NOTE: This blog is not scientific at all – just some of my thoughts, observations and gathered knowledge:
Why food works so well in the long run when it is used in training and for rewarding desired behaviors?
Because its consequence is feeling of pleasure in animal’s body. Body says yummy, that feels soooo gooood!!
Or to go beyond that, it is also information to the body that it WILL survive. What is more satisfactory than that?
Other animals and us, we want/need to feel safe and content with least amount of trouble and fuss to achieve that. Why? Because that way we will preserve energy. Living in such way will not put much strain on the body and it will give us restful mind. All of which assists in providing better life quality and prolonging ones life span.
Ok, if we live in perfect state where everything is great we will most probably live longer but we will not develop, evolve much. So some amounts of stress and changes in environment are welcome. To keep the juices going. To help us grow, to help us learn.
But larger amounts of stress will put strain on the body, with consequence of overusing some parts and finally damaging it. That includes inside and outside of the body; example would be hormonal imbalances that put strain to organs, while physical strain damages bones, tendons etc..
So idea is to do as many as possible things that gives body and soul pleasure. Consequently, we want more of it, we want to strive and survive.
Pleasure = happiness = spark of life is on
Does it HAS to be food? No.
It can be anything that gives that individual animal feeling of pleasure, something that animal wants more of. And is willing to repeat behaviors that led him/her to that feeling of pleasure.
So in the long run if it is repeated a number of times and if pleasure is a consequence – it will all blend. That behavior itself will become a source of pleasure. Than desirable behaviors that we want to see more of will prevail naturally.
Another reason why sense of pleasure is important is that it improves learning.
Why is play so important for young beings for example. Because it is pleasurable and than body wants more of it. We will WANT to learn how to do behaviors that provide pleasure. We will WANT to participate.
So through play body repeats behaviours that are important for future survival. If what we were doing was not pleasurable we would want to avoid it. Why? As I said at the beginning – it is not in body’s interest to do things that make our life shorter and of less quality.
We learn best if subject and environment are pleasurable for us. That way subjects will stick. Our body and soul knows that it is good for us. For our overall wellbeing.
Otherwise we will not be happy to retrieve learned information gladly.
If learning occurred via force or pressure, we will want to avoid it even though we did possibly learn it (example would be math for many people).
Than such learned knowledge is not of use for us really, our brain might even try to find ways to block it. We might starts feeling sick when we have to do math for example.
Same goes for our pets. So try to discover what puts your pet (or animal you work with) sparks in his/hers eyes. What is it that drives them to willingly participate and to want more of it. Find out what is pleasurable for them, and know that it changes. So let them tell you over and over again what it is.
I hope this Blog provided some pleasure for you while you were reading it 🙂
Jelena Kallay – Vagabond Positive Animal Communication
Dip. Animal Behavior Technology, Dip. ABT – CASI
Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Professional Program, KPA – CTP