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Shannen Wilson

on 24 October 2013

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PY-410-60 Class
Using what we learned
Our Class at Six Flags
The visitors of Six Flags Wild Safari sometimes fall into this trap…
“Anthropomorphizing animals is a bad habit, as it can damage our understanding of the animal kingdom. Assuming animals behave emotionally just like us is dangerous because our two species are like apples and oranges.”
-Rachel Conners
College Student Affairs Professional
“As a new animal trainer to the Wild Safari staff, it is important that I remember not to personify animals but to rather use the proper reinforcement terminology.”
-Sean Cervone
Animal Trainer
“With the knowledge of the painstaking task of desensitization in animals I am better equipped to work with research participants so as to ensure their comfort. By employing similar techniques such as allowing them to just sit and relax on the fMRI machine, among other things, I can facilitate my participant to become accustomed to it which will aid in ensuring their scans are accurate portrayals of their cognitive processes and not influenced by a fear of the machine they are seemingly trapped in.”
-Matthew- Donald Sangster
Neuroscience Research
Used to expose the animals to veterinary procedures before hand so they can remain cooperative when needed.

Veterinary tools may be introduced in an everyday setting in order to get the animals use to its presence.
How Six Flags Uses Desensitization
How do husbandry behaviors apply to animal training?

Safety and care of animals takes precedence
Helps reduce stress for unplanned medical procedures
Husbandry Behaviors
Example of husbandry at Six Flags:
Training Joyce the elephant

“Husbandry means being proactive and caring for animals. The same sense of proactive care can be used to our future patients to ensure they receive the best possible care.”
-Shannen Wilson

-Ryan Murphy
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Most effective!
Positive history for desired behavior
Positive relationship between animals & trainers.
Positive Reinforcement
Technique used at Six Flags!
Trainers reinforce positive behavior
food, tactile, toys

“Operant conditioning is used constantly in substance abuse counseling because this psychological principle can result in very effective treatments. For example, rewarding addicts for making healthier and recovery-oriented life choices is a form of operant conditioning.”
-Jessica O Dwyer
Substance use and abuse counselor
Positive Reinforcement Application
I want to thank Jess, Dave, and Stacey for taking the time out of their busy schedule and preparations at Six Flags to teach us about these magnificent animals. I never could have imagined having such an amazing hands on experience without you.
I want to thank Dr. Dinella for putting this class together even though it is not her area of study, by her branching out so many students at Monmouth will be able to as well. 
Dave and Jess as well as Dr. Dinella for their encouragement and passion for animal training. They really have made me think about my future career goals and challenged our class to think outside the box regarding the psychological principles we covered!
I thank Dr. Dinella for making this all possible! She did this for us.
Thank you to Dr. Dinella and the staff at SFWS for giving us such an amazing opportunity.
Developed by Skinner
Method of learning --> rewards and punishment of behavior
Based on past experiences
Focuses on strengthening or weakening voluntary behaviors.
Operant Conditioning
Antecedent − The Stimulus
Behavior − The Animal’s Response to “A”
Consequence − The Trainer’s Response to “B”

“I plan on using the ABCs of training and apply them to teaching early childhood level children and special needs children as well.”
-Sarah Donsky
Early Childhood and Special Needs Children
ABC’s of Animal Training
"There are a variety of different concepts that we learned in this class that will help those of us planning to work in a school system with children. In our intended careers we can use positive reinforcement to shape proper behavior in children."

-Arielle DeMattia
High School Guidance Counselor

-Carly Isabella
School Counselor

-Holly Deptula
School Psychology
"Many children that are autistic show pronounced sensory issues. They are hypersensitive, causing them to be sensitive to noise, bright lights, or even touch. With the use of desensitization, I will help children to be able to tolerate these sensations."
-Jessica Freyer
Occupational Therapy, Specializing in Austim
-Jessica Celestino
Working with Veterans
We can use proactive behavioral management to prepare employees for at work crisis with fire drills and evacuation plans.

-Aiyana Jones and Katie Greener
Human Resource Management
I would like to thank the giraffes as I perceived their behavior as welcoming and inviting, but more importantly for finding our presence as reinforcing because their presence is reinforcing for me.
“Learning how we sometimes automatically assign human characteristics to animals was eye-opening and beneficial in grasping the psychological principles of animal training.”
-Nick Rossi
Higher Education Administrator
Full transcript