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Success!

September 10, 2009

After implementing a few of the suggestions I received in class Lucy now appears to be successfully clicker trained, in only one additional session of approximately 45 minutes. I carved out a hole in the box near the corner that I usually deliver food from so as not to interrupt her actions with my arm reaching into the environment. I also started clicked well before she received food rather than immediately. I believe that due to her already well established association between the clicker and food, it was fairly easy for her to develope a new understanding of the clicker as a signal of food becoming available. She caught on very quickly although I will have to conduct a more lengthy session to confirm reliability tomorrow before she and I can begin the shaping process.

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Clicker Training

September 8, 2009

My goal has been to classically condition an association between the sound of the clicker with the presence of food.

It doesn’t seem to be going well. I have proceeded to place a small peice of food in the corner of her box and pressed the clicker when she was just about to place the food into her mouth. This seems to have worked in that she [my rat] now understands that the clicker means food. However, if she is on the other side of the box and I press on the clicker, while she doesn’t have food, she just appears to look around as if wondering why she does not have food. Eventually she will go back to the corner that food is always presented to her; in fact, she usually does check there first. However, this action pattern does not appear to be the result of the sound of the clicker, but rather just a result of her learning where the food is placed. The only solution that I can come up with is the double click training method, unfortunately I didn’t start that from beginning so now it just seems like it will be difficult to start over in the middle all of a sudden with a different technique. Any suggestions?

At the start of the training Lucy, my rat, weighed in at approximately 166 grams, since the training began she has dropped down to about 162 grams. I obviously feed her during the training sessions, which last until she is no longer motivated by the food (usually about an hour) and is presumably full. I then leave her with another single pellet of food, so she will be sufficiently motivated the next day when I come back to attempt more conditioning.