Repetitive Behavior – Stop the Madness!

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Episode - 07 December 2019

Host: Barbara Heidenreich

​Not all repetitive behavior is stereotypic. Many times it is the result of reinforcement. Determining why an animal is presenting repetitive behavior requires asking our selves a series of questions that can reveal triggers and consequences that maintain the undesired behavior. This can then help us develop a strategy to address the problem. In this podcast Barbara goes over these questions as well as defines stereotypic behavior and some practices to avoid when dealing with a true stereotypy that can make the problem worse! Scroll down for a video example and a download discussed in the podcast.


Here is a video example ​relevant to this episode:

​Many people think repetitive behavior is stereotypic, but in this example, we see it can be learned. This Sumatran elephant bobs her head in hopes it might earn her food or other desired consequences. To address this, I have the team practice looking for moments when she is not bobbing, and then give her food. She quickly learns this is the new behavior that works. As the trainers reinforce her for standing with her head still more frequently, and add an intermittent schedule of reinforcement, she learns to stand longer and longer with the correct head position


​Download the PDF Addressing Undesired Repetitive Behavior


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