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How to Tame Animals

While watching circuses, people all gasp in admiration when they see dogs count, black bears play basketball, monkeys ride bicycles, horses dance, goats tight-wire walk, camels draw circles, lions and tigers walk on stakes and so on. In addition, the audiences wonder how wild animals can be tamed to follow instructions.

Any animal has several instincts -- timid and afraid, self-protection or trying to escape; looking for food while hungry; mating and seeking a spouse. Tamers utilize the first two instincts and adopt proper methods to tame circus animals. People often say that animal taming cannot be done without food in pockets and whips at the hand. Whips are employed during taming due to animals' instinct of timidity, while food can satisfy their hunger. Only with whips and food can circus performers make animals listen to their instructions and teach the animals how to master the abilities step by step.

The purpose of using whips is just to make them obedient or not hurt human beings. In order to make animals obey performers, the most important thing is to get close to them so as to increase affection between animals and human beings, free them from wariness vigilance and gain trust from them.

Establishing affectionate relation with animals requires a long process. Generally speaking, young animals are relatively easy to be tamed because they have better receptivity and are quicker learners. At the beginning, taming performers often feed them food and water so as to free them from vigilance. Gradually, the animals apt to get close to people and then the performers can touch heads of these animals in cages from outside, swab down their bodies with warm towels and comb their hair. All these make them feel comfortable and cordial. As the tamers feel that these animals don't have intension to hurt people, they can enter the cages to feed them food, do some cleaning and play with them.

Animals don't have thinking ability and even the cleverest animals cannot understand human languages. Taming mainly adopts the conditioned reflex principle of Pavlov. Taming performers use fixed postures, tones, music and movements to guide animals to make different movements. If the animals do it in the right way, give them some food. Repeated practices in this way can make them produce conditioned reflex. Whenever they see the performers give out a certain signal, they begin to perform regular movements. If they do a good job, they can get certain awards.

Taming performers requires courage, caution and patience as well. Animals are all simple-minded so an action must be repeated several several times before it is remembered. Therefore, the performers should not be hasty and must let the animals gradually get used to these movements.

Animal taming is a very tough task. While highly praising the splendid circuses, we should not forget the hard work of animal tamers.

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