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Operant Conditioning Behaviour Analysis

Next Offering- TBA

Do you dream of working with animals? Maybe you have to intereact with animals for your current work or volunteer position and are looking for ways to create a more positive experience for the animal and you?

Operant Conditioning Behaviour Analysis (OCBA): Level I, has been developed for the student with the desire to understand animal behaviour and use that knowledge while training. This course provides a one-on-one approach to help each student develop the necessary skills to train animals using positive reinforcement. Possessing these training skills is invaluable to the successful laboratory or research technician, veterinary assistant, pre-vet student, farm worker, boarding facility owner and many other professions or hobbies which require the ability to influence an animal's behaviour.

This course offers a collaborative learning approach with students working through, lesson by lesson, at the same pace. As a student, you will be expected to apply what you are learning and document your weekly progress through the use of video, training records, and group discussion. OCBA Level I will help you become skilled at identifying wanted behaviours, goal setting, planning, training and understanding your animal.

For updates and sharing from friends and previous students, check us out on Facebook!!

Photo courtesy of Robert MacLellan (http://robertmaclellan.viewbook.com)

What you will learn:

  • A thorough understanding and working knowledge of OCBA
  • Master the mechanical skills necessary to use the four techniques of OCBA effectively
  • Keep and utilize training records
  • Write and evaluate shaping plans
  • Recognize and solve training problems
  • Set up the training environment for success
  • Recognize when to add a cue and when to raise the training criteria
  • Practice basic care behaviours
  • Practice variable schedules of reinforcement
  • Understand and apply how to solidify behaviours
  • Practice critique of others’ training techniques
  • Create a shaping plan and train a chain behaviour

"The course was a great motivation and I intend to continue working with Isabelle and other animals in our care. This was an important first step for us learning about OCBA and integrating it into the wildlife care program here at the park".

Ralph Jarvis, Park Manager & Isabelle the Moose
Newfoundland, Canada

About the Instructors

Heather A. Logan, co-instructor, is a renowned expert in OCBA who has achieved Level Three certification through Bob and Marian Bailey in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She has run a successful breeding and training facility (Cloverfield Animal Behaviour Services) since 1972 and is a sessional lecturer for the Dalhousie Faculty of Agriculture.

Melissa L. Cox Ph.D
., co-instructor and Heather's daughter, has worked with animals from an early age and specializes in using OCBA to handle research animals. She earned her Doctorate in Genetics from Texas A&M University (TAMU) and has completed post-doctoral fellowships at Pfizer Global R&D and The Jackson Laboratory. She currently lives in Southern Germany and works as a geneticist.

Course Requirements:

Participants are required to have access to (not necessarily own) an animal they can work with. Any species that will offer a variety of behaviours is acceptable. Students will also be required to video their at-home training sessions with their animals and to submit these videos for critique by the course instructor.



Dates and Times:

This course is currently on hold.

Class Limit:

Maximum class size of 20 participants

*** We are currently investigating CEU credits with a number of relevant organizations. Please check in with us if this is a deciding factor for you!

Online Learning Platform

This course is delivered completely online through a learning platform called Moodle. Students are expected to work independantly, but have to follow strict timelines for the submission of assignments and quizzes. Networking and classroom discussion is faciliated through asynchronous forums that the instructors respond to on a daily basis.

For more information on Moodle, please visit our Student Blackboard Resources website, or our Technical Requirements page.