click immediately before she bites into it, picks it up, etc. Both the immediacy and the “before” aspects are giving me trouble. I’ve found that it’s more difficult to click before she eats than it is to click as she begins eating. However, as we learned in class today, I know that simultaneous reinforcement is not as successful as the delayed type.

I have also been having trouble with consistency, which is probably the hardest part of the whole process. Although for the most part I am able to tell when she is going to eat a piece of food and when she isn’t, there are times where I misinterpret her behavior and click only to have her merely sniff the pellet or nudge it and walk away.

On a different note, our first training session was surprisingly successful (I think because she had been deprived of food for over 12 hours!) However, successful in my book means she was eating, and I was clicking at the appropriate time. I have yet to notice whether or not she’s “making the connection” and I don’t think she’s ready for me to test it out yet. This is mostly because our last two sessions were much less successful because she has been extremely distracted by what I think are the smells of the other rats that have been trained in the same enclosures. Although I’ve managed to get her to eat about six pieces each session, she spends most of her time running around in circles and standing up, sniffing the air. I’m afraid that these sessions are negatively affecting her because she has been behaving this way, as well as peeing and pooping a good amount as soon as I put her into the aquarium (often a fear response.) Hopefully she’ll get used to it… she better!

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Entry filed under: Carly and Louise.

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