Thursday, 19 January 2012

Video 4 - Blondie gets fast

Blondie has learned to eat from the cup and anticipates getting the chance to eat. Both she and Brita have their food witheld about 8 hours overnight and 10 hours during the day. In the morning after each training session they get to eat until they are full and resting, and after each session at night they get a full dish of food for about four hours. In the paper by Ellen and T.W. Reese, "The Quail, Coturnix coturnix, as a Laboratory Animal" the authors found that the optimal time to fast the quail before conditioning a new behaviour was 17 hours. Once the behaviour was conditioned, however, the birds would perform them without any fasting at all. Brita and Blondie are on a similar feeding schedule to most pet dogs, which I think is fair.

I try a couple different things in this video. The first is to try to get Blondie working faster and longer by only giving her one peck at the dish. After a while she learns to make that first peck count. She is still wondering where Brita is when I have her on the table by herself. When Blondie loses focus I trade spots with Brita, but Brita doesn't even know how to get food from the cup and since she has been listening to the clicker for days and not getting anything out of it, the sound means nothing to her. Once I bring Blondie back, however, she starts mimicking Blondie and going for the food. Blondie is once again eager for the food and no longer distressed now that Brita is back. I watched this session several times and did some brainstorming about how to fix these little setbacks. Blondie has to be able to work on her own and must get used to not having Brita beside her all the time. Brita has to be be able to work uninterrupted if she is to learn anything at all.

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