Train that Chain: Behavior Chains

At some point, we realize that one click and one treat per behavior will be cumbersome to keep up forever; it’s simply impossible for certain important behaviors or tasks. At that point, we must develop and maintain chains of behaviors.

Behavior chains can be smooth and efficient packages of pristine behavior if handled well, or they can be frustrating and time-consuming if handled poorly. They can also be our worst behavioral nightmares, reinforcing bad behaviors, if they are not planned carefully!

This Session focuses on:

  • Defining a behavior chain
  • Cues as reinforcers
  • Types of chains
  • Poisoned cues and their impact on chains
  • A closer look at back-chaining
  • Maintaining a chain
  • Finishing a chain
  • Varied uses of chains
  • Duration behaviors as chains
  • Breaking a chain

Laura VanArendonk Baugh

Laura VanArendonk Baugh operates Canines in Action in Indianapolis. As a crossover trainer, Laura is particularly interested in the science of more efficient behavior change. She became a Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Certified Training Partner (CTP) in 2008 and returned to the Academy as an instructor, teaching certification workshops around the country. She is also certified in TAGteach.

Laura blogs on clicker training and behavior frequently, writes articles on various behavior and training topics, and is the author of Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out and Social, Civil, and Savvy.