Thursday, July 31, 2014

Training Lessons - Baiting / Reward

The beginning training of different tricks and behaviors often starts with "baiting" with meat the tiger into the desired position. The first necessary step is to target train the animal to the end of the stick. Subsequently, the animal can use this learned behavior to bridge to other behaviors, such as moving forward, turning, an arena stand, a sit-up, etc. In addition to baiting, meat is used to reward a proper response by the animal. It is imperative that the correct response be reinforced at the correct time, just as an incorrect response be interrupted at the correct time.

I use chunk beef cut into bite size chunks during both practice and performances. When we are not able to buy it in bulk at Sam's Club, we have to spring for those rump roast or similar cuts at the local grocery store. Over the course of morning paw prints, practice and two shows, we use one of these packages a day. It gets expensive !

Ryan Holder
Tiger Trainer
Kelly Miller Circus