Yesterday, I wrote about husbandry behaviors and I actually touched briefly on incompatible behaviors. Sometimes the solution to getting rid of an undesired behavior is by training an incompatible behavior.
Let’s take yesterday’s example once more. When Lucas was little and I would open the stall door to feed him, he would rush out my right side, circle behind me, and rush back in my left side, just as I was placing his food dish down. As a baby, this was fine, but I recognized that as he got bigger… and he would get BIGGER, this behavior would not be safe. Who knows if it would actually escalate and Lucas would start charging me for the food? So, I trained an incompatible behavior. I trained Lucas to place his nose on a target on the wall and hold it there till released. What makes this an incompatible behavior? Well holding his nose to a target is incompatible with running out of the stall.
Incompatible behaviors show up every where in the training world. Have a dog that jumps
on your guests the second they come into the home? Train your dog to sit on a particular rug/mat in order to receive guests and attention from them. Sitting on a rug is incompatible with jumping on guests.
Have a group of animals in one area that you have to move to a separate area daily and you are tired of the mad rush to the door/gate? Train them all to touch a target, or stand in a particular area, or teach them what your personal space is. Staying away from the door is incompatible with rushing the door.
Hopefully this explains the training of incompatible behaviors. They are often the key to getting rid of unwanted behaviors whether with your dog at home, or with a group of sea lions at an aquarium.
© Semi Charmed Life
This post is part of the A to Z Challenge