This paper was written as part of an independent study, during which I participated in research conducted by Dr. Desrochers in the Psychology Department.
As opposition to pesticides increases, the agricultural community has shown interest in using animals to control the spread of invasive species. Operant conditioning is a useful way to teach an animal to perform a desired behavior, including but not limited to consumption of an invasive species. For operant conditioning to be successful, a highly preferred reinforcer must be identified. Identification of a highly preferred reinforcer requires the use of preference assessments, which yield conclusive and long-lasting results. The results of a preference assessment can then be tested with a concurrent operant reinforcer assessment, which assesses the effectiveness of the highly preferred item as a reinforcer. This study used utilized preference, concurrent operant reinforcer and progressive ratio reinforcement assessments to prepare a goat for successful behavioral training in consuming invasive species.