Credit: Brenna Hernandez/Shedd Aquarium

If you understand the laws of gravity, you know that if you hold an object in the air and let go of it, it will drop to the ground. That is a law that always works. In the same way, behavior is a science, and it always functions in a specific way. Most people don’t know that, and that’s why we have pets that misbehave, it’s why there are problems in the workplace, it’s why there’s divorce.

Whenever you see a dog doing a cute behavior, people say, “He’s so smart!” Well, he might be, but that’s not what makes an animal trainable. Training happens because of good use of operant conditioning. I can train an earthworm to do behaviors as quickly and easily as I can a Harvard graduate, though I’ll run out of things I can train an earthworm to do pretty quickly.