Have you ever wondered why your dog, your child, your spouse or even you do certain things? And what about why you don’t do certain things?
Behaviours happen (or don’t) based on an antecedent. An antecedent is what happens right before the behavior. They keep happening (or don’t) based on what occurs after the behaviour. That is the consequence. We refer to this as the ABCs of behaviour.
Here is an example to help illustrate what I mean. If I put a colouring book and crayons out for my child and teach him to colour and he enjoys it, then the next time I put those items out again he will colour in his book.
A: The antecedent is the book and crayons.
B: The behaviour is colouring.
C: The consequence is pleasure, engagement, and contentment.
The reason my child returns to colouring when I put out the book and crayons is due to the pleasure that the activity of colouring provides. If my child really did not enjoy colouring then my putting the book and crayons out would not prompt colouring.
Starting to make sense?
Let’s look at another example. I have a 9 week old puppy who is chewing everything in sight. He keeps chewing because the behaviour of chewing provides some pleasure for him and possibly the release of discomfort from sore gums if he is teething. He chews a particular object because it is available to chew.
A: The antecedent is the available object.
B: The behaviour is chewing.
C: The consequence is pleasure or the relief of the discomfort of teething.
So why would the puppy not chew every time the item is available? Well therein lies the mystery but. . . maybe not so mysterious. Perhaps the pup is engaged elsewhere, watching you in the kitchen, playing with the children or playing with another toy. Perhaps he does not need to chew, therefore the act of chewing would not provide pleasure.
The point is that for a behaviour to occur there must be
A: Antecedent: the opportunity to perform a behaviour; and
C: Consequence: a consequence that is favourable to the learner.
So ABC really explains why Kindred works. You will need to observe and learn what motivates your learner. We’ll help you to identify what makes them feel good, happy, and content. Then we will show you how to work towards providing those consequences for behaviours that you want to see more.
In the first example above, I can start to create a favourable environment and consequence if I provide the tools (Antecedent) which are the books and crayons and spend some time with my child teaching him to colour. The next time I put out the book and crayons, perhaps he will start on his own and then I will have the opportunity to encourage and reinforce the efforts. As time goes on, colouring will become a pleasurable experience. And now, I can do a few other activities close by that I need to get done while my child is colouring. This has happened only because I took the time to teach and reinforce the behaviour.
How about that puppy I mentioned? If I place my pup in a contained area so that mistakes can’t be made and I provide a few really enticing chew toys that may even have a food source (like a frozen Kong) then I am creating a comfortable environment with a great consequences for my puppy (chewing and accessing food). Over time, the presentation of a frozen Kong (Antecedent) in a contained space where puppy can be safe, prompts the chewing (Behaviour), and the puppy is busy and content (Consequence). This gives me a chance to engage in other activities while my puppy is busy with an appropriate and reinforcing behaviour.
Ever broken down your dog’s recall into ABC? The Antecedent is you calling the dog. The Behaviour is running towards you. But what is the Consequence?
That’s where Kindred really shines! Join us and we will show you how to choose consequences for your dog that truly reinforce the behaviour of running towards you and so much more! We’ll show you how you can have a wonderful life with your dog.