I is for Incompatible Behavior

IYesterday, 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

Target in stall

Target in stall

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


14 thoughts on “I is for Incompatible Behavior

  1. I love the idea of dog owners training their dogs to sit on a rug when guests arrive. I am SO not a dog person, primarily because they scare me. A 70 pound dog can really hurt someone when they try and tackle you when you come to their house.

    A little dog can ruin panty hose, a nice dress or cause you to drop the hostess gift… I may send this post to a friend or two. I would love to lavish attention on a dog waiting patiently. A jumpy dog makes me want to never come back.

    • The problem with jumping dogs when you enter a home is that the behavior is continually reinforced by the visitors. Most people try to “be nice” and still give the dog attention. Other people love dogs so much that they immediately praise and love on the dog for jumping on them. When I enter someone’s home and they have a dog, I tend not to give the dog any attention till after I’ve properly entered their home. Especially if the dog is hyper. You can’t really stop a dog from jumping on you, but if it happens, I ignore the behavior as much as possible. I don’t touch the dog, I don’t talk or look at the dog, I just turn away from the dog. I wish more people would teach their dog not to jump on people. I understand it can be vey hard to do, especially when new people coming to the house can be so exciting. It takes as much work from the owners of the house, as it is to inform visitors coming in to respect their wishes with their dog and its training.

      • I try not to interact with a jumping dog. Actually, I go out of my way not to go to people’s houses with jumping dogs any more. Too many ruined dresses and stockings. I think if you are going to have a dog, you need to invest time and energy into training it. For those of us already afraid of dogs– it is really uncomfortable.

  2. This is a really interesting post, as I never knew that the behavious I had taught my pony at feed times had an actual name! Thanks for enlightening me and teaching me something I truly didn;t know 🙂

  3. Pingback: J is for Jackpot | Semi-Charmed Life

  4. I am so tempted (with your permission obviously) to share this series on my blog after the A to Z is over. You’re covering so much of the hows and whys of clicker training that I have so much trouble explaining to people sometimes. I’m so loving all of these posts. 😀

    • Thank you! I would be quite flattered if you’d like to share my posts. Having more feedback and questions from other people helps spur on new and informative posts. Feel free to share them if you’d like. I’m always happy to share my knowledge and experience.

  5. Pingback: R is for Redirected Activity | Semi-Charmed Life

  6. Pingback: T is for Target | Semi-Charmed Life

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