Positive reinforcement target training and foot care program back in action!
After a long hiatus waiting for the completion of a new and improved training wall, Elephant Nature Park is happy to announce that positive reinforcement based target training and foot care is once again part of our daily routine.
Foot care is one of the most important aspects of elephant health and management. Our goal is to be able to treat our elephants with the least amount of stress possible. Because of abusive treatment in the past, most of our elephants are not comfortable with having their feet, ears or rear ends touched. They become very agitated and defensive when they are put in a situation when this is a necessary. Positive reinforcement based target training helps to de-sensitize the elephant from being touched in the areas needed and helps them to see the interaction as non-threatening.
Patience and kindness as well as the ability to read the elephant’s eyes and body language are essential for the trainers to be successful. Also, a full understanding of the exactness of the training method is an absolute must.
At the moment Chang Yim, Faa Mai, Faa Sai, Dani, Mae Jan Peng, Mae Keow, Mae Jampaa, Mae Bua Loy and Mae Boon Ma are participating in daily training sessions at the training wall. Some of our elephants who are not yet comfortable with coming to the training wall are having de-sensitization sessions for foot care at the riverside. Those currently receiving foot care and participating willingly are Mae Lanna, Mae Jan Peng and Dani. Medo, Sao Yai and Mae Bua Kham are moving forward with the de-sensitization process.
It is so rewarding to see what a difference it makes when dominance and intimidation are removed from a situation and how calm and cooperative an elephant can be when they are ASKED to participate and not FORCED to participate.