I have a harsh truth for anyone starting a fitness program. You are going to experience setbacks. You will falter, give into temptation, plateau, or one of hundreds of other challenges that set you back. This, my friends, is called “Life”.
Training animals is like having a bank account. Except for money, we are saving up trust with the animal. Keep a fair amount of trust in your account, and the relationship stays stable. Too little trust, and you go bankrupt.
Have you ever played a slot machine at a casino? I’ll admit, there’s definitely an addictive feeling to pressing the lever (or button) to make the wheel spin around and watching with anticipation as they slow to a stop. C’mon! MATCH! Mama needs a new pair of shoes!
We’ve discussed so many aspects of applying positive reinforcement to develop healthy habits, but now I’m going to turn the tables. Operant conditioning is not only great for creating new behaviors, it works wonders for eliminating unhealthy habits, too.
As we discussed earlier, reinforcement can be delayed while still satisfying our need for immediate gratification with a bridge, or even marker. This system can also help us make our healthy habits more resistant to extinction.
When a dolphin does a fantastic bow (arced jump out of the water) in the middle of the pool, how does the trainer convey the exact moment the dolphin earned a reinforcement? It may not have ever occurred to you before, but it’s an interesting dilemma, and one we need to examine ourselves in our…
How do you get started in fitness? Setting yourself up for success is just that- setting up. It isn’t the action of starting. The next best practice from animal trainers we will discuss helps get us started. Behavior Momentum.
Before starting a training session, animal professionals like to make sure EVERYTHING is perfect, or as close to it, to ensure as successful a training session as possible. Things trainers think about are removing distracting toys or objects from the area, getting all the equipment necessary for the session, and going over the plan.
Staying motivated, especially in fitness, is not an easy task. Our willpower is finite, so depending on ourselves to do something we view as a chore is a difficult option. Deplete your willpower too much, and there is nothing left in reserve to help us out when we really need it.
Positive reinforcement is not a burger after you go to the gym. That is not the essence of fitness through operant conditioning.