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Learning to Wait!

by Alexandra Kurland

Sept 7, 2018

In Podcasts 24 and 25: “Do It Differently - Parts 1 and 2” I promised you a video of the goats and here it is.  You will need a password to watch the video.  The password is: Waiting!

The speed with which these goats learn makes the training enormous fun.  You are watching two sessions that are just a couple of days apart.  On the first day, I worked the goats separately.  Waiting on the platform was one of several games we played.  In the second session, they are all out together which is always a good test of the progress we’re making.

In the podcasts Dominique and I were talking about how you build duration.  The answer is slowly and consistently.  In every training session I have with the girls we work on duration.  It may be a very structured lesson such as the one I am showing at the beginning of the video.  I am working with each goat separately so I can focus on their individual learning needs.  I am asking each one to stay on a platform while I step back from her.  At first I can only take one small step back, but this grows quickly into multiple steps. 

Working the goats one at a time lets me build new repertoire.   When I click, there's no confusion.  That click was for you.  Working with multiple animals presents a whole new set of challenges.  Once they understand how to wait and take turns - even if the turns are very short, the training sessions become much easier.  That's what we're practicing in the second half of the video. 


You can see I have very eager learners!  I want to keep that enthusiasm so I need to remember that all three are offering behavior that needs to be reinforced.  It may be more fun to focus on the Verity who is learning to go from one target to another, but the other two have the more challenging task.  For the goats anything that involves movement is easy.  Standing still, waiting for your turn - that’s the hard part.  


So when Felicity and Patience wait side by side on their stations, and particularly when they do so without trying to knock the other one off her perch, I need to leave Verity and reinforce them. 


For a detailed account of the goats’ training, visit my blog:  "The Goat Diary Reports" begin Oct 2, 2016.

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