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Demonstrating

 

Techniques Conditioning > Demonstrating

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

One way to teach a subject how to complete an action is to do it yourself.

Demonstrating can be done almost as a game, making it fun all round. With dogs, for example, you can get down on all-fours with them.

With humans, demonstration is a very useful way of teaching, perhaps first doing it yourself, then doing it in parallel, and finally letting them do it by themselves (with positive coaching on the finer details as needed).

Be careful to demonstrate in 'bite-sized' chunks that your subject can understand and learn. To condition them, remember to give a reward when they get it right, even getting part-way in the right direction. The reward helps to make it a pleasurable activity. As far as possible, keep the reward as small as possible, encouraging them to enjoy the activity for its own sake.

Example

A dog owner holds up their palm and says 'high five!'. The dog learns to do the same so they can touch 'hands'.

A mother shows her child how to cook simple things by doing the same thing side-by-side. She expresses great delight and encouragement as each small step is completed.

Discussion

Many animals, as well as humans, are surprisingly good mimics. Dogs, for example, will copy their owners' smiles. Parrots and other birds are also known to copy.

The ability and motivation to copy will vary greatly between species and individuals. If your subject is not interested or able to copy you, then this method will not be practically available to use.

See also

Action

 

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