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Session Rating & Type Guide

Session rating is a subjective measure of an animal's disposition during focused interactions.

1 - No response to Sd. Did not participate in session.

2 - Less than 60% of behaviors correct. Voluntarily terminated session.

3 - Average in all categories.

4 - Above average; responsive to Sd; meeting criteria of known behaviors.

5 - Flawless in all categories; energy, response to stimuli and exceeds criteria of known behaviors.


The primary focus of the session is on the conditioning of new behavior.


Typically involves the practice of repeating learned or known behavior for the purpose of maintaining that behavior at a certain criteria or frequency.


Exercise sessions are highly active and are intended to increase respiration and heart rates (within safe limits).


Relate type sessions often consist of a lower ratio reinforcement schedule and are designed to improve reinforcement history and relationship with the caregiver. These sessions frequently involve tactile and low energy interactions.

Gating/ Separation

Gating sessions predominantly focus on learning or maintenance specific to social and/or physical separation and movement in/out or around a habitat.


Husbandry sessions central focus is on the conditioning or maintenance of behaviors used in support of voluntary health management programs.


Describe sessions whereby the central intent is to monitor appropriate behavior of animals while divers are in or near the animal’s immediate habitat.


Play sessions involve interactive “games” between animal and caregiver.  These interactions can include toys, visual/audio stimulation and other activities intended to promote a positive reinforcement history.


Enrichment sessions intend to stimulate interaction with the environment, social group or objects. They may or may not involve caregiver participation. Although Enrichment is frequently associated with enrichment devices, the presence of physical stimuli is not a mandatory characteristic of enrichment. Enriching stimuli can be visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile and may or may not be interactive. A wide range of novel and conditioned stimuli can contribute to enrichment.

Medical Procedure

Primary focus of the session is involving the rehearsal of or application of a medical or surgical procedure.


Usually used to describe a feeding of one or more animals where eating properly and social harmony is the only requisite criteria.


Describes a reduction technique called Differential Reinforcement of Alternative behavior. DRA has several sub-type forms. Its central focus is to reduce or eliminate unwanted behavior by reinforcing behavior that is incompatible with, other than or less frequent than the undesired target behavior.


Sessions that are predominantly staged for public or private presentation and typically consist of a structured sequence or plan.


Social session types can be used to describe the advancement of pro-social behavior among a group of animals through direct or indirect conditioning methods.

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