keskiviikko 25. maaliskuuta 2020

Training lemming to purchase overdose of toilet paper ...

...a life under threat of corona.

Everybody is talking about it - it's everywhere and it is scary and truly a deadly disease.
It is probably the first time after the World Wars since the whole human kind is threatened in this scale - this time by a common enemy.
It's not from the outer space - nor any nation against another - but an invisible enemy which is closing borders, schools and people from one another:

A virus originated  from - I'd say at least a bit questionable animal trade. However to my knowledge it's mostly legal and Chinese government has set up a law which actually encourages the domestication and breeding of wild animals (where the virus is said to have it's origin). For private smaller farmers, catching and breeding wild animals provides a way to sustain themselves. Unfortunately this legalized wildlife farming supports also illegal animal trafficking.
We are affecting this planet more than we often think - one or a few single acts can eventually end up into a drastic outcome.

However this is not really the topic of the text this time but the focus is on things that has happen because of this threat and how do we act upon it. ...or more closely it's about some side effects upon our behavior.

I've worked professionally with the animals now almost for four decades. Animal behavior is my great interest. Therefore I'm interested in what lies behind animal behavior? What are the triggers that make animals behave the way they do in different situations? Is it hormonal or other chemical transmitters  (inside body) or environmental stimulus (outside of the body) or forces that makes animals behave the way they do?
This time the animal in question would be homo sapiens.

Herd of lemmings

It's been a top story or joke in social media and I've also wondered it with many of my friends;
Why do people buy so much toilet paper because of this pandemic situation?
I have not found anywhere any suggestion that  the symptoms of this disease would be diarrhea or any other similar "inconvenience" for the infected person. Therefore the consumption of toilet paper should be the least concern for us.

What is the trigger for this type of behavior?
Why do people run for toilet paper and lust after it?
It seems very irrational.  (Some could even define it as; insane.)

I've heard or read a few explanations;
- it's any way in stock and all of it will be used.
- it is difficultly replaceable product in case it would not be available.
- it gives a false feeling of control of the situation - something has to be done.
- in case of quarantine it would be a necessity, at least for two weeks.
- some truly think that stores will run out of it.
- etc. etc.

...or maybe it is some other factor I am not aware of ?

Many of these are probably quite justifiable reasons.
... or are we after all just a punch of lemmings?

A lemming is a small rodent that usually lives in the Arctic areas or tundra type of bio-types. Periodically populations of lemmings boom and at the moments like that they will start seeking food and shelter from other areas as the present habitat cannot provide enough of it for all of them. Lemmings will disperse in large herds in order to survive.
Because of this exploration of food and new habitats lemmings posses a very strong myth;
"Herd of lemmings commit a mass suicide by jumping off seaside cliffs because their instinct drives them to kill themselves whenever the population becomes unsustainably large."
This of course is not true. I cannot think of any animal species that would commit a suicide, whether it is a lemming, a dolphin or any other species.
All in the lives of animals strongly supports adaptation and coping, energy efficiency, reproduction and survival of the individual, local population and at the end the species. Therefore suicide in animal kingdom is to my opinion anthropomorphism and it supports irresistible metamorphism on human behavior. Therefore sometimes our behavior has been compared into a behavior of a herd of lemmings.


As I was not fully satisfied with the explanations mentioned above for the lust of toilet paper - I started to study it through forces effecting behavior of any fauna and what psychology is saying about this type of behavior.
We all - at least animal keepers or owners - understand the basics of how a herd can behave. How one or a few animals in the herd can cause the whole herd to start for example an escape behavior. How the reaction escalates within the herd. It can lead eventually into a panic type of behavior. But all in all with animals the question is about survival.
This lead me to the question if we humans are just another heard and all this is some sort of sophisticated escape or survival behavior? ..or if it truly is falsely giving a feeling that we are prepared for the worst - which in this case unfortunately is far from diarrhea.
In the case on lemmings the trigger is obvious - too little space and food leads into a search of new habitat that can support the species or current population. On their way to new habitats they may come to cross i.e. a river. Lemmings can swim but some of them may drown because of a strong stream. This does not make them suicidal behavior wise.

The Bandwagon theory

One theory that I believe could possibly explain the phenomenon would be so called bandwagon theory.
The bandwagon term originates from USA, as in early 1800 when a circus entered the town it arranged a parade through the town's main street. The first wagon was the bandwagon which understandably had the band in it. Loud music attracted people to come, watch and join the parade. This was the best advertising for the circus and parade would lead people to the circus.

Obviously this was very successful way of attracting people, as it was soon expanded to get people involved in other activities as well. It was probably used for the first time also in the politics by a famous clown Dan Rice (1823-1900) - when he started to use the bandwagons to promote his political campaign.

Dan Rice was a circus entertainer of many talents, most famously well known (and the first notable) clown in USA but also obviously very talented  animal trainer. He used at that time unique round stables that were especially build for training purpose (ref. modern round pen training with horses). He among other things created the act featuring the first ever trained rhino in the United States. According to some sources he is also said to be the model for Uncle Sam; with his favorite striped trousers, a star figured coat, top hat and the goat resembling beard - surely this is giving a strong hint to that direction. )

He could be considered to be the father for bandwagon theory. He was using this method for his short campaign for running to the presidency of USA but also for his friend in politics, the president Zachary Taylor. Rice invited Zachary to campaign on his bandwagon, it was the center piece of his campaign. The expression "Jump on the bandwagon" got started - in order to support Taylor, people were asked to jump in. This made his campaign more successful than his competitors. The idea was that by acting this way you'd be in the winning team because so many others are also doing the same. Later in the turn of 1900 bandwagons had become a standard in political campaigns.

What does it stand for ?

It's effects are risen from multiple areas of life; psychological, sociological and even economical factors. People want to be in the winning team, which is rather natural and in a way a primitive force in our lives. It is a survival instinct. Already in early human communes or tribes survival and staying alive was beneficial if one could get within a successful hunters group. The same can be seen in animal kingdom, when it is beneficial to all individuals and if we are not talking of solitary type of species.

The bandwagon effect covers many aspects and fields of our daily life, from stock markets to trending clothes. Even in the politics it can be seen and it may cause people to jump into a winning wagon even if they wouldn't support all the values of the political agenda in question. The effect of surveys or polls has been studied to rise the support of the most successful party or candidate, at least periodically after the publication of the results.
Or getting the top fashion clothes which are worn by "every one"!!
People just want to belong to the majority. The voice of the majority cannot be wrong!

The financial markets kind of rely on this effect; as if certain stock is  getting a good reputation of being valuable and worth acquiring the more  investor will "jump into" that wagon to get better benefit. On the other hand this is also making markets vulnerable. It will raise the value of the purchase and eventually someone wants to cash his or hers merchandise which then may create another wagon; the one which is going fast on downhill.

Consumer behavior

Finally getting into the consumer behavior.
Of course if a X-product has a good reputation that will increase the value of it in the eyes of consumers. It is studied that the more people are interested in it - the more it will draw interest from others as well.
This is studied in many occasions but first one to give a name or label for this type of behavior has been Solomon Asch (1907-1996), a Polish-American psychologist and a pioneer in studying social psychology. He is the most well known for his experiments in which he demonstrated the influence of group pressure on opinion of an individual. His conformity experiments showed how peer pressure can change opinion and even perception of a single individual.
The experience consisted a group of people who were true participants in the test but also of the participants who were fake "actors" forming a majority in the group, they knew what the purpose of the experience truly was. They were given clear guidance how to respond to each round of comparison questions.
The group was shown a card with a line on it, following by another card with 3 lines in it, they were labeled A,B & C. Then the participants were to identify which line would match the one in the first card and say it out loud. The "real" participant were to give the answer last in the group.
First two rounds of questions were easy as all participants gave the correct obvious answer. After that all fake participants started to give clearly wrong answers, the test consisted of 18 rounds of which in 12 all fake participants gave wrong answers. In those trials where fake participants gave clearly the wrong answer the "true" participant could choose to ignore the majority or go along with them.

Most of true participants ignored the decision of majority and stayed on their correct answers but approximately one third defined their answers according to the majority.
Even though they chose the wrong answer, still many of them didn't think that the opinion of the majority was a correct one. They wanted to adapt their decision because of the majority in order to be uniform with them. "Majority must know better.." was most likely some of theirs thoughts. This way they would get in the winning team.
The result clearly was that the power of majority influences the subjects opinion notably.

Long story short

I will rest my case.

These are just a few theories which may explain our lust for purchasing extended amounts of toilet paper. I don't really believe any of us would think that by having tons of toilet paper would make us look richer or better than our neighbors, nor it's because it would be some fancy product that would make us 'hip'. Neither I do think that suddenly the reputation of toilet paper would have gone sky-high - except maybe in our minds.
Maybe it truly is some sort of primitive reaction for survival of ourselves and to protect our closest family. In the case of quarantine it is naturally wise to have an adequate amount of essential necessity items and food.
Or maybe we are in the winning team with a significant storage of toilet paper? It would make our probability to survive higher in some primitive state of our thinking.
Or is it because the majority of people purchase so much toilet paper? So, I must do it also - because I would then be in the bandwagon team even though I kind of think it is obscure and irrelevant for the issue. "What if I don't know everything or enough and all the others know something I don't ?"
...or maybe people just wanted to belong to a social act ? ...and also to be part of a herd and honestly jumped into the bandwagon due to the power of virus threat.

One thing is obvious - the pressure of majority has a strong influence in behavior of many consumers.

All in all:
Let's be wise and jump on the bandwagon of common sense and wisdom; let's take care of us and our beloved one's safety and promote good hygiene, keep an adequate social distance to each other for the time being ... and try to find something good even from this ride.
Godspeed to all ūüíõ

- Kai -

Ps. No toilet paper was harmed, misused nor purchased during the typing of this blog-text ūüėČ

#behaviormodifacation #lemmings #coronavirus #herdbehavior #clickertraining #eläinkoulutus #klikkeri #toiletpaper #vessapaperi #laumakäyttäytyminen

sunnuntai 9. helmikuuta 2020

Dr Dolittle !

Last weekend it was finally time for us to see this new release of the movie Dr Dolittle! 

A movie we all with my children had been waiting for a while.

Doctor Dolittle - a person who can talk with animals and has a cure for almost all diseases that can affect them. What a talent !

As being animal lovers, we all were excited in seeing this new adventure of Dr. Dolittle.

A story or actually a character that originally has been created, written and published for the first time already in 1920's. ...and what a surprise - it is 20's again. This means that the story is at least hundred years old. 
So - the lesson number one is that a good story lives for a long time. 
I can't imagine that Hugh John Lofting (1886 – 1947) a British soldier, when he was sending letter of imaginary person capable of talking to animals, wrote stories from the trenches of World War I to his children knew that we - after 100 years - would be spending time with those stories.

The other thing this definitely is telling us is that this type of talent; understanding languages of all creation, is still and has been fascinating us humans throughout our history. It is just the way we are; we have the ultimate, never ending curiosity in us. This is also most likely the reason of how human race has been so successful in surviving in so many circumstances.
Animals have been with us according to modern science and knowledge at least the last 15.000 years. So, the curiosity and the benefit of being with animals does have historical value, not only for us but also for each animal individual that has spend time with us.


After the movie (which we by the way all liked), we got of the theater and I almost knew what my daughter would say to me.
"Dad - I wanno be able to talk with animals !!"
"...and further more, I do want to understand their language !!"

There it was ! 

The fascinating talent human race has been wanting to posses at least that one hundred years, probably a hole lot longer. I was also mesmerized of the movie - and I kind of started to reply to her; "Wouldn't that be something !"
- BUT -

Before giving her the reply that was in the tip of my tongue, I changed my phrase into a mild question.
" Well my sweetheart - don't you think we can?"
She looked at me for a while ...and then  smiled.
"Yes dad - in a way...we have been with many animals"

Being with animals improves our skills to interpret what animals are telling us - not with an understandable spoken language but with other means; like body-language, behavior, postures and facial expressions and of course also with their vocalization. 

Nowadays it is fashionable or hip to talk about whispering; 
I've heard of so many different whisperers; horse, dog, cat, fish even a hippo whisperers just to name a few.
I do understand the reason behind us using this term. Traditionally animal training and work with animals has had more kind of authoritarian approach. We humans have been the leader of the pack in a very traditional way. If we'd think of modern leadership training or it's trends nowadays, I'd say fortunately we are moving in that field also into the direction of enabler instead of authoritarian leadership.

This is it !

We, as trainers or leaders should be enablers for our companions - whether they'd be our employee, colleague mates at work or animal companions. 
Authoritarian way of treating animals has changed into more soft way of studying and understanding what would motivate animals the most.
It has begun to be whispering.
However my opinion is that it is not really whispering but listening and observing what would be the best way to encourage our animal companions for success - in what ever we are working with them. 

A good trainer is a talented enabler 

This way we'd be giving the best guide to the animals under our care. 
Animals are in a way learning machines, they learn to mold their behavior constantly - weather we want it or not. So we need to be ahead of them. We should be capable of anticipating different possibilities they have, different choices which will then eventually direct their behavioral directions or modifications for a successful outcome. 

Knowing your animal...

Learn to understand you animal, as a species, breed and for most as an individual !
This to me is one of the most vital elements in the process of getting your animal well motivated and successful in training. What are the preferences this particular individual is good at and what are the factors that motivate her or him most likely?
We have a marvelous gift when we spend some time in studying our animals and their behavior & character. We can almost speak to them and we certainly learn to understand them.


I have to say that I  did resonated with the new adventures of Dr. Dolittle. 
For a while I let my imagination fly and  - just like my daughter and son - I imagined that I know the languages of different species. Especially I was moved when he spoke to whales; Humpback whale is one of my favorites and of course dolphins. Three decades work and time spend almost every day with dolphins makes them my favorite, it almost makes me feel I do have a common language with them.

I wish you Dolittle-moments with you animal companions.

   -   Kai   -

ps. check the link below of my upcoming clicker training event and come to hear more how to "speak" with animals :-)

lauantai 7. joulukuuta 2019

What has cookie jar to do with animal training??

Well – there is a clear reason and correlation and it has a lot to do with the work and time we spend with our animal friends. Let me enlighten you with my thoughts behind the title.

Quite often when discussion turns into modern animal training principles I do refer and compare those with the ways we are and could use when raising kids.  Some people get offended if we do comparison between children and animals but in principle we all are under the same behavior modification rules as our animal companions, this is not to diminish in any way the value and respect  of children. Of course human mind & emotions etc. are a lot more complex in wholeness in comparison to animal mind. Small kids react differently than a bit more grown up children or adults, our reactions are probably a bit more sophisticated to the ones with animals but still underneath, we  all are governed with same basic principles.  

An example I’ve used several times is frustration - and the very primitive reactions we all do because of it. Many times one of the reasons for frustration is that we don’t get what we want or actually, we don’t get what we are used to getting in a  similar situation, for some reason there is no reinforcement available after the event.

Let’s imagine you’re getting into your room at work and for some reason the door is jammed. The first thing you do to get to the room is – try harder, use your keys or eventually get some help from someone else.
This modification of your behavior is due to frustration – because you cannot get in to your room. So to receive the reinforcement you are usually getting (entering the room) you do something more vigorous. Your behavior has changed and maybe it is even a bit twisted - the environment or the changes in the environment has made you behave on a different way. This process of trying harder to get the reinforcement we are used to getting is called extinction burst. It happens for a while before we give up.

The Cookie jar

A cookie jar; for many it is the embodiment of promise or anticipation of some sweet and delicious delicacy.
This is in a way how we in principle work with animals under our care. Of course all this is due to repetition. Repetition comes into its greatest value through the number one principle in animal training; 
The behavior is determined by its consequences.

Combine this principle with some chocolate brownies – and you can get most of humankind working with you in a very positive and rewarding manner.
Behavior of getting the cookies from the jar is utterly reinforcing, unless you are allergic to chocolate or other ingredients in the cookies.

Photo from Karamel kompagniet cookie jar cover

Scene 1
Let’s consider that these cookies are very pleasing to the person getting them. Imagine that the jar of these cookies is in a certain well known place, like in a higher shelf in your kitchen.
By the way; Weather you know it or not. All, even the most hidden & secret hiding places you can think of for this kind of delicacy is most likely well-known by your kids, if you’ve been blessed with them.
So the occurrence of having your child to go to the cookie jar is relatively high, especially in the case that she or he has been successful in getting into the jar and having one or two cookies from it.
So – if the consequence has been very positive it is reinforcing the behavior to occur more often and the child is reaching for the grand prize more often – even if they don’t have a permission to get one.

…maybe you’re gradually getting the correlation between the cookie jar and animal training?

The previously mentioned chain of behavior and consequence is called positive reinforcement. If something good happens after the behavior the behavior has a tendency to increase. Nowadays the expression is that if something positive is added in the environment the behavior is likely to occur more often.

Scene 2

What happens if you are home and you see the little hand reaching for the grand prize from that jar?

A parent could grab the hand and say no – or just say no. In the ideal world the behavior of reaching to the jar should stop in this kind of situation. Eventually the parent will only have to say no, or just be present in the room / environment - and the child will stop reaching for chocolate brownies from the jar. Through repetition the child will learn that it is not beneficial for her or him to go for the cookies.
At this scenario we are having a negative stimulus, or by behavior modification vocabulary; an aversive stimuli, present in the environment. Something not so pleasant happens if this behavior has the possibility to take place. A negative element has been added in the environment to stop the unwanted behavior – in this case it is the parent who is denying the child to proceed.

So – if we break it into operant conditioning terminology; the following forces effect on behaviors present in the situation.  
The fact that this child in the situation is not even going to reach for the cookies from the jar is positively punished. This means that an incorrect type of behavior (not stealing the cookies) is punished by having or adding in the environment an aversive stimulus – something unpleasant; the denying parent.

Scene 3
But … What happens if this parent goes to another room or out in the garden to do some other responsibilities.. or even further, to a grocery and the child is left alone in the room with the cookie jar.
The child can be obedient and just keep on playing with hers or his toys. In any case what happens is that the negative force, the aversive stimulus, has now been removed from the environment.
With the scheme we are now playing with we would anticipate that the child would go to the jar and reach for her / his grand prize; a tasty chocolate brownie. In this case the behavior of getting the brownie is still very much positively reinforced but planning and going to the cookie jar is actually negatively reinforced; as the negative element (the parent) which previously stopped the behavior to occur has been removed from the environment.
It is important to understand the geometrics of the operant conditioning theory, even though we would only focus our way of managing the behaviors of our animal friend by the emphasis on positive reinforcements and rewards.

Scene 4
There are still two other ways to solve this problem behavior of stealing the brownies without parents’ permission. An easy solution could be that while the parent leaves the room he or she would take the cookie jar with him/her. This leaves an empty space on the place where the jar used to be. So there is no need to go and try to get any of them if they just aren’t there anymore.
Now we are talking about negative punishment. This means that we have taken away the original trigger from the environment (the cookie jar) which caused this stealing behavior in the first place. So we have removed something pleasant from the environment and therefore there is no way for the child to get to the jar anymore for a brownie.
By the way when we are talking about punishment in behavior modification, we should rethink our way of understanding the concept of punishment. In animal behavior management the punishment is always affecting the behavior never the individual animal. This is very important as we don’t want to hurt animals in any way!

Scene 5
One could think that we have already all the possibilities available for making the scheme work on a way we (as parents) would like it to work. However, there is still one more option – only that wouldn’t bring us the solution that fast as the one’s mentioned earlier. This actually has something to do with the topic mentioned at the very beginning of this blog text; frustration.

It is not really frustration that we can use but similar situation which may cause a bit of frustration. What if the parent would exit the house and just leave the cookie jar all by itself in the shelf only this time it would be utterly and completely empty?

The mere existence of the jar in the shelf would most likely agitate children to go to the jar in the hope of some delicacy. Only to find out that there is none left.
What would happen next? - A bit of frustration maybe and sooner or later another try. “What if, despite of finding it already once or twice empty, for some reason the jar would have magically filled with some brownies?” – This is totally irrational thought but something of a kind happens in real life.
Before giving up we or the animals would make a few trials just because in the past it has worked and given a very positive experience and reinforcement for the behavior to increase. This phase will not last long and quite soon it and the whole behavior shall gradually fade out. There is no reason to go back to the empty jar! It is a phenomena that can be seen relatively often in training situations and as we all now know it is called extinction burst. If you are skilled it is also an excellent tool in training you animals.

Eventually the jar is not any more interesting as it has lost its value as a source of brownies. The behavior gradually fade away, in other words the behavior is extinct. The process is called extinction which describes extremely well the whole chain of events in it.

So, cookie jar is THE aid-memoire for me as it has all the elements of reinforcement and punishment in it. 

So, have a cookie and enjoy it...

By the way ... did you know that today, the 8.12, is the national Chocolate Brownie day in USA? In Finland, where I come from, it would be most likely called the mokkapalapäivä.
Happy chocolate brownie day – where ever you are !

..I may also bake some pieces of  mokkapala for me as well J


maanantai 8. heinäkuuta 2019

Tuleeko noutaja vai onko tässä joku koira haudattuna?

Miten maitovalaasta tuli kansainvälinen hyväntahdonlähettiläs?

Viime aikoina olen p√§√§ssyt hieman enemm√§n tekemisiin noutajien kanssa (koirarodun). Varsinaisesti t√§m√§ blogiteksti ei liity noutajiin, joten sen suhteen jokainen tuon rodun omistaja voi olla ihan levossa.

Oma taustani el√§inten koulutuksessa on p√§√§asiassa ihan toisaalla, mik√§ on ehk√§ ihan hyv√§kin, sill√§ en ole niin sidottu koirakoulutuksen mukanaan tuomaan mahdolliseen historialliseen taakkaan. Omat kokemukseni perustuvat tarhattuihin el√§imiin, joskin my√∂s ihan tuikitavallisiin hoidossamme oleviin kotiel√§imiin. 

Minulla on ollut ilo olla tekemisiss√§ vuosikymmenten ajan ihmisen hoidossa olleista el√§imist√§ varmasti yhden kiehtovimman kanssa, nimitt√§in delfiinien Delfiininkoulutus on ja delfiininkouluttajat ovat olleet monesti uusien haasteiden edess√§, kun kyseist√§ el√§int√§ ei olekaan voinut ”vain laittaa hihnaan” ja vied√§ menness√§√§n tai pyyt√§√§ sen avulla luokseen. Tosin, en t√§ll√§ nyt tarkoita, ett√§ asiat n√§in musta-valkoisia olisi mink√§√§n el√§inlajin kanssa ty√∂skennelless√§.


El√§imen kutsuminen ja saaminen palaamaan hoitajansa tai kouluttajansa luo ei aina ole ihan itsest√§√§nselvyys. Kotiel√§imen omistajille se saattaa kuulostaa ehk√§ hiukan oudolta, vaikkakin moni on varmasti jossain vaiheessa ”juossut” el√§imess√§ per√§ss√§ saadakseen sen takaisin hallintaansa, sis√§lle tai palaamaan luokseen. T√§m√§ on asia, mik√§ aika ajoin pompahtaa eteen, kun olen ollut ty√∂skentelem√§ss√§ erilaisissa el√§inhoitotilanteissa; yksityisist√§ omistajista el√§intarhaymp√§rist√∂ihin. Yksi t√§rke√§ osa el√§inten hoitoa ja niiden hyvinvoinnin yll√§pitoa on pysty√§ ohjaamaan el√§in tarvittaessa eri tilasta toiseen; tarha-aitauksesta talliin tai aitauksesta toiseen, pihamaalta sis√§lle kotiin jne. Voin hyvill√§ mielin my√∂nt√§√§, ett√§ ihan yht√§ lailla olen itse aikanaan ”paininut” samaisen problematiikkaa kanssa. Aina ratkaisun l√∂yt√§minen ei ole helppoa tai nopeaa. Useimmiten se nopein ratkaisu ei ole miss√§√§n mieless√§ pitk√§kestoisin tai kaikkein kauimmaksi kantava ja kest√§v√§ ratkaisu. 
Kutsu ei varsinaisesti tarkoita sit√§, ett√§ el√§imet saapuisivat hoitajansa tai kutsun esitt√§neen kouluttajan luo, vaikka niin usein arki el√§m√§ss√§ varmasti tapahtuu. Kutsu on merkki el√§imelle saapua tiettyyn lokaatioon, joka voi toki olla kouluttaja, mutta my√∂s vaikka sis√§talli tai joku muu vastaava tila.  
El√§imen kutsuminen paikalle tai johonkin sovittuun tiettyyn lokaatioon kuulostaa varsin yksinkertaiselta k√§ytt√§miselt√§, jonka pit√§isi olla helppoa ja hallittua. Toisinaan me itse kouluttajina ja omistajina emme vain ole ehk√§ riitt√§v√§n k√§rsiv√§llisi√§ luodaksemme luotettavan ja hyv√§n perustan asian kanssa. 

Niin kuin monen muukin k√§ytt√§ytymisen kouluttaminen t√§m√§kin tulee aloittaa ihan pienist√§ askeleista. Suurin tai ehk√§ paremminkin yleisin ”virhe”, mik√§ tulee helposti tehdyksi, on liian nopea etenemistahti uutta asiaa koulutettaessa. Nopeus voi ilmet√§ monella tapaa; Se voi tarkoittaa, ett√§ emme anna el√§imellemme riitt√§v√§ pitk√§√§ asian omaksumisaikaa tai, ett√§ etenemme asiassa liian suurin harppauksin. Oletamme tuntevamme oman hoidokkimme liian hyvin, jolloin uusien asioiden omaksuminen ja varmuus niiden osaamiseen ns. luotettavaan k√§ytt√§ytymisen muotoon, on liian v√§h√§inen. 
Pit√§√§ siis tehd√§ asiat riitt√§v√§n helpoiksi ja yksinkertaisiksi sek√§ el√§imellemme edulliseksi; aluksi riitt√§v√§n lyhyt matka luoksetuloon. Vahvistetaan alun harjoitteet runsaasti ja kun k√§ytt√§ytyminen on luotettavaa, suosittelen aina siirtym√§√§n vaihtelevan vahvistuksen aikataulutukseen, ennen kuin siirrymme vaativampaa tasoon k√§ytt√§ytymisen muokkaamisessa. Vaihtelevan vahvistamisen aikataulutuksella stabiloidaan viel√§ eri k√§ytt√§ytymisten vaiheet varmemmalle tasolle. 

Ensimm√§isi√§ kertoja kun kiinnitin t√§h√§n erityist√§ huomiota elettiin 2000-luvun taitetta. Vierailin silloin Floridassa Dolphin Reseach Centeriss√§. Key Westin alueella myrskyt ja tulvat ovat tavanomaisia tai ainakin l√§hes vuosittaisia. T√§t√§ ennakoiden kyseisen fasiliteetin henkil√∂kunta oli kouluttanut delfiineilleen kutsumerkin, mik√§ sai delfiinit k√§yt√§nn√∂ss√§ lopettamaan mink√§ tahansa toimintonsa ja kiiruhtamaan kouluttajiensa luo. Oli delfiinit sitten sy√∂m√§ss√§, leikkim√§ss√§, kisailemassa tai mit√§ muuta vain tekem√§ss√§, tuon merkin kuultuaan ne lopettivat kaiken muun tekemisens√§ ja palasivat √§√§nil√§hteen antaneen kouluttajan luo. T√§ll√§ kertaa tuo merkki tarkoitti kouluttajan luo tulemista. Vastaavia esimerkkej√§ l√∂ytyy my√∂s el√§intarhamaailmasta... tai varmasti my√∂s karjatiloilta. 

Kyseess√§ on siis varsin yksinkertainen k√§ytt√§ytymisen muoto ja sen saavuttamiseksi paras keino on ennakointi ja asioiden riitt√§v√§ vahvistaminen kaikilla kouluttamisen eri vaiheilla ja tasoilla. 
..niinp√§ noutajankin saa takaisin luokseen kun alun koulutus on tehty riitt√§v√§n palkitsevasti ja olemme osanneet vahvistaa kaikkia koulutettavan k√§ytt√§ytymisen vaiheita riitt√§v√§n vaihtelevasti. Ainoa “koiruus” mik√§ t√§ss√§ on haudattuna, on se, ett√§ meid√§n tulee olla varsin johdonmukaisia, ennakoivia ja riitt√§v√§n vaihtelevia vahvistuksen muodoissa ja m√§√§riss√§. 

N√§m√§ asiat tulivat mieleen, kun luin t√§m√§n kev√§√§n (huhtikuu 2019) ja nyt alkukes√§n uutisointeja Norjan pohjoisrannikolle ’eksyneest√§’ selv√§stikin koulutetusta maitovalaasta. Toisinaan kaikki ei aina mene, niin kuin on suunniteltu, mutta hyv√§ pohjaty√∂ on erinomaisen t√§rke√§√§ el√§inten koulutuksessakin. 

Maitovalas yll√§tti kalastajat, joiden aluksen l√§heisyyteen se hakeutui. Valaalla oli p√§√§ll√§√§n valjaat, joissa luki ”Equipment of St. Petersburg”, se oli erityisen kesy. Uutisoinnin perusteella el√§imen ep√§iltiin kuuluvan Ven√§j√§n laivastolle. T√§m√§ olisi voinut hyvinkin olla totta, koska niin USA:n kun my√∂s Ven√§j√§n laivastojen tiedet√§√§n k√§ytt√§neen merileijonia, delfiinej√§ sek√§ muita valaita osana meritoimiaan tai sukeltajien apuna. 
Olisiko kutsusignaali voi ollut hieman heikentynyt t√§ss√§ tapauksessa?  ...vai annettiino tai ehditiink√∂ sit√§ antaa ollenkaan? Jotenkin en uskoisi, etteik√∂ kyseiselle valaalle olisi asiaa opetettu, mutta..n√§in k√§vi nyt t√§ll√§ kertaa...

Maitovalasta, ehkä hieman leikkimielisesti, epäiltiin ensin jopa vakoojaksi.
My√∂hemmin valaalle annettiin nimeksi Hvaldimir ja sen oletettiinkin olleen Norjan rajaa l√§hell√§ olevan merikeskuksen Semjon-niminen terapiavalas, mielenterveys ja muistih√§iri√∂ist√§ k√§rsiville lapsille. 
El√§imi√§, kuten my√∂s delfiinej√§ ja valaita, k√§ytet√§√§n my√∂s terapeuttisissa yhteyksiss√§ ilmeisen hyvill√§ tuloksilla.

Nyt Hvaldimir asustelee Hammerfestin satama-alueen lähettyvillä ja sen selviytymisen turvaksi on perustettu säätiö, jotta eläimen hyvinvointi voidaan turvata.
Toivottavasti tämä tarina saa onnellisen lopun ja vakoojasta lähettilääksi muuttunut valkoinen valas, Hvaldimir voi vielä ilostuttaa monia sekä antaa uutta tietoa maitovalaiden fysiologiasta ja käyttäytymisestä.

T√§ss√§ viel√§ muutamia linkkej√§ viel√§ tuohon uutisointiin 

Kai Mattsson 

#hvladimir #stpetersburg #maitovalas #beluga #operantconditioning