Lesson 9.1 – Behavior Management. (Molly the Morepork, Part 2)


This is lesson 2 with Molly the Morepork. Like the last lesson, this lesson talks about certain aspects of the RECIPE for successful behavior management of animals in your care. The RECIPE is an acronym standing for the following.

  • R – Reinforcement.
  • E – Environment.
  • C – Communication.
  • I – Information.
  • P – Partnerships
  • E – Empowerment.

This behavior management video series with Molly the Morepork is the first video series ever produced for Animal Training Academy. It is being digitally remastered for the Academy’s first year anniversary. Read on to learn a little bit more about the content for this lesson.

Behavior Management – Choosing with her feet

When training, it’s important to let your animal choose whether or not to participate. We can allow them to make this decision with their feet. I.e. if they don’t want to participate they can choose to move away. If they do want to participate (and be presented with opportunities to earn reinforcement) they can move towards you (or stay stationary, with you moving towards them). In this lessons video you will learn how Molly did just that. She communicated to me when I got too close by choosing to move away. However if Molly stayed stationary I reinforced her with food.

Three things to identify in the early stages of training/behavior management.

  1. You have correctly identified what’s reinforcing for your animal.
  2. You have your reinforcers ready to offer in your training sessions.
  3. You listen to your animals body language and take things at their pace.

If you have achieved the above three things, this will assist with the following areas of your behavior management. Firstly it will help develop your relationships. Your animals will learn that they can control the environment via their behavior. For example your animal can communicate it’s uncomfortable with your proximity, by moving away. Also, if it does the behaviors you want, it will learn that good things happen (i.e. reinforcers get delivered). This practice helps empower your animal, promote high welfare and foster trust.