Subject: Re: TRAINING ORCAS

Dr. Cathy Schaeff (schaeff@american.edu)
Mon, 13 Jan 1997 12:08:54 +0000

Judy,

Training whales takes a fairly long time (depending on what you are
trying to get them to do) and a lot of patience.  Most trainers use
positive reinforcement -- they reward the desired behavior whenever it
occurs.  Depending on what the desired end product is -- i.e., is it
something that the whale already does and you just want it to do the
behavior when you say to (fairly quick to train) OR is it a new behavior
like jumping up and touching a ball (requries lots of small steps to
achieve the end goal).  For example, first the ball is on the surface of
the water -- animal is rewarded whenever they touch it, then the ball is
slightly above the water, raised a little more, more, etc.

There are probably some books on the subject.  As well, keep your eye
out for something on discovery or National Geographic!

Hope this helps.
-- 
Dr. Cathy Schaeff
Biology Department 
American University
4400 Mass. Ave. N.W. 
Washington D.C. 20016-8007
(202) 885-2175