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Approved for CEUs
Internationaler Berufsverband der Hundetrainer (IBH)
Tellington TTouch® Verein Deutschland

Behavior Chains - Chains are Good for Dogs

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  • Duration:  2 hours 03 minutes
  • Audio:  English
  • Expires:  Thursday, February 26, 2026
  • Certificate of Attendance Extended
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Approved for CEUs
Internationaler Berufsverband der Hundetrainer (IBH)
Tellington TTouch® Verein Deutschland
Behavior chains, that is. (Not choke chains!)

Behavior chains are sequences of movements that must be performed in a particular order, one after the other, without a time gap. They are governed by cues from the trainer or from the rest of the animal’s environment. The primary reinforcer occurs after completion of the entire chain.

Creating, maintaining, and repairing behavior chains are essential skills for any advanced trainer. Virtually everything we want dogs to perform in competition or working venues (e.g., service-dog tasks, search & rescue, freestyle, agility, etc.) consists of behavior chains, rather than single discrete behaviors (e.g., sit). Just a single weak link in an otherwise fluent behavior chain will cause it to break. The confusion and possible punishment the animal experiences during “weak link” failures can contaminate the entire chain and erode the dog’s ability to perform the activity at all.

In this course, Kathy will:
• Review types of behavior chains commonly found in dog-training
• Compare back-chaining to forward-chaining
• Describe how to break down behavior chains into their component “links”
• Provide a general framework for creating resilient “welds” between adjacent links
• Discuss reliability as a natural by-product of carefully constructed behavior-chains
• Examine the effect of weak or poisoned cues on the fluency of behavior-chains
• Give examples of problem behaviors that are actually well-maintained behavior-chains and suggest ways to weaken these unwanted chains"
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  • Behavior Chains Presentation.pdf
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  • Certificate of Attendance
The following organizations acknowledge this webinar for CEUs:
Karen Pryor Academy (KPA)
Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Internationaler Berufsverband der Hundetrainer (IBH)
Tierschutzqualifizierte/r HundetrainerIn Österreichs
Schulungszentrum für Tierverhaltenstherapie und Erziehungsberatung TVT e.U. (SzTVT)
Tellington TTouch® Verein Deutschland
Kathy Sdao

Kathy Sdao View all Speaker Products

Kathy Sdao is an applied animal behaviorist. She’s spent 30 years as a full-time animal trainer, first with marine mammals and now with dogs and their people. As a graduate student at the University of Hawaii in the 1980s, she was part of a research team that trained dolphins to solve complex cognitive puzzles. She received a master’s degree in experimental psychology and was then hired by the United States Navy to train dolphins for applied open-ocean tasks. After that, Kathy spent five years as a marine-mammal trainer at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma Washington. There she expanded her training skills by working with beluga whales, walruses, porpoises, sea lions, seals, otters and polar bears. After leaving the zoo world, Kathy and a colleague created Tacoma’s first dog-daycare facility, Puget Hound Daycare, where Kathy first began teaching clicker-training classes for pet owners.

Since selling Puget Hound in 1998, Kathy has owned and managed Bright Spot Dog Training. Services include consulting with families about their challenging dogs, teaching one-on-one training lessons, and coaching novices and professionals to cross over to positive-reinforcement training. In addition, she has trained animal actors, written for The Clicker Journal and the Seattle Times, consulted with Guide Dogs for the Blind and Susquehanna Service Dogs, served as a subject-matter expert for the Delta Society’s “Service Dog Education System” and taught at the Instructor Training Courses hosted by Dogs of Course. And, in a sillier moment, Kathy appeared as the “Way Cool Scientist” on an episode of the television show Bill Nye the Science Guy. Kathy is proud to be one of the original faculty members for Karen Pryor’s long-running ClickerExpos and has taught at 32 of these popular conferences since 2003.

Kathy has traveled extensively across the United States, Canada and Europe, and to Australia, Israel, Japan and Mexico, educating students about the science of animal training. She’s taught nearly 250 seminars, workshops, conference presentations & webinars, enjoying these opportunities to share her passion for the incredible power of positive-reinforcement training, confirmed over decades of working with dozens of species.

Kathy’s first book, Plenty in Life Is Free: Reflections on Dogs, Training and Finding Grace, was published in 2012 and is available from Dogwise; please see for details.

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