A good trainer sees possibilities. They know what the final outcome looks like, sounds like, feels like. Good trainers recognize that choice is often a product of deprivation. The deprivation that increases motivation and the deprivation that excludes certain options as choices.
We recognize that an animal cooped up all day either in a barn or on the couch is likely to be motivated by opportunities to move, run or explore. The deprivation of the reinforcement of activity raises the value of action. It is no surprise that an animal deprived of learning the joy of being outside, chooses not to walk out the door. It is possible to make the argument that individuals should be able to choose whatever it is they want to do. If someone wants to eat donuts and watch 20 seconds of Thomas the Train on an endless loop, they should be able to. It’s a right. It would be unethical to try to change that. That argument is made. But what if they learned they could make music, ride a bike, paint, swim? What if you knew how to teach them?
Teachers, trainers, parents, and owners often have big dreams for the individuals they care for and about. They dream about more. They see that a lack of skills limits choices. Teachers and trainers are visionaries of possibility. Behavior analysis gives us tools and road maps to make what might be possible, real.