Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Viva and the behavioral chain - Part 1

Viva and I have been working on a behavioral chain. What is a behavior chain?  A behavior chain is an event in which units of behavior occur in sequences and are linked together by learned cues.  Here's a great link talking about Making the Connection: Behavior Chains
We are going to be using four verbal cues that Viva has mastered.  

Those cues are:
1) wait
2) look
3) ok 
4) mat

Why is Viva learning this behavior chain? The main reason is that I've grown tired of doing the following routine every time Viva and I come into the house.  Viva waits in our foyer (doors closed) while I go upstairs and baby gate off Catty and D'light.  Then I go back down the stairs and let Viva in.  I had to do this because Viva did not do well with getting up the stairs if Catty and D'light were on the stairs or at the top of the stairs.  And truth be told, teaching Viva this behavioral chain needed to wait until now. Viva has been with us for about two months and she and I needed this time build a solid working relationship and she needed time to feel more comfortable with Catty and D'light.

Viva practicing "wait" in the foyer.  

The door to go outside is behind her and the door to come into the house is open.  We've practiced wait a lot and you can see she's good at it.

Here we go with the chain.  This didn't take very long since we constantly practices these 4 independent cues frequently and Viva loves to train with me.

We practice the chain of: wait, ok, look, ok

Remember all that "go to mat" work we've done?  

Viva knows this well and I love this video of her showing of her all her skills in once behavior chain!

Notice the baby gate is up.  We did all of our practice with the gate up.  I wanted Viva to master this behavior chain without dog interruption. 

She's a super star!

Viva says "lets keep practicing!"

Next step is having D'light enter they training picture.  Stay tuned for that post!


  1. How exciting! Viva is making such great progress...she looks like she's having fun, too!

    1. Viva is doing very well and I love training with her. She for sure gives all paws up for positive/force free training!