You Can Train a Goat?

One of the many things animal keepers are tasked with aside from the expected poop scooping and wall scrubbing is operant conditioning (aka “animal training”). Nearly all the animals at the museum have a primary trainer who thinks of new behaviors they’d like that animal to learn, then builds a step-by-step program to shape that behavior, and ultimately implements that program over the course of days to months (depending on the complexity and the animal’s response) until we’re at aRead more

Training A Blue Jay

I used to be in charge of the pigs training, but since I was moved as an inside keeper I became Jaybird’s trainer.  It is Jaybird’s job to be an education animal, you may have read in earlier posts that s/he had on alymaries and jesses. Well… those did not work out too well, it seems that s/he does not like those on at all and we kept finding them in pieces. We finally gave up and decided that JaybirdRead more

Table time

The lemurs get front-lined every month, just like your dog at home. For the Ring Tailed Lemurs, I have goals of making this a trained behavior so that application goes smoothly. Right now it’s more like a “sneak attack” approach. So I began by teaching them the behavior- Wall. What I expected from them was to hop onto a stool and place both hands on the wall. To train this behavior,  I started with stool- they already have a JumpRead more

It’s the Little Things

Our Jersey steer, Max, is a picky eater. Unlike most bovine, which will eat anything you hand them, Max really only eats his hay and steer chow (breakfast cereal for cattle). Keepers Kent and Jill and I have been working extra hard since last summer to sneak extra pieces of training foods into his giant mouth, just to get him to try something new. For training reasons, it’s a good idea for Max to learn to eat foods that are moreRead more

Red Ruffed Lemur Training

I recently mentioned we’re now working on crate training the red ruffed lemurs. It’s been quite awhile since they have worked on this behavior. The last couple days have been very successful. All three lemurs have gone all the way into their crates. 🙂 This is just the beginning so check back soon for updates.   Iris is going into the top crate at the same time that Jethys is going into the bottom crate.Read more

A Training Quiz!

In the tradition of Sherry’s quiz about her trip with Aaron, I’m posting a quiz about our training program here at the museum.  Answers to follow in a few days! Which animal are we currently training to get voluntarily into a trailer, just in case they need to be transported to the vet? a) Auggie b) Lightning c) Gus d) Chummix   Craisins are the favorite training treat for which animal? a) goats b) lemurs c) black bears d) donkey   WhichRead more