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Telecourses: Using Behavior Chains to Reach Your Training Goals


Instructor: Ms. Kathy Sdao, M.A., ACAAB
Facilitated by Drs. Suzanne Hetts and Dan Estep, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists

Did you know that chains are good for dogs? Behavior chains, that is. (Not choke chains!)

Behavior chains are sequences of movements that follow, one after the other, without a time gap. They are governed by cues from the trainer or from the rest of the animal’s environment. The primary reinforcer occurs after completion of the entire chain.

Understanding how to create, maintain and repair behavior chains are essential skills for any advanced trainer. Virtually everything we want dogs to perform in competition or working venues (e.g., service-dog tasks, search & rescue, freestyle, agility, etc) are behavior chains, rather than single discrete behaviors (e.g., sit). And behavior problems can stem from behavior chains. Just a single weak link in a behavior chain will cause it to break, even if the rest of the links are strong. The confusion and possible punishment that the animal experiences during "weak link" failures can contaminate the entire chain and erode the dog's ability to perform the activity at all.

In this course, Kathy will:

  • review various types of behavior chains commonly found in dog-training
  • list several examples of problem behaviors that are actually well-maintained behavior chains, and give suggestions for ways to break these unwanted chains
  • compare back-chaining to forward-chaining
  • describe how to break down behavior chains into their component “links”
  • provide a general framework for creating resilient “welds” between adjacent links
  • discuss reliability as a natural by-product of carefully constructed behavior chains
  • examine the effect of weak or poisoned cues on the fluency of behavior chains
  • look at the occurrence of “ringwise” dogs as an example of broken chains 

Here’s what participants have said about Kathy’s courses:

"Once again I love how Kathy explains behavior of both man and beast. I picked up so many tips as well as some techniques I need to tweak."

"Kathy presented material in such a friendly way and it was easy to stay completely engaged in the lesson."            Pam J-Bennett

This course has been approved for 2.5 CEU hours from CCPDT. The LIVE class isn't on our current schedule. Please sign up for our ezine "Pet Behavior One Piece at a Time" to be notified about when it will be offered next.

Take this class ON DEMAND now! The ON DEMAND class is a recorded tele-webcast with the full content of the live class including class discussion and class notes. You have one month's online access to all class sessions and an opportunity to ask questions of the instructors via email. Their answers to your questions will be recorded and emailed to you within a week.

You can earn CEUs by submitting emailed answers to questions asked by the instructors during the recorded class. We'll provide the details once you register.

Still have questions about the course? Email for more details info@animalbehaviorassociates.com

Your Registration Fee $79 If you were a BEN Pro Member you'd pay only $64 (a 20% discount)

Click Here to learn more about our Behavior Education Network

Fee: $79
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As soon as you register for any of our courses please put info@AnimalBehaviorAssociates.com in your email address book or safe list to increase the chance our emails won’t be blocked. Once we receive notice of your payment, we’ll send you a Class Welcome and Information email. If you haven't heard from us within 48 hours (weekdays) of your payment, please email us at info@AnimalBehaviorAssociates.com. Also, check your spam box.


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